There are different ways you can do an apprenticeship or traineeship. You can do one after you've finished school, but you can also work towards an apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
School-based apprenticeships and traineeships
School Based Apprenticeships and traineeships (SBATs) give you hands-on industry training and experience, plus a nationally recognised Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification.
You can do an SBAT as part of your year 12 studies. If you choose this option you'll finish Year 12 with your Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) or Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). For more information about the difference between VCE and VCAL, check out our High school (Secondary study) page.
If you do an SBAT, you’ll split your time between:
- studying at school
- working with your employer
- doing training with a registered training organisation.
After you finish your SBAT you'll have your VCE or VCAL certificate as well as any qualifications you completed (like Certificate II or III) as part of your apprenticeship or traineeship. You'll also have direct experience working in your industry of choice.
Note that if you do an SBAT you'll be paid for the time you spend working for your employer.
For more about SBATs, talk to your careers teacher and check out the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority website.
Waiting until you've finished Year 12
Some employers prefer apprentices and trainees who have completed Year 12 because it shows their commitment to learning and achieving results. When you finish school you're also a little bit more mature, and old enough to get a licence.
If you choose to finish Year 12 before looking for an apprenticeship or traineeship you can do Vocational Education and Training (VET) subjects to develop industry-specific skills. If you do VET as part of year 12, you'll finish up with both a VCE or VCAL certificate and specific industry-based qualifications (like a Certificate II or III).
Note that if you choose to do VET subjects as part of Year 12 instead of doing a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship, you won't be doing any paid work as part of your studies.
Check with your school careers teacher about your VET options. You can also visit the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority website for more information about VET options in Year 12.
A pre-apprenticeship is a training course that can give you a head start on an apprenticeship or traineeship. It's a good way to sample an industry and see if it's what you really want to do.
You can do a pre-apprenticeship as part of your Year 12 studies. If you're no longer at secondary school, you can do a pre-apprenticeship independently.
It's not compulsory to do a pre-apprenticeship to get an apprenticeship or traineeship. It also doesn't guarantee you'll get one when you finish, but you may also be able to get some help finding one from your training provider.
If you do a pre-apprenticeship, and end up getting an apprenticeship or traineeship afterwards, it could reduce your apprenticeship time by three to 12 months.
Note that, unlike an apprenticeship or traineeship, you don't get paid to do a pre-apprenticeship.
If you're still at school, check with your careers teacher about pre-apprenticeship options. If you're not at school, the Department of Education has more information on pre-apprenticeships, including what's available, how they work and how to find one.
Group Training Organisations
If you're not at school anymore, one way to do an apprenticeship is through a Group Training Organisation (GTO).
GTOs are organisations that find and place apprentices and trainees with employers. They also arrange or deliver the training required by your apprenticeship or traineeship.
There are many GTOs across Victoria. Their websites often have a list of currently available jobs, apprenticeships and traineeships. You can also approach them to discuss finding an apprenticeship/traineeship in a specific area that you're interested in.
Note that if you get an apprenticeship or traineeship through a GTO, they are your employer, not the business you are working in.
To find a GTO near you, a good place to start is Group Training Australia's Group Training National Directory.
It's possible for secondary students to do part-time apprenticeships or traineeships outside of school hours.
If you choose to do a part-time apprenticeship you will be doing paid work and receiving industry-based training, but your school will not be required to approve your training plan or integrate your apprenticeship or traineeship into your school timetable.
You can, however, arrange for your part-time apprenticeship to count towards your VCE or VCAL studies.
For more advice on doing a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship outside of school hours, talk to your careers teacher.
Doing an apprenticeship where you already work
Some employers are willing to train someone they already employ as an apprentice or trainee as a way of giving you new skills for your job, or to train to you to take on new responsibilities. This can benefit both you and your employer.
You and your employer will need to choose a training provider for your formal training and agree on a training plan.
For more advice on how to approach your employer and develop a training plan, call Australian Apprenticeships on 13 38 73.
Government apprenticeships and traineeships
The Victorian government's Youth Employment Scheme (YES) arranges apprenticeships and traineeships within State Government organisations, including hospitals, the CFA and government departments and agencies. Apprenticeships or traineeships with YES can be done in metropolitan Melbourne or regional Victoria.
You can find out more about the YES program on our Victorian Government Traineeships page, which also has some interviews with some of the program's participants.
Where to now?
This booklet has information and case studies about the options available to secondary students in Victoria, including VET and apprenticeship options.
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.
Free app to help you explore careers that can begin through an apprenticeship or traineeship. 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.
VCAA - School-based Apprenticeships
Information about combining school with an apprenticeship or traineeship.
The Federal Government's apprenticeships and traineeships scheme.