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In some industries, you go straight from school or university into
the workforce. In others, you combine learning and earning by doing an
apprenticeship or traineeship.
Apprenticeships usually last three to four years and are generally
for people wanting to acquire a trade, such as carpentry or
hairdressing. Traineeships usually last one or two years and are found
in industries, such as retail, where there's no tradition of apprenticeships.
and traineeships involve on-the-job training combined with study
at a Registered Training Organisation, often a TAFE, where you'll
graduate with a nationally recognised qualification.
Finding an apprenticeship or traineeship is not very different to
looking for a job. You can tap into your network of friends and family
members to see if they know of anyone who can offer you one, you can
look at online job boards like SEEK (search for apprentice) and
you can visit Centrelink or your local employment agency to see if
they can put you in touch with potential employers. For
apprenticeships, you can also check out an Australian
While it's sometimes assumed that apprenticeships and traineeships
are only for younger workers, they are undertaken by people of all
ages. If, for example, you're interested in doing a carpentry
apprenticeship, you should be aware that taking on an apprentice is a
big responsibility for an employer, especially one running a small
business. An apprentice often doesn't move from being a cost to an
asset for a business until the final stages of the apprenticeship, so
it will be up to you to convince any potential employers that you'll
make the most of the opportunity.
Someone doing a traineeship in retail is more likely to be employed
by a medium to large-sized business. Again, the employer will be
spending time and money developing the trainee's skills and will want
to be reassured that they're making a good investment.
Especially for those who are more practically oriented,
apprenticeships and traineeships are a great way to learn through
hands-on experience and vocational training. While you generally won't
earn much while doing one, once you're qualified, a range of
opportunities will open up to you.
Apprenticeship and traineeship courses can be exactly what you need
to get a foot in the door of your desired career.