Apprenticeships and traineeships

Not just for school-leavers

People of all ages can become an apprentice or trainee, and opportunities exist in a wide range of industries. Mature workers are known for their ability to bring commitment to their industry and increasing numbers of older workers are undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship.

You probably know about apprenticeships in the building and construction or food industries, but you may not know about apprenticeships in the telecommunications or information technology industries.

Why choose an apprenticeship or traineeship?

Apprenticeships and traineeships give you practical, transferable skills, workforce experience and can help you make a career change. And they’re paid positions, so you can still earn while you learn.

As an apprentice or trainee, you’ll combine time at work with training. You’ll enter into a training contract with your employer and receive formal and on-the-job training to learn your trade or occupation. Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship or traineeship you’ll get a nationally recognised qualification.

An apprenticeship is usually longer than a traineeship and there are differences in the type of contract you enter into. For example, for an apprenticeship (once an initial probationary period is complete) both the apprentice and employer must agree to any changes to the training contract. Under a traineeship, either party may cancel the contract.

Which role is right for you?

Do your research. Think about your existing skills and interests and past work experience, and which roles appeal most.

Things to consider when exploring your options: 

  • Talk to potential employers or people you know who have been an adult apprentice or trainee.
  • Check out job listings for a sense of the roles and industries that match your interests.
  • Look into pre-apprenticeship training options as a way to prepare you for the option you’d like to pursue.
  • Think about which industries are likely to have good employment prospects in the future, and what kinds of skills will be in demand. Get information about current ​and future skills shortages.

More information