Frequently Asked Questions

Apprenticeships and Traineeships

What is an Apprentice, Trainee or School-based Trainee?

What are the eligibility requirements to become an apprentice/trainee?

Am I too old to start an Apprenticeship or Traineeship?

Which trade should I choose for my apprenticeship or traineeship?

What happens if I finish Year 12 before I finish my school-based traineeship?

How do I complete my apprenticeship or traineeship early?

My previous employer had to cancel my contract – can I still finish my apprenticeship?

Do you have adult apprenticeships? 

Can I get any recognition for previous work I have completed in the trade area?

Can I do a dual trade?

What can I do to put myself in the best possible position to acquire an apprenticeship?

MIGAS

What is a Group Training Organisation?

Why choose MIGAS as my Group Training Organisation?

What does MIGAS expect of an apprentice, trainee and school-based trainee?

Pay

How much will I get paid as an apprentice?

Who pays for TAFE?

Do I get Tools For Your Trade payments?

What is a Trade Support Loan?

Am I eligible for a Trade Support Loan?

Do I get a Living Away From Home Allowance?

General

What is the National Skills Needs List?

What is Labour Hire?

I need help – who can I go to?


What is an Apprentice, Trainee, or School-based Trainee?

An Australian Apprentice, Trainee or School-based trainee is a contracted trainee, working towards gaining a nationally recognised qualification, while also working full time, part time or casually.

An apprentice will usually be completing a Certificate III or higher, which grants them the status of fully qualified tradesperson upon completion. These positions will usually be in the traditional trades, such as engineering, electrical, mechanical and manufacturing. Apprenticeships are generally around 4 years in duration.

A trainee will usually work toward a Certificate II or higher, generally (but not always) in non-trade pathways, such as business administration, warehousing, IT or retail. Traineeships can take 1-2 years to complete.

A school-based trainee will complete a Certificate II one day a week, while also attending and completing their senior schooling. School-based traineeships can be considered a stepping stone into a full time apprenticeship or traineeship, and are valuable work experience. 

Learn all about the differences between an Australian Apprentice, Trainee and School-based Trainee here on the MIGAS website.

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What are the eligibility requirements to become an apprentice/trainee?

In order to undertake an Australian Apprenticeship or Traineeship, you simply need to be of working age, and an Australian citizen or permanent resident. You do not need a high school certificate or any other qualification to become an apprentice or trainee, although previous experience and aptitude is an advantage. You may be precluded from completing a traineeship if you already have a Certificate III or higher.

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Am I too old to start an Apprenticeship or Traineeship?

You’re never too old to learn a new skill! If you’re over the age of 21, you are considered an adult apprentice, which means you have a slightly higher rate of pay than a junior apprentice.

MIGAS and the Australian trades industry fully supports mature age and adult apprentices and trainees over the age of 21. To learn more about programs available, head to the Mature Age Apprenticeships page on the MIGAS website.

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Which trade should I choose for my apprenticeship or traineeship?

Like any career decision, choosing a trade is a highly personal choice; you should consider your interests, experience and skills as well as personal circumstances.

For more information on the types of trades that you can choose for your apprenticeship or traineeship, head to the Career Information Centre on the MIGAS website. We recommend an open mind when pursuing a trade and location in order to have the best chance to secure a position.

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What happens if I finish Year 12 before I finish my school-based traineeship?

If you finish your schooling before completing your school-based traineeship, then you are required to convert straight into full-time or part-time arrangements to complete your qualification. MIGAS organises this transition for you and advises you on what steps to take next.

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How do I complete my apprenticeship or traineeship early?

Your apprenticeship or traineeship is a competency based qualification, which means you can complete early if your employer and your training provider agree you have met the requirements of your Training Plan.

As a MIGAS employee, if you believe you have met the competency requirements early, you can discuss this with your Field Officer who will liaise with the relevant parties. Before rushing to completion however, remember that even as a tradesperson you never really stop learning, and the more guidance you can get, the better!

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My previous employer had to cancel my contract – can I still finish my apprenticeship?

Of course you can! Experienced apprentices are highly sought after, whether they’re in their 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th year. This is because you’ve got the basics out of the way, and have also proved you’re committed to your apprenticeship by refusing to be discouraged by the setback! Employers also sometimes need an apprentice with a bit more experience to complement their existing apprentice pool or to shadow their tradesmen. In most cases your previous training credits will count towards your new training contract – MIGAS can arrange this for you.

If you’re an out of trade apprentice, be sure to get in touch with us, or check out our Jobs board.

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Do you have adult apprenticeships? 

We have a constant rotation of available apprenticeships you can apply for. There are no age restrictions on completing an apprenticeship, but adult apprenticeships are very competitive; previous experience is advantageous along with the completion of a pre-apprenticeship course. A pre-apprenticeship course is especially important if you are looking at pursuing a licenced trade outcome such as plumbing or electrical. MIGAS are an Equal Opportunity Employer and fully support mature age and adult apprentices and trainees over the age of 21. Tip: look for vacancies that haven’t specified a junior.

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Can I get any recognition for previous work I have completed in the trade area?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment of your previous skills, knowledge and experience which may meet the requirements of the apprenticeship or traineeship you are undertaking. You should be able to clearly show you have the equivalent skills or knowledge in order to be granted credit for a unit or units of competency. You may also apply for Credit Transfer for units completed previously with a different employer or training organisation. As a MIGAS employee, we can help you discover what RPL or Credit Transfers you are entitled to and arrange any required testing with the Registered Training Organisation (TAFE).

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Can I do a dual trade?

Yes it is possible to undertake a dual trade but it is dependent on the scope and type of work that is being offered by a host employer.  An advantage of coming through a Group Training Organisation such as MIGAS, is that you could be rotated amongst various host organisations to give you the required level of competency.

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What can I do to put myself in the best possible position to acquire an apprenticeship?

Perseverance is key when looking for an apprenticeship. As apprenticeships are usually a four year commitment and competency based, employers tend to look for applicants who have demonstrated a genuine interest in or aptitude for a trade career. Previous experience is always a good selling point, and we encourage applicants to consider undertaking a pre-apprenticeship course or looking for work experience. It is also important to spend some time evaluating the current labour market and the skills currently in demand across industry. 

Remember applying for an apprenticeship is the same as applying for any job; you’ve got to sell yourself!

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What is a Group Training Organisation?

A Group Training Organisation recruits, employs and manages apprentices and trainees, while hosting them to host companies for the duration of their training. A GTO will be there for you for the duration of your training contract and can even assist you in finding work after completion. A GTO is your legal employer, and as such has a vested interest in ensuring the best possible outcome from your training contract.

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Why choose MIGAS as my Group Training Organisation?

MIGAS prides itself as a premium GTO, with over 25 years’ experience providing high-level support for our apprentices and trainees. We are with you every step of the way, ensuring your paperwork is up to date, you’re paid correctly including work cover and superannuation, and provide you with boots, uniforms and specialised mentoring for the duration of your contract. We can even help you find work after your apprenticeship is done!

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What does MIGAS expect of an apprentice, trainee and school-based trainee?

On successful application, you are employed by MIGAS as an Australian Apprentice or Trainee and hosted to a business for the duration of your qualification training.

This means you are the legal employee of MIGAS, and a representative of our company in the field. You would be expected to maintain a professional manner, follow MIGAS policies and procedures, and be respectful both to MIGAS staff, and your colleagues and supervisors at your host company. This is considered standard professional behaviour in any workplace. 

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How much will I get paid as an apprentice?

Apprentice wages are dependent on the relevant workplace instrument used by your host employer. This may refer to a Federal Modern Award as a minimum, an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement or an Approved Workplace Agreement. Generally, under the Federal Modern Awards, apprentices are paid a percentage of the full tradesman rate, which increases every year on the anniversary of the apprentice contract start date. The Fair Work website has a pay calculator which may give you a general idea of the pay rates you could expect. 

Read more about apprentice wages >

Or check out this fact sheet on Uni fees vs Trade wages >

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Who pays for TAFE?

As an apprentice, MIGAS will cover your TAFE/SRTO fees in most cases, funded by the Australian Government under a User Choice arrangement.

Trainees may be required to pay a nominal tuition fee, depending on the level of your qualification. MIGAS will advise you of any costs on successful application.

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Do I get Tools For Your Trade payments?

The Tools for Your Trade (TFYT) payments ceased from 1st July 2014 and was replaced with the Trade Support Loan Scheme.

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What is a Trade Support Loan?

A Trade Support Loan provides up to $20,000 for apprentices to assist them with the costs of living and learning while undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship.

A 20% discount is applied on the amount borrowed on successful completion of their Australian Apprenticeship.

Apprentices are required to pay their loans through the tax system when their repayment income meets the repayment threshold.

The loans are flexible to meet the needs of the each individual apprentice, with options of borrow amounts.

Download this free Fact Sheet on Trade Support Loans for Apprentices >

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Am I eligible for a Trade Support Loan?

To be eligible for Trade Support Loan payments, you must:

  • Reside in Australia and be an Australian citizen;
  • be undertaking a:
    • Certificate III or IV level qualification that is listed here; or
    • Certificate II, III or IV agricultural qualification; or
    • Certificate II, III or IV horticulture qualification while working in rural or regional Australia; and
  • meet the eligibility criteria which is assessed by your Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) on receipt of a Trade Support Loans Application Form.

There are no age restrictions for applying for a Trade Support Loan. If you are under 18 years of age you are encouraged to seek the acknowledgment of a parent or guardian.

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You do not have to take out a Trade Support Loan, even if you are eligible. Taking out a loan is a serious financial responsibility, and it is recommended that you do your research and assess whether it is the best option for you.

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Do I get a Living Away From Home Allowance?

Australian Apprentices are eligible for the Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFHA) at any age if during the first three years of their Australian Apprenticeship they are required to move away from their parent's or guardian's home to take up or retain their Australian Apprenticeship. This includes eligible full- or part-time Australian Apprentices and School-based Apprentices.

MIGAS will organise your application for LAFHA with your AASN on your behalf. 

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What is the National Skills Needs List?

The National Skills Needs List is a list of traditional trades identified by the Australian government as experiencing a shortage of skilled tradespeople. This list was compiled through detailed market research analysis of projected industry growth and regional population saturation. Apprentices undertaking training in a skill shortage trade may be eligible for additional employer incentives and personal benefits. The National Skills Needs List is a great place to start looking when considering a trade career – you know the jobs are there!

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What is Labour Hire?

Labour Hire workers are engaged by MIGAS in a casual employment contract. You will work onsite for a host company for both short and long term projects. Labour Hire arrangements may suit qualified tradespeople, general labourers and out-of-work apprentices. Learn more on the Labour Hire page on the MIGAS website.

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I need help – who can I go to?

As a MIGAS employee, we’re here for you. If you are experiencing difficulties in the workplace, struggling with your training or having personal issues, we encourage you to contact your MIGAS Field Officer. In most cases, they’ll be able to help answer your questions, or guide you to someone who can.

If you’d rather not involve MIGAS, you can contact our Employee Assistance Program for free short term confidential counselling. This is available to any MIGAS employee, including apprentices, trainees, labour hire and internal staff. Contact the EAP on 1800 818 728 or head here for more information.

Employee Assistance Program Worker Handout

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You'll also find extensive resources on applying for jobs, resume writing, tips and advice on all things apprenticeships, traineeships and labour hire in the Job Seeker News section.

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Submit your application for an Australian Apprenticeship, Traineeship or Labour Hire position, or check out current job vacancies in your area.