Apprentice and trainee rights
If you’re an apprentice or trainee you have the same rights as any other worker, for example:
- The right to a safe and healthy work environment
- Access to amenities (like toilets or a lunch room)
- The right to annual leave, sick leave and holiday pay
- The right to public holidays
- The right to join a union
For more about general employee rights, check out our Employment rights pages.
In addition to the above rights there are some specific rights and entitlements for apprentices and trainees:
- You should receive proper training
- You shouldn't be treated differently because you’re an apprentice or trainee
- You should get paid for time you spend at training
As well as these rights, all apprentices are entitled to (note that these entitlements don't apply to trainees):
- Having your training costs (including the cost of travel to training) paid for or reimbursed
- Being provided with any equipment or clothing you need for work
- Not being expected to work overtime if it stops you going to training
- Receiving time-based wage increases (i.e., if you're a second-year apprentice you should get paid more than a first-year apprentice, and so on)
To find out more about wages and conditions for apprentices and trainees, contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 or visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website (new window).
Apprentice and trainee obligations
As well as having rights, when you sign up for an apprenticeship or traineeship, you have certain obligations. You are expected to:
- Sign a training contract (see below)
- Understand your work responsibilities and commit to fulfilling them
- Understand your training obligations and commit to fulfilling them
For more about rights and obligations for apprentices and trainees and their employers, check out the National Code of Good Practice on the Australian Apprenticeships (new window).
You have to sign a training contract before you start your apprenticeship or traineeship. It's a legal agreement that needs to be signed by:
- Your employer
- Your parent or guardian (if you're under 18)
The contract specifies things like:
- The hours you’ll be working
- How long you'll be employed
- The type of apprenticeship or traineeship you'll do
- The kind of training you'll do (on the job AND off the job)
- When the training starts and how long it goes for
- Where you'll do your on-the-job training
- Which Registered Training Organisation (RTO) you'll do your off-the-job training with
Your training contract is a very important document, so make sure you keep it somewhere safe in case you need to refer to it for any reason.
Cancelling a training contract
During the first three months of your apprenticeship/traineeship, either you or your employer can cancel your training contract. This three-month period is called your "probationary period".
After the probationary period is over:
- An apprenticeship training contract can only be cancelled/suspended if you both agree to cancel it
- A traineeship training contract can be cancelled/suspended by either the employer or the trainee without agreement from the other person
Where to go for help
If you think you're not being treated fairly, or you're having problems with your employer or training provider, there are things that you can do. Check out our Solving a dispute page for more information.
Australian Apprenticeships - My Gain
Watch video interviews with apprentices, trainees and employers to find out about the range of options out there for apprentices and trainees.
Australian Apprenticeships Pathways
Comprehensive resource for apprentices and trainees that lets you search for jobs and training and get advice on apprentice and trainee rights.
Apprenticeships and Traineeships
The Victorian Government has a range of guides and resources about apprenticeships and traineeships in Victoria.
The Federal Government's apprenticeships and traineeships scheme.