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Mature Age Apprenticeship: What You Need to Know

MIGAS Electrician Apprentice Matt

MIGAS Field Officer Geoff (L) congratulating Matt on the completion of his Electrician Apprenticeship.

It’s attitude, not age, that defines a successful apprentice.

One common misconception about apprenticeships is that they are only for school leavers.

MIGAS works with many apprentices in their mid to late 20s, and some even older.

We recently hired a motivated 38-year-old apprentice in New South Wales who was ready for a job change and willing to put in the time to get qualified.

Embarking on a new career journey later in life is an inspiring and feasible goal, and in Australia, a mature age apprenticeship can be your ticket to a rewarding and fulfilling career change.

This article explores everything you need to know about mature age apprenticeships, from what age qualifies as “mature,” to wages, eligibility, and the steps to secure your dream apprenticeship.

What Age is a Mature Age Apprenticeship?

In Australia, a mature age apprentice is defined as an individual who is 21 years or older when they begin their vocational training. This definition acknowledges the unique circumstances and aspirations of those looking to enter the workforce or change careers at a later stage in life.

Trade apprenticeships in areas such as engineering and electrical are popular because they provide a practical, hands-on learning experience. Instead of spending more years in a classroom environment, you'll gain real-world skills and knowledge through on-the-job training.

Many trade professions are in high demand, and this demand is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. This often translates into job security and competitive wages.

How Old is Too Old to Start an Apprenticeship?

Okay, so 21 isn’t exactly old, is it? The truth is you can start an apprenticeship at any age, and it’s never too late.

There are many apprentices who don’t start their training until their late 20s, 30s and 40s…

What’s most important is your willingness, motivation, and ability to learn and work in your chosen trade. As an adult apprentice, having some life experience and a strong work ethic is seen as a real asset for many potential employers.

Mature Age Apprenticeship Wages

One of the significant advantages of pursuing a mature age apprenticeship is the opportunity to earn higher wages than younger apprentices. Trade apprenticeships offer competitive wages, especially as you gain experience and expertise.

Several factors can influence your pay as a mature age apprentice including:

Trade or qualification: The wage you earn as a mature age apprentice varies based on the specific trade or qualification you undertake. Some trades may have higher demand and, consequently, offer higher wages.

Industry and work conditions: The industry you train in can significantly impact your earnings. For instance, apprentices working in industries that require shift work or involve working away from home may receive additional allowances, increasing their overall income.

Educational background: Whether or not you completed high school can also affect your wage. A higher level of education may lead to better-paying opportunities, as it demonstrates a strong foundation of skills and knowledge.

Government priorities: Trades that are identified as high priority by the Australian Government currently come with support payments for eligible apprentices. This means you receive more by pursuing a trade that aligns with government initiatives to address skills shortages.

Apprentices are typically paid under the Modern Award set by the Fair Work Ombudsman, and some employers pay above Award wages or under an EBA. Be sure to discuss wages when going through recruitment for an apprenticeship to get an idea of salary.

You can also check out our blog 1st Year Apprentice Wages: Pay Rates for 2024-2025 which provides details of specific trade apprenticeship wages when starting out.

Will I Earn Enough as a Mature Age Apprentice?

When considering an adult apprenticeship, don’t forget family and financial impacts. Evaluate whether you and your family can manage the potential changes in your work and life situation that come with an apprenticeship, such as lower initial wages or different working hours.

A trade apprenticeship typically takes 3 to 4 years, so you need to be prepared for any short-term impacts before you become a fully qualified tradesperson.

How to Get a Mature Age Apprenticeship

Research your options: Start by researching the trade or qualification you’re interested in. Identify your passion and the skills you want to develop, and ensure that your chosen field aligns with your career goals.

Check your eligibility: Most apprenticeship opportunities in Australia are open to all ages, unless they are school-based roles. Ensure you meet the basic eligibility criteria for your chosen apprenticeship.

Find vacancies: Look for mature age apprenticeship vacancies through various channels. Check online job boards like Seek, and apprentice employers like MIGAS.

Prepare a strong resume: Tailor your resume to highlight your skills, work experience, and any relevant qualifications. Emphasise your motivation and commitment to your chosen apprenticeship.

Apply and interview: Submit your application for the apprenticeship and prepare for interviews. Showcase your enthusiasm and willingness to learn, emphasising the advantages of hiring a mature age apprentice, such as work ethic and life experience.

Commit to learning: Approach your mature age apprenticeship with dedication and a positive attitude. Be open to continuous learning and growth, and leverage your life experiences to excel in your chosen field.

Get Started in a Mature Age Apprenticeship

A mature age apprenticeship can be the stepping stone to a rewarding career change, offering the chance to acquire new skills and knowledge while earning a competitive wage.

Whether you're looking to switch careers or embark on a new adventure later in life, the opportunities are abundant in Australia.

As a mature age apprentice, you bring unique qualities to the workplace, making you a valuable asset to your chosen industry. Don't hesitate to pursue your dream career – the possibilities are endless.

Find an apprenticeship by searching the MIGAS Jobs Board.


Published 15/11/2023

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.