Top 20 most popular apprenticeships in NSW

Apprenticeships are currently fee-free in NSW. So which one should you do? Start your search with the 20 most popular qualifications in NSW, with links to training providers in your local area.

Apprentice telecommunications worker on building

1. Certificate III in Electrotechnology - Electrician

At the end of this apprenticeship, you’ll be a licenced ‘sparky’, able to select, install, test, repair and maintain electrical systems and equipment.

Job prospects for electricians are great – according to the National Electrical and Communications Association, 80% of apprentices graduate and become an electrician, and 99% find a job in the first three months. Better still, the starting salary can be as much as $91,000!

Find a course and your nearest apprenticeship training provider.

2. Certificate III in Carpentry

If you love the idea of building things, working outdoors and maybe even being your own boss one day, a carpentry apprenticeship is the ticket.

It generally takes three years to become a qualified ‘chippie’, learning how to measure, cut and construct timber building frames and other common skills required for construction. Elective units cover doors, windows, stairs and more. After that, you can go on to complete a builder’s licence.

Talking to someone in the industry.

Find a course and your nearest apprenticeship training provider.

3. Certificate III in Plumbing

Licenced plumbers are in demand everywhere. You’ll need to love working outdoors and with your hands. Apprentices learn to connect and maintain water and gas supplies to domestic, commercial and industrial properties. From sub-soil drainage to roof plumbing, gas fitting and repair of heating and ventilation systems, the trade offers general skills and a variety of specialist streams.

Find a course and your nearest apprenticeship training provider.

4. Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology

The course name may sound fancy, but it’s a general and highly practical apprenticeship course for anyone who wants to work on cars and other light vehicles – be it in automotive retail, service or repair industries.

By the end of the three years, you’ll be qualified to make repairs to engines and transmissions, steering and other vehicle systems.

Find a course and your nearest apprenticeship training provider.

5. Certificate III in Commercial Cookery

Follow your passion for food and hospitality with this popular apprenticeship, learning the skills to prepare, cook and present food. You’ll also learn about the industry, how to plan menus and run a busy kitchen.

By the end of the apprenticeship (18 months on average), you’ll be a qualified chef who can work in restaurants, hotels, clubs, pubs, cafes and coffee shops.

Find a course and your nearest apprenticeship training provider.

6. Certificate III in Engineering (Fabrication Trade)

From forging and metal fabrication, to erecting structural steel and operating computer-controlled equipment, this apprenticeship will qualify you for work in the manufacturing and engineering industries.

After successfully completing the Certificate III in Engineering —Fabrication Trade (up to 4 years), you’ll be able to work as a boilermaker, sheet metal worker, class welder, foundry tradesperson or patternmaker.

Find a course and your nearest apprenticeship training provider.

7. Certificate III in Hairdressing

Most hairdressers undertake an apprenticeship to learn (and earn) on the job while they complete the qualification.

Training will develop your key technical skills such as cutting, colouring and styling, along with more general but equally important business skills like communication, customer service, sales and time management. As your skills and experience grow, so too will your creativity.

A Certificate III in Hairdressing generally takes around 15 months.

Find a course and your nearest apprenticeship training provider.

8. Certificate III in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

If you love problem solving and fixing things, an apprenticeship in air conditioning and refrigeration may be for you. Apprentices learn to install, service and repair a range of systems.

You can work anywhere in Australia, and there’s even the option to run your own business.

Find a course and your nearest apprenticeship training provider.

9. Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology

Know the difference between a skel and a sideloader? Love the idea of spending your days tinkering on trucks and trailers? This trade apprenticeship is for you.

Over 4 years (on average), you’ll learn the skills needed to inspect, service, maintain and repair heavy vehicles, and maintain a safe and organised workshop. Once qualified, you’ll be able to look for work in the transport and logistics industry.

Find a course and your nearest apprenticeship training provider.

10. Certificate III in Engineering - Mechanical Trade

Begin a rewarding career in the automotive service and repair industry. This apprenticeship will see you learn skills to design, assemble, manufacture, install, maintain and service mechanical and mobile equipment, power systems. You’ll also learn to use computer-controlled machine tools.

After you qualify, you’ll be able to work as a mechanical tradesperson, fitter and turner, fitter and machinist, plant mechanic, or first-class machinist.

Find a course and your nearest training provider.

11. Certificate III in Cabinet Making

Australians love to renovate ­– especially their kitchens and bathrooms – and skilled cabinetmakers are always in demand.

Over the 4 years of this apprenticeship, you’ll gain skills in furniture making as well as manufacturing and installing fitted furniture, most typically in kitchens, bathrooms and similar settings.

Capitalise on your fine motor skills and attention to detail as you learn to understand and apply drawings and specifications and select materials. You’ll use hand and power tools to cut and shape wood and learn the techniques and accessories needed to build and construct furniture and fittings for homes, caravans and boats.

Find a course and your nearest training provider.

12. Certificate III in Landscape Construction

A love of plants will come in handy as you master the principles of ‘greenscaping’, learning about plants, soils and drainage. You’ll create structures and features with hardscaping materials like timber, brick and stone, and learn about project management and workplace safety.

Job outcomes include landscaper, landscape gardener, parks and garden tradesperson and greenkeeper. You can continue on to Diploma or Advanced Diploma level, qualifying to become a landscape designer or manager.

There are no entry requirements for this qualification in NSW. You can undertake the apprenticeship full-time (around four years) or part-time (around six years).

Find a course and your nearest training provider.

13. Certificate III in Carpentry and Joinery

This apprenticeship delivers the fundamental skills and training to become a qualified carpenter and joiner.

Carpentry relates to the creation, repair and installation of timber and other materials in a construction setting, such as cabinetry, shelves and installing staircases. Joinery is focused on high-precision tasks around the ‘joints’ within a building – window frames, trusses, doorways, the construction of a staircase, and furniture. Concrete formwork can also be part of the job.

Expect to earn around $1120 each week (before tax).

Find a course and your nearest training provider.

14. Certificate III in Bricklaying/Blocklaying

If you enjoy practical hands-on work, have good hand-eye coordination and are physically fit and active, this could be the right apprenticeship for you.

Qualified ‘brickies’ not only lay bricks and mortar, they need a technical aptitude to read and understand plans and projects, a determined attitude and self-sufficiency when required to work solo. You could even run your own business one day.

In return you’ll get a great lifestyle and the satisfaction of bringing buildings to life with your bare hands – literally!

Find a course and your nearest training provider.

15. Certificate III in Painting and Decorating

Anyone who’s painted a room in their house understands that painting, like other trades, is a craft that requires proper training. And there’s more to it than just wielding a brush: painters need communication and problem-solving skills, creativity, accuracy and the ability to manage their time.

The work is inside and out, with preparation of surfaces equally important.

For those with a creative bent, work in this field can include specialist applications and techniques such as wallpapering, sign writing, gilding and decorative paint effects.

Find a course and your nearest training provider.

16. Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology

Job outcomes from this apprenticeship include diesel fitter and mobile plant technician: a mechanic who services and repairs heavy vehicles in the mining, construction and agricultural sectors.

During this four-year qualification, you’ll learn core skills such as testing, diagnosing and repairing basic electrical circuits, charging and starting systems, engines and associated engine components. There are also a range of electives, which apprentices can choose in collaboration with their employer.

Alongside technical capabilities, you’ll learn communication, problem-solving, teamwork, initiative and organisational skills.

Find a course and your nearest training provider.

17. Certificate III in Roof Plumbing

If you’re comfortable with heights and working outdoors an apprenticeship in Roof Plumbing may be for you – much of the job occurs on scaffolding and elevated work platforms.

This course takes 3 years on average. Alongside core plumbing competencies, you’ll learn how to prepare and follow specifications for installation of roof plumbing systems. You’ll also learn about relevant materials such as sheeting, insulation and flashings (metal used to stop water getting in where the roof meets another surface).

Find a course and your nearest training provider.

18. Certificate III in Telecommunications Technology

If you’re interested in the telecommunications industry and technologies such as radio, optical, data and internet protocol (IP) networks, this apprenticeship is a good choice.

You’ll learn skills to select, install and configure equipment in technologies that integrate radio, optical and IP-based applications. You’ll also learn the processes around installation, including testing and fault finding.

Once qualified, you can apply for technician roles such as cabling network technician, wireless networks technician and digital reception technician.

Find a course and your nearest training provider.

19. Certificate III in Electronics and Communications

This qualification provides skills to select, install, set up, test, fault find, repair and maintain electronic equipment and devices at component/sub-assembly level with options in communications, audio, video and TV, personal computer and networks, security and custom installations.

Possible jobs include electrician (cabling), electronics and communications tradesperson or telecommunications technician (data and voice).

Find a course and your nearest training provider.

20. Certificate III in Automotive Body Repair Technology

Learn to perform a broad range of tasks repairing and maintaining vehicle bodies in the automotive service and repair sector.

After training, you'll be qualified for work as an automotive painting technician, heavy vehicle body and chassis technician, vehicle body repair technician, vehicle body restoration technician, vehicle glazing technician or vehicle trimmer.

Find a course and your nearest training provider.

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