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Are You Made for a Trade? School-Based Apprenticeships Explained

School Based Apprentices

MIGAS school based apprentices Jenna and Tyler at work on a mine site in Central Queensland.

Become a Qualified Tradie

In Australia, certain jobs require a qualification. Obvious roles include dentist, physiotherapist and surgeon. Yet, this isn’t an exclusive list. Other less obvious careers that also require specialised training include electrician, mechanic and metal fabrication and many more. This learning process is called an apprenticeship.

If you want to become a tradie, look no further than an apprenticeship with MIGAS. Apprenticeships (or traineeships) let you learn on the job in a real environment while working toward a nationally accredited qualification. Once achieved, you’ll be able to work anywhere in Australia and even start your own business, if you like!

Australian Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of industries, whether you want to work in traditional trades like electrical, engineering and fabrication, or mechanical, or you want to study business administration.

How do apprenticeships work and what will I earn?

As an apprentice or trainee, you can work full-time while studying part-time at TAFE or a registered training organisation. To learn how much you'll make each week, read our FAQ post, How Much Do Apprentices Get Paid

How long does it take to become a qualified tradesperson in Australia?

If you're thinking about starting an Australian Apprenticeship, one of the most pressing questions you might have is, "How long will it take?" Unfortunately, the answer isn't cut and dry, as it depends on the specific trade or vocational area, you're interested in.

However, one thing is sure: the competency-based progression and completion process ensures that you'll be fully equipped with the skills for your chosen trade. For trade apprenticeships, the typical duration is between 3-4 years.

On the other hand, vocational traineeships tend to take less time to complete, typically 1-3 years. No matter which option you choose, you can rest assured that you'll be acquiring valuable experience and qualifications that can serve as a springboard to a successful career.

Benefits of School-based Apprenticeships and Traineeships

As a high school student, you may be wondering how you can set yourself on the path to a rewarding career in a trade. School-based Apprenticeships and Traineeships are becoming increasingly popular. 

One of the best parts is that a school-based apprenticeship can speed up your apprenticeship after high school. Starting before graduation can cut your training time from 3-4 years to 2-3 years.

This unique program allows you to complete a Certificate II or III in your chosen trade while attending high school. Working part-time in a real-world setting will also allow you to gain valuable experience, make connections, and decide which trade specialisation is best for you.

Students in their senior years of high school can start training through school-based apprenticeships and traineeships. School-based apprentices undertake the first stage of their apprenticeship training before the end of the HSC year. School-based trainees complete their traineeship by the end of their HSC year.

How long will it take a school-based apprentice to qualify as a tradesperson?

The best part is that completing a school-based apprenticeship can accelerate your path to becoming a qualified tradesperson after high school.

By getting started before you graduate, you can shave off a whole year from your training, reducing your overall training time from 3-4 years to just 2-3 years.

So why wait? Take advantage of school-based apprenticeships and get on the tools.

What are the minimum requirements that a school-based apprentice or trainee must complete while they are at school?

While at school, the school-based apprentice or trainee must complete a minimum of 100 days of paid employment. However, some trades require more, such as automotive (130 days), construction (144 days), plumbing, and electrical (180 days). The days must be completed by 31 December of the school year.

Apprentices and trainees working at schools are enrolled in the relevant course. They must finish the formal training component by Term 3 of the HSC year. This ensures the student gets credit for the HSC and has time to study for and take the HSC exam, which is optional.

Who will provide the formal training for school-based apprentices and trainees?

School-based apprentices and trainees will undertake their apprenticeship training through TAFE or a private Registered Training Organisation (RTO) authorised to provide training.

How will a school-based apprenticeship fit in with my regular schooling?

The formal training that an apprentice or trainee gets at school counts for at least four units toward the HSC.

Depending on the qualification, you may be able to use extra HSC unit credit for both school-based apprenticeship and traineeship programs.

What is the latest a school student can start as a school-based apprentice or trainee?

Most students undertaking a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship begin at the end of Year 10 or the beginning of Year 11.

Applications for these students should be submitted well before the end of the first term of Year 11. If the school approves, some students may begin in Year 10.

Australian Apprenticeship Frequently Asked Questions

1. When can I start? End of Year 10 or the beginning of Year 11 (earlier if the school approves)

2. How much will I earn? It depends on trade type and based on relevant Award or Industrial Agreements

3. How often do I work? Usually, one day per week during the term, or as negotiated by all parties, must equal 100 days or trade specific.

4. What happens after I complete year 12? Move to a full-time apprentice or trainee, or pursue other education or employment if you choose to.

5. Why choose a trade?

  • Skilled workers are highly sought after 
  • Develop a stable, lucrative career
  • Do something you love
  • Gain skills to work anywhere in Australia or overseas
  • Gain steady employment or go into business for yourself

7. What trade areas does MIGAS offer?

8. How do I apply for an apprenticeship with MIGAS?

  • Find an apprenticeship or traineeship role on our jobs board
  • Prepare a resume and cover letter
  • Apply online on the MIGAS website
  • Our Recruitment team will call you to discuss the role
  • Online or face-to-face interview
  • Register at to receive updates on current roles

9. What does MIGAS look for in a candidate?

  • Completion of a relevant Cert II and work experience
  • Evidence of your work ethic and reliability, attitude, willingness to learn and take direction, participation in school activities (sport, music, and art etc.)
  • Started the process of getting a driver's licence

10. What are some resume tips when applying?

  • Tailor your resume to the job
  • List your achievements (including sports, music, and art involvement)
  • Format your resume appropriately
  • Match your resume to your abilities
  • Check your spelling and grammar
  • Accompany your resume with a suitable cover letter

11. What are some cover letter tips?

  • Outline why you are suited to the role 
  • Show your understanding of the role and what it entails
  • Reference the position you're applying for and the company
  • Summarise your interest in the role and the trade/vocational area
  • Keep it short and sweet – say everything you need to in a single page

Find a School-based Apprenticeship or Traineeship

Australian Apprenticeships are a unique opportunity for people to learn on the job while earning a nationally accredited qualification. Apprenticeships and traineeships are available in a wide range of industries, and participants can work full-time while studying part-time at TAFE or a registered training organisation.

School-based Apprenticeships and Traineeships are becoming increasingly popular for high school students, allowing them to complete a Certificate II or III in their chosen trade while attending high school. Completing a school-based apprenticeship can also accelerate the path to becoming a qualified tradesperson, reducing overall training time from 3-4 years to 2-3 years. 

To search for school-based apprenticeships, visit our jobs board.


Published 24/03/2023

In the spirit of reconciliation, MIGAS Apprentices & Trainees acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.