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What is the Difference Between an Apprenticeship and a Traineeship?

Difference Between Apprenticeship and Traineeship

You want to get started in a trade career or trade-related industry. What do you choose, an apprenticeship or a traineeship, and is there a difference?

The official term, Australian Apprenticeship, covers both apprenticeships and traineeships which is why there can be some confusion. There are both similarities and differences between these two training options.

Let’s start with what they have in common:

  • Both apprenticeships and traineeships include practical, on-the-job experience with a company or host employer, and off-the-job training at TAFE or a registered training organisation
  • You’ll complete a Nationally Accredited vocational qualification
  • You'll get paid while you work and study
  • You can commence a traineeship or apprenticeship either full-time or part-time, or while still at school

Now to the differences… these boil down to the time it takes to finish and the type of job you’re after.

Apprenticeships usually take three to four years to complete. During that time you will learn everything you need to become a qualified tradesperson. The types of trade apprenticeships can cover include mechanical and fabrication engineering, automotive, building and construction, and electrical specialisations.

Traineeships typically last for one to two years and cover a broad range of occupational choices – anything from business and administration, to retail, and warehousing and logistics.

Some highly specialised trade traineeships can be as long as three years but generally you’ll complete sooner than an apprenticeship.

Important to note: The length of training described here is indicative only, as both apprenticeships and traineeships are competency-based. This means when you complete your apprenticeship or traineeship is dependent on achieving the required skill level of your training.

Competency-based completion is determined by your employer (like MIGAS), your host employer (the company where you undertake your on-the-job-training), and the registered training organisation.

Should I Choose an Apprenticeship or Traineeship?

Sometimes this decision is made for you – the trade specialisation you’re interested in may only be available as an apprenticeship.

These are highly sought-after, technical trades that can set you up for a rewarding career, whether that be working for someone else or running your own business.

Trade specialisations include:

If you’re unsure about what trade or industry you want to make a career in, a traineeship can be an ideal first step due to the shorter length of time.

You’ll get that hands-on experience you need on your resume, and finish with a relevant Certificate qualification to help separate you from other non-qualified candidates when job searching.  

Getting Started as an Apprentice or Trainee

Start your journey by learning more about apprenticeships and traineeships, what's involved, and how to find job opportunities in your location  a good place to start is our frequently asked questions.

Once you've decided that an apprenticeship or traineeship is for you, it's time to get job hunting.

Take a look at the latest apprentice and trainee vacancies on the MIGAS Jobs Board and apply online.

The recruitment process is similar to other types of roles, and we’re here to guide you through every step.

MIGAS has been recruiting, employing and supporting apprentices and trainees to achieve their desired trade career for 35 years. We have job opportunities right now in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. 


Published 04/08/2021

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.