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A quick guide to school-based apprenticeships

If you thought you had to leave school to start an apprenticeship, think again. School-based apprenticeships give you the best of both worlds, allowing you to train towards a recognised qualification and work for an employer while you complete your high school studies.

What is a school-based apprenticeship?

If you want to get started in a hands-on career, but are worried about dropping out of high school, then a school-based apprenticeship could be just what you're looking for. School-based apprenticeships give you the best of both worlds, allowing you to train towards a recognised qualification and work for an employer (and get paid) while you complete your high school studies. 

School-based apprenticeships are perfect for anyone who prefers hands-on learning to traditional classroom-based learning. They also allow you to get a head start on your career with school-based apprenticeships often leading to full-time employment once you finish school. Plus you'll be able to earn and learn — getting paid while you gain industry-relevant skills that will set you up for your future career.

There are a wide variety of industries that offer school-based apprenticeships. Choose from a range of traditional trade areas including plumbing, bricklaying, carpentry, electrotechnology, automotive, and refrigeration. Or get the practical skills you need to start a career in hairdressing, cookery or horticulture. 

How do I start a school-based apprenticeship?

If you want to do a school-based apprenticeship, first check to see if your area of interest is offered via an apprenticeship. You can quickly and easily search all available apprenticeship and traineeship courses on our website. 

Once you've decided what you want to you, the next step is to find an employer you can complete your apprenticeship through. You can either contact businesses directly, use internet job search engines such as Seek, or go through a Group Training Organisation (GTO). A GTO will arrange your training and place you with different host employers where you will gain on-the-job skills. 

You will also need to gain approval from your school in order to complete a school-based apprenticeship. Your school, employer and training organisation will then work together to create your training schedule with some of your paid employment and/or training becoming part of your school timetable. 

How much do I get paid for a school-based apprenticeship?

As an apprentice your employer covers the cost of your wages while also paying for your education and training, and this is reflected in your pay. How much your employer pays you will depend on the award or enterprise agreement you're employed under. To check exactly how much you'll be paid under your specific award you can use the Fair Work Ombudsman's Pay and Conditions Tool.

No matter what your award is, you must be paid at least the minimum wage for your award for any time spent working for your employer, as well as any penalty rates or allowances that apply under your award. 

What happens when I finish school?

Once you finish school, your school-based apprenticeship will automatically be converted into a full-time apprenticeship. You will continue working with your existing employer, training with TAFE Queensland, and completing your apprenticeship qualification. 

Depending on when you started your apprenticeship, you may also qualify to progress to the next level of your apprenticeship and be eligible for a pay increase.