5:00 PM, 19 Feb 2020

Employers have the power to decide how they will recruit new apprentices/trainees, and who they will recruit.  When recruiting entry-level employees, it is important to have realistic expectations regarding their on-the-job skills and experience, since this will enable more achievable goals to be set for them. Furthermore, both employers and their apprentices must understand what is expected of them during their Australian Apprenticeship.


Points to consider

  • In several Australian states, governments keep 'out of trade' registers containing the names of apprentices/trainees whose training programmes are incomplete. These tend to be employees who have been made redundant by former employers because of insufficient work availability. These can be excellent candidates since they are likely to have previous work experience. 
  • Many companies choose to recruit their apprentices and trainees from within their existing team. The reasons for doing this include: to improve their skills, to teach them new skills, or as a reward for performing well. However, employers must understand that pay rates and incentives can be affected by recruiting apprentices from within the existing workforce.
  • The following providers can help you to find potential apprentices who could be suited to your company: Jobactive, Disability Employment Services, Transition To Work, and The Community Development Program 

Finding suitable candidates

Apprentices and trainees are sought in much the same way as other new employees, for example through advertisements on job-searching websites and word-of-mouth sources. Nonetheless, the following methods can also be considered when looking for suitable apprentices. 


Schools are often good places to seek potential apprentices. There is usually a VET Coordinator or Industry Liaison Officer in the school who can help you with this. You may choose to offer work experience opportunities to all students, or just to a select few who are currently taking part in vocational training. By doing this, you can really get to know the potential apprentice. This can also help the student by providing them with important work experience to add to their resumes.

A further option here is an Australian School-based Apprenticeship. This enables a young candidate to immerse themselves in the industry. To begin with, the student works part-time as an apprentice alongside their studies. Many parties will be involved in the Australian School-based Apprenticeship process. These include the student, the school, the employer,  the training provider and parents/guardians. The Australian Apprenticeship could become a full-time position once the student has completed their studies if all parties agree to this. 

TAFE and private training organisations

For many individuals, the purpose of participating in a pre-apprenticeship training programme is to obtain an apprenticeship placement upon completion of the course. Several agencies can provide this training, including TAFE, Group Training Organisations and a number of private training organisations. However, this differs between states. 

There are different routes that employers can take to engage with pre-apprenticeship groups. For example, they can offer work placements or carry out interview role-plays. This can also be a way for employers to vet potential future candidates. Although contact details for existing pre-apprenticeships are provided by the Pre-Apprenticeship Finder, directly contacting the local providers can also be very helpful.

Australian Apprenticeship Support Network

The key purpose of Apprenticeship Network Providers is to offer important advice about apprenticeships, traineeships and job vacancies to employers, apprentices and job seekers. As we are closely affiliated with schools,  we can be very helpful when companies are seeking employees from Australian School-Based Apprenticeships. We have access to resources that can help you advertise apprentice positions and find suitable employees. 

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An alternative option for employing apprentices

Employers can either recruit new apprentices directly or consult Group Training Organisations (GTOs). As the GTOs serve as the direct employer and receive money from host employers to take on the apprentices, they operate in a similar way to labour-hire companies.  The GTO is tasked with ensuring that apprentices continually receive high-quality training. Moreover, they will offer support and care if needed.  This is also the same for Australian School-Based Apprenticeships.

It can be very useful for small companies (such as sole traders with no other employed staff members) to use the GTO approach. Furthermore, bigger companies wishing to seek extra support can benefit from consulting a GTO. 

Get your apprentice signed up

Once recruited, a formal training contract has to be set-up and signed for all Australian Apprentices. By doing this, all parties understand their roles and responsibilities. The apprentice must be correctly registered with the government. Your chosen Australian Apprenticeship Support Network Provider can help you to carry out the sign-up process. Once the sign-up process has been completed, the apprentice/trainee can be paid. Moreover, the new Australian Apprentice is now ready to begin the training programme with an accredited training provider.

Employers must consult with their chosen Australian Apprenticeship Network Support Provider to arrange the sign-up process. The providers can then officially register the training contract with the state or territory government, evaluate your right to incentives and decide whether the new apprentice or trainee has any rights to access additional support. 

Post recruitment 

Post Placement Support is given by the Apprenticeship Network Providers or Group Training Organisations once a new apprentice has started work.
Post Placement Support is tailored to suit the needs of the apprentice. It offers limited but continuous support for the new apprentice or trainee right up until they finish their apprenticeship. Moreover, both the employer and employee will be consulted frequently by the relevant Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to discuss any issues with training and the apprentice's progression towards their qualifications.  

Field staff are also employed by state and territory governments to help resolve any workplace problems. In some cases, particularly if there are extenuating personal circumstances or learning difficulties, an apprentice may find it difficult to complete their apprenticeship or traineeship. Therefore, to complete the training, apprentices must receive support from employers, service provider networks, and state governments.