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TAFE NSW Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Strengthen your business with a trainee or apprentice

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Enterprise - Resources - Apprenticeships Traineeships

Apprenticeships and Traineeships are a great way for businesses to attract new employees or upskill existing team members. Potential candidates can get paid for on the job training, while also earning a nationally recognised qualification, and businesses are rewarded with committed employees who are trained to apply skills, tailored to your business needs.

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From the light rail project and WestConnex in Sydney, to new residential and commercial builds right around the state; New South Wales is constantly under construction. To help complete that construction, NSW needs to build a strong pipeline of skilled tradespeople. And that starts with apprentices.

Apprenticeships combine paid work and structured training, allowing employees to learn a trade while receiving a nationally accredited qualification at the same time. An apprenticeship typically takes four years and can be completed as either part time or full time training.

Fee-free apprenticeships

The NSW Government has made it even easier for businesses to employ an apprentice. From 1 July 2018, they have been investing over $285 million to fund the qualification fees for 100,000 new apprentices.

Access to fee-free training is available to NSW apprentices, including school based apprentices, whose training:

  • is funded under the NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled program
  • commenced on or after 1 July 2018.

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Study Areas

  • Automotive and heavy vehicle
  • Baking and commercial cookery
  • Beauty and hairdressing
  • Bricklaying
  • Building and construction
  • Carpentry and joinery
  • Electrotechnology
  • Plumbing

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Apprenticeship FAQs

Apprenticeships offer the best of both work and study. Students train on the job, study, and earn an income, all while working towards becoming a qualified tradesperson.

In traditional trade areas like carpentry, electrical, hairdressing and plumbing, an apprenticeship normally takes three to four years. This may seem like a long time, but while they are working towards becoming fully qualified, they are also getting hands-on experience, and are getting paid for it.

  • Apprenticeships are open to anyone of working age i.e. 14 years and 9 months.
  • Potential apprentices do not need a school certificate or any other qualification.
  • Year 10, 11 and 12 students, school leavers, people re-entering the workforce or professionals.

As long as the training provider (e.g. TAFE NSW) has not commenced training delivery with your apprentice before 1 July 2018, you will not have to pay a fee. This applies, even if you signed a training contract before this date.

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Traineeships are similar to apprenticeships, but they concentrate on vocational or job areas such as office administration, information technology, or hospitality.

Fee-free traineeships

Under its fee free traineeship initiative, the NSW Government will pay the student fees for 70,000 new trainees who commence their training under Smart and Skilled, between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2023.

If the employer normally pays the student fee on behalf of the trainee, they will no longer have to pay a cent in student fees, provided the trainees have started their Smart and Skilled funded traineeship course, on or after 1 January 2020.

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Study Areas

  • Business
  • Business administration
  • Early childhood education and care
  • Hospitality
  • Human resources
  • Information technology
  • Real estate and property
  • Hospitality
  • Travel and tourism

Enterprise - Resources - Traineeships - FAQs

Traineeship FAQs

Traineeships are similar to apprenticeships, but they concentrate more on vocational or job areas such as office administration, information technology or hospitality.

A traineeship lasts one to two years. Throughout that time, trainees will learn, work, and earn, and then when they have successfully completed the course, they will receive (at a minimum) a Certificate II qualification.

  • Traineeships are open to anyone of working age i.e. 14 years and 9 months.
  • Potential trainees do not need a school certificate or any other qualification.
  • Year 10, 11 and 12 students, school leavers, people re-entering the workforce or professionals.

To be eligible, students must be a NSW trainee or a NSW school based trainee, and have commenced Smart and Skilled traineeship training after 1 January 2020.

If trainees have previously commenced their Smart and Skilled traineeship training before 1 January 2020, and are returning to a traineeship after 1 January 2020, they will be eligible for fee free for the remainder of their training, but only if their traineeship course or their employer has changed.

Enterprise - Resources - Apprenticeships Traineeships - Why TAFE


TAFE NSW is the leading provider of education and training in Australia, with thousands of employers choosing us to train their staff each year.

You can be assured that your staff are trained by industry qualified and experienced teachers that bring up to date, real world skills. Additionally, we have over 130 years of history, and our courses and facilities are internationally renowned.

Customised training

TAFE NSW offers customised and flexible training courses, across all industries, to help business owners respond to market changes, and grow their business through their people.

We understand that your business is not always 9 to 5. That’s why we work with you, planning timing, location, and training delivery, as well as off-the-job training components to meet your specific business needs. We can deliver training part time, full time, on campus, online, at your workplace, or via a blend of the aforementioned.

Government incentives

As an employer of an Australian apprentice or trainee, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the Australian Government, to help with hiring and training costs.

Get in touch today Call 1300 045 737

Enterprise - Resources - Apprenticeships Traineeships - Testimonials


TAFE brings the expertise in knowing exactly what the qualifications involve, what electives are available, how the assessments can work. We as employers don’t necessarily know that, we need that expertise from TAFE and to help us find the right program for our employees.

Sara Caplan Partner, PwC