Steps to employ an apprentice or trainee
Are you thinking about employing an apprentice or trainee in NSW? Here’s what you need to do, including finding a candidate, training provider, getting a training contract and getting it approved.
Click on steps in this checklist to find out how to start an apprenticeship or traineeship in your workplace. 'Show all' to view the complete guide.
Apprenticeships and traineeships combine
on-job practical training with an employer, and
formal training with a training provider.
People learn new skills while working, leading to:
- a nationally recognised qualification for work in a specific job role and industry
- a Certificate of Proficiency.
Apprenticeships last around 3 to 4 years and traineeships around 1-3 years.
They can be part-time, full-time, or school-based.
They’re regulated by government and established under a Training Contract.
Training Services NSW regulates apprenticeships and traineeships in NSW. It also provides support and services to apprentices/trainees and employers.
Before hiring, read through this checklist so you know what’s involved.
Employing an apprentice or trainee can have many benefits. These include:
Having loyal and motivated staff that understand your business. Around 50% of apprentices and trainees stay on after their training.
Getting staff equipped with the latest skills and technology from their vocational training.
Having a fresh perspective on your business product, system or process.
The chance for your business to contribute skilled workers to the local economy. Because of this useful role, there are financial incentives to help you hire an apprentice and trainee.
You also have responsibilities. These include:
Providing the right wages and conditions.
Supervising, supporting and mentoring your apprentice or trainee.
Letting them take time off work with pay for formal training and assessment.
Completing a Training Contract with an ANP (see below)
Working with a training provider on the Training Plan (see below).
For more on obligations and expectations, see Coaching your apprentice or trainee.
People of all ages, backgrounds and abilities make good apprentices or trainees. Some do a school-based apprenticeship. Some are young people who have left school while some are mature aged. Some have previous qualifications and others have no qualifications.
Before looking for candidates, consult with an Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP) (see next step) about what type of apprenticeship or traineeship you need for your business. This will help you target candidates.
Once you’ve decided to hire, these are paths for finding candidates:
Consider an existing employee for an apprenticeship or traineeship.
Find someone by advertising or using the free Australian Job Search.
Contact a careers adviser at your local high school or TAFE.
Use a government support program such as the free CAPS service.
Use a Group Training Organisation (GTO) to contact potential candidates. GTOs employ and place apprentices and trainees with ‘host employers’. This can give you more flexibility.
When selecting candidates consider:
Are they motivated to succeed in the training? What are their long-term aspirations?
Would they adjust to your workplace? Do they have realistic expectations of the daily work they’ll do?
What do they know about the trade or traineeship? Do they have experience in similar activities?
Do they have citizenship and residency status (this is an essential).
Before signing up an apprentice or trainee, contact an Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP).
This is a free service. You can't start an apprenticeship or traineeship without one.
Your ANP will advise you on:
the right type of apprenticeship or traineeship for your business
paperwork and administration for establishing and maintaining the apprenticeship or traineeship
eligibility and how to apply for government incentive payments.
You can also ask your ANP to help you and your apprentice or trainee find a Registered Training Organisation (RTO)
RTOs deliver vocational training to apprentices or trainees. They also organise the Training Plan (see next step). Ultimately it’s up to you and your apprentice or trainee to decide which RTO to use.
These are essential for apprenticeships and traineeships.
Your Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP) will work with you and your apprentice/trainee to complete a Training Contract. It includes:
- Your details and the details of your apprentice or trainee.
- The term of the Training Contract.
- The vocation, qualification title and qualification level.
The RTO will contact you and your apprentice/trainee to complete aTraining Plan. This describes the formal and workplace training and assessment for the apprentice or trainee. It includes:
- the vocation, qualification title and qualification level
- the time frame for each unit of competency to be completed for the qualification
- the mode of training delivery
- other training information outlined on our Training Plan page.
Make sure you and your apprentice/trainee get a copy of the Training Contract and Training Plan
Your ANP will submit the Training Contract to Training Services NSW for approval.
Training Services NSW will send you a letter after the apprenticeship/traineeship is approved.
The training contract is binding from either:
the approval date indicated
OR the end of the probationary period, whichever is later.
An initial probation period applies to apprenticeships (up to 3 months) and traineeships (up to 2 months) depending on the term of the contract.
Once the probation period is over, you and your apprentice or trainee are contracted to each other for the length of the contract.
Training is a responsibility shared by you, the training provider and apprentice or trainee.
You must give the apprentice or trainee a supervisor with appropriate skills, and access to the full range of work required to develop their skills and knowledge. Training Services NSW has a great range of resources to help you do this.
Observe their progress and liaise regularly with the RTO on their training.
You're also responsible for implementing the right wages and conditions
Need assistance? Call 13 28 11 for your nearest Training Services NSW Centre.
Also see our Training an apprentice or trainee at work pages