Apprenticeship and traineeship head start

Group training organisations offer fee-free pre-apprenticeship and pre-traineeship courses that include work experience with host employers.

About the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Head Start initiative

The Apprenticeship and Traineeship Head Start initiative helps eligible public high school students in years 10-12 unlock their futures through fee-free accredited training by completing pre-apprenticeship or pre-traineeship courses. Students get to try out career pathways of interest, gain nationally recognised units of competency, and earn credit that can be put towards an School Based Apprenticeship or Traineeship (SBAT) or full apprenticeship or traineeship courses.

Initiative activities include:

  • Training delivered by NSW Smart and Skilled contracted training organisations leading to 3-4 nationally recognised units of competency.
  • Potential work experience with a local host employer.
  • Support and advice on pathways to a career including SBATs, apprenticehips or traineeships.

There is also the potential to develop bespoke courses directly with a business who may have specific skills or talent attraction needs.

Initiative courses for 2024

Following a successful 2023 program where 90 courses were delivered to approximately 1100 students throughout NSW, we are pleased to confirm that 13 Group Training Organisations (GTO) will facilitate course delivery in 12 vocations commencing in 2024 in the following industries:

  • Automotive
  • Manufacturing
  • Business
  • Utilities and Electrotechnology
  • Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Community Services and Allied Health
  • Building and Construction
  • Maritime Engineering and Operations
  • Transport and Logistics
  • Hospitality
  • Plumbing
  • Agriculture and Animal Care


GTO Name Website

Apprenticeship Careers Australia

Central Coast Group Training

Hospitality Training Network

HunterNet Group Training Limited

Maxima Group Training

Maxwell Apprentices

My Gateway

My Freight Career

NECA Group Training


Programmed Skilled Workforce

Yalagan Group Training

Zeal Futures

Download 2024 EPP Apprenticeship and Traineeship Head Start Program Guidelines

For Employers

Employers can participate in the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Head Start Program by offering:

  • Work experience opportunities
  • On-site industry immersion tours
  • Invitations to industry events
  • School mentoring options and industry talks
  • Providing opportunities for Apprenticeship and Traineeship employment

If you are an employer looking to get involved in the program, please download the below Employer info pack for more information.

Download employer info pack

For Students

Students should contact their Career’s Advisor to discuss the vocations available in their school region and express their interest in participating in the course.

Eligible students will be asked to complete an expression of interest (EOI) form. Once the EOI is completed and returned to their school, the GTO and the Head Teacher Careers/Careers Advisor will select the most suitable students and offer them the opportunity to participate in the program.

Students will need to meet criteria to participate, including:

  • Be 15 years and over and in years 10, 11 or 12 from a participating EPP school.
  • Be an Australia citizen, Australian Permanent resident, humanitarian visa holder or New Zealand Visa holder.

Contact us

To contact the team, email


  • VET


  • apprenticeships
  • traineeships

Business Unit:

  • Skills and Pathways
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