Questions and answers
What are the main features of school-based apprenticeships and traineeships?
School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBATs) allow senior high school students to commence an apprenticeship or traineeship while at school. School-based apprentices undertake the first stage of their apprenticeship training before the end of the HSC year. School-based trainees complete their traineeship by the end of their HSC year.
SBATs work part-time. Both the on-the-job and off-the-job training undertaken by school-based apprentices/trainees contributes to their HSC.
How long will it take a school-based apprentice to qualify as a tradesperson?
School-based apprenticeships are broken down into part-time and full-time components.
Typically, a school-based apprentice undertakes a two-year HSC program, which will result in the apprentice completing the first year of their trade qualification. After completing the HSC, the apprentice will have between 2 and 3 years of full-time employment as an apprentice, depending on the qualification.
This pattern may be varied for students who undertake their HSC over a period of more than two years.
What are the minimum requirements that a school-based apprentice or trainee must complete while they are at school?
While at school, the school-based apprentice or trainee must complete a minimum of 100 days of paid employment However, some trades require more, such as automotive (130 days), construction (144 days), plumbing and electrical (180 days). The days must be completed by 31 December of the HSC Year.
School-based apprentices and trainees are enrolled in the relevant course and must complete the required formal training component by the end of Term 3 in the HSC year. This ensures the student receives appropriate credit for the HSC and has time to prepare for and sit the optional HSC exam.
Who will provide the formal training for school-based apprentices and trainees?
School-based apprentices and trainees in New South Wales will undertake their apprenticeship training through TAFE NSW or a private Registered Training Organisation (RTO) authorised to provide training. The student’s school may also deliver the formal training on school premises if it is authorised to do so.
In most cases, school-based apprentices will continue their enrolment with the same training organisation once they commence full-time work as an apprentice after the HSC, and will complete their formal training within a further two years.
What qualifications will I receive when I have completed my apprenticeship or traineeship?
When the formal training component of the apprenticeship or traineeship has been successfully completed, a qualification will be issued to the apprentice or trainee by the Registered Training Organisation.
Evidence of successful completion of the on-the-job training will be a letter from the employer confirming that the apprentice or trainee has completed their term of employment and has attained skills and knowledge to industry standard.
When both the formal and on-the-job training has been successfully completed, apprentices and trainees receive a Certificate of Proficiency issued by Training Services NSW.
How will a school-based apprenticeship/traineeship fit in with my HSC?
The formal training undertaken by a school-based apprentice or trainee generally contributes a minimum of 4 units towards the HSC. Additional HSC unit credit may be applicable for both school-based apprenticeship and traineeship courses, depending on the qualification.
School-based apprentices and trainees may also elect to undertake the Industry-Based Learning that can contribute up to 4 additional units of HSC credit. Assessment of these units is based on evidence of industry-based skills built up through paid employment as an apprentice or trainee during the HSC years.
Further information on school-based apprenticeships and traineeships in the HSC is available on the Vocational Education and Training section of the NSW Education Standards Authority website at: Vocational Education & Training
How is a school-based apprenticeship/traineeship established?
School-based apprenticeships and traineeships are established and protected in the same way as a full-time apprenticeship/traineeship. The parties to the apprenticeship/traineeship (that is, the employer and the apprentice) sign a training contract, which is a binding agreement that sets out the trade or vocation, details of the employer and the apprentice or trainee, the commencement date and the expected term of the apprenticeship or traineeship. The training contract sets out the responsibilities and obligations of each party. A parent or guardian will also sign the contract if the apprentice or trainee is under 18 years of age. The training contract is prepared and lodged with Training Services NSW by the employer’s preferred Apprenticeship Network Provider.
The training contract will become binding on both parties once the application has been approved and the probationary period has elapsed. The employer may apply to have the probationary period extended if they haven’t had sufficient opportunity to assess the suitability of the apprentice or trainee.
A training plan is also prepared in conjunction with the training contract. The training plan specifies the training organisation that will provide the formal training and the proposed pattern of part-time employment that will result in the apprentice or trainee meeting their minimum employment requirements by the end of the HSC year.
What is the latest a school student can start as a school-based apprentice or trainee?
Most students undertaking a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship begin at the end of Year 10 or the beginning of Year 11. Applications for these students should be submitted well before the end of the first term Year 11. Some students may begin during Year 10 if this is approved by the school.
Students wishing to commence a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship at a later time may be able to do so. Applications can be approved once the training plan is prepared. The Training Plan must confirm that the formal training can be completed before the HSC and the minimum part-time employment requirement can be met by 31 December of the HSC year.
What employment protections do I have as a school-based apprentice or trainee? Are there differences in comparison to a full-time apprenticeship or traineeship?
In NSW, an approved school-based apprenticeship or traineeship is protected by law. Conditions are outlined in the Award which is identified in the Training Contract. In NSW, an apprenticeship or traineeship can only be terminated by consent of the employer and apprentice or trainee, or by Training Services NSW. The same principle applies to full-time apprentices and trainees.
Under the Industrial Relations (Child Employment) Act, 2006 employers in NSW must provide young people with fair pay and conditions, irrespective of whether they have coverage under the State or Federal industrial relations system. See www.industrialrelations.nsw.gov.au for more information about young people’s entitlements.
Can a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship be cancelled before the HSC?
Apprenticeships and traineeships, including school-based apprenticeships/traineeships, can be cancelled at any time by the mutual consent of the parties.
School-based apprentices/trainees whose training contracts are cancelled prior to the completion of their HSC may be able to continue their study in the HSC VET course they have been undertaking as part of their apprenticeship or traineeship. However, cancellation before completion of the HSC may impact the HSC unit credit available from the Industry Based Learning Board Endorsed Course.
When is a school-based apprentice expected to begin full-time work as an apprentice?
School-based apprentices will be expected to commence full-time work as an apprentice from 1 January after their HSC. If they have not completed the required number of days of employment as an apprentice prior to their HSC they may be required to continue their on-the-job training after the HSC so that they meet the minimum requirement before commencing full-time employment after 1 January.
Students who have completed their on-the-job training requirement prior to the HSC may negotiate with their employer to take any accrued leave in the period after the HSC and before 1 January.
What if a school-based apprentice wants to have a break in their apprenticeship after the HSC?
School-based apprenticeships, like all apprenticeships and traineeships in NSW, may be cancelled or suspended at any time by the mutual consent of the parties. School-based apprentices who do not wish to commence full-time work as an apprentice from 1 January after completing their HSC must seek the consent of their employer to suspend or cancel their apprenticeship.
An apprentice whose apprenticeship has been cancelled will be entitled to receive credit for time spent working as an apprentice if they resume their apprenticeship at a later stage.
Can a school-based apprentice or trainee change employer?
Apprenticeships and traineeships, including school-based apprenticeships/traineeships, may be transferred to another employer subject to the consent of all three parties: the existing employer, the proposed employer and the apprentice or trainee.
What happens if an employer doesn’t have enough work for their school-based apprentice or trainee?
Employers taking on school-based apprentices/trainees are required to make a commitment to employing and training the apprentice or trainee for the duration of the training contract. As with all apprenticeships and traineeships, employers who cannot meet their obligation to provide employment and training because of changes that affect their business may apply for cancellation or suspension of the training contract.
Employers and apprentices/trainees should contact their local Training Services NSW regional office on 13 28 11 as soon as they become aware of circumstances that may result in an application for cancellation or suspension of the apprenticeship or traineeship. Training Services NSW officers may be able to assist the employer and apprentice or trainee by organising the placement of the apprentice or trainee with another employer.
Applications for cancellation or suspension supported by both the employer and the apprentice or trainee will be approved. Applications for cancellation or suspension supported by one party only may be referred to the Vocational Training Tribunal for a determination.
What support will be provided to school-based apprentices and trainees?
School-based apprentices/trainees who need help with their formal training should contact their school's careers adviser, VET coordinator or school-based apprenticeships/ traineeships coordinator in the first instance. If they have questions or need help regarding their on-the-job training with their employer they should contact their local Training Services NSW regional office on 13 28 11 for assistance.
What help can Training Services NSW provide to school-based apprentices/trainees and their employers?
Through its network of regional offices, Training Services NSW provides assistance and support to all apprentices and trainees. Apprentices and trainees can contact their local Training Services NSW regional office on 13 28 11.
School-based apprentices/trainees and employers can contact their local Training Services NSW office for:
- information about the availability and suitability of apprenticeships and traineeships for the workplace
- advice about entering into an apprenticeship or traineeship and their obligations under the training contract
- enquiries about varying the training contract
- help with problems in the workplace
- help with training or assessment services provided by the Registered Training Organisation
- support for school-based apprenticeships and school-based traineeships across NSW.