Difference between an apprenticeship and a traineeship

What is the difference between an apprenticeship and a traineeship? The main difference is that a traineeship is offered in a broader range of occupations and is shorter - typically over one or two years. An apprenticeship covers skilled trades and takes a lot longer - usually three to four years, either full or part-time.

Before we look at the differences between these two options, let’s cover all the amazing benefits of starting your career learning on-the-job.

Why start an apprenticeship or traineeship?

There are so many reasons why an apprenticeship or traineeship could be right for you, including:

  • Experience and new skills while you get paid
  • Valuable hands-on training in the workplace
  • Nationally recognised qualification
  • Flexible, with full or part time study options
  • Same conditions and benefits as other employees
  • No debt to worry about after you qualify

Let’s start by listing the differences in a table, and then we’ll look at each individually.

Apprenticeship vs traineeship

Apprenticeship Traineeship
Industry Structured on-the-job training focused
on trades in automotive, electrical,
mechanical, bricklaying, plumbing, carpentry
Structured on-the-job training in health, care,
support work, infrastructure, engineering, business,
IT, digital marketing, hospitality and events
Length Three to four years, full or part-time 12 months to two years, full or part-time
Entry No qualification needed to start, including
Year 10, 11 and 12 students, school leavers
No qualification needed to start, including
Year 10, 11 and 12 students, school leavers
Pay Get paid while you train, with set base
rates, including full allowances
and entitlements
Get paid while you train, with set base
rates, including full allowances
and entitlements
Qualification Cert II all the way to an Advanced Diploma Cert II all the way to an Advanced Diploma

What is a traineeship and how do I apply for one?

A traineeship is on-the-job training with an employer, while you study and get paid - with a focus on hands-on practical learning over academic theory.

It’s perfect if you want to get a professional, industry-led qualification at the same time as real-world work experience. This can be full-time or part-time, normally over one or two years.

During your training you will be mentored by a supervisor makes sure you learn all the right skills. At the end of your training, you get a nationally recognised qualification, such as a:

  • Certificate II
  • Certificate III
  • Advanced Diploma

  • For example, a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) will give you all the skills to work at an aged care facility or in a client’s home.

    You can kick-start a traineeship at any-time whether you’re at school, about to finish school, recently graduated high-school or are looking to transition into a new career. There are traineeships in a huge range of sectors (700+), with the health and care sector currently experiencing high demand for placements in:

    Other fields where traineeships are common include business, business administration, project management and procurement via an infrastructure traineeship.

    Study and your traineeship

    During a traineeship you must spend your training with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). RTO’s are education providers like TAFE or technical colleges.

    This can be classroom-based training, online or work-based training with an employer. For a Certificate course you will have to complete a certain number of modules toward your qualification. If you study full-time you will qualify over 12 months, or two years if you study part-time. You will be awarded your qualification by your RTO at the end of your traineeship.

    Let's now look at apprenticeships in more detail...

    What is an apprenticeship and how do I apply for one?

    An apprenticeship is also a practical qualification where you learn on-the-job while you earn a wage. This increases over the apprenticeship as you master new skills. Apprenticeships are more focused on trade-based roles like:


    Who can become an apprentice?

    Just like a traineeship, you don’t need a qualification to kick-start your apprenticeship. You can enrol anytime, even if you are still at school! As an apprentice you can also choose to study full-time, part-time, or a combination of both - earning and learning as you go!

    Studying during your apprenticeship

    You must complete your Certificate or Diploma level studies with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). An RTO is a training provider – like TAFE or a registered employer - who is recognised by the government to deliver training and qualifications that are nationally recognised. The training can be delivered online, classroom-based, or on-the-job with an employer. Your RTO also issues your qualification when you finish your apprenticeship.

    Ready to start a traineeship or apprenticeship?

    We help match you with a local employer based on your interests and abilities.