Focus on Apprenticeships and traineeships

Apprenticeships are a system of training that combines employment with on-the-job and formal training that leads to an occupation-specific qualification. The apprentice is contractually bound to an employer who is responsible for providing the training. Apprenticeships are a core element of vocational education and training (VET) in many countries, although the apprenticeship system may vary from country to country.


Australian Apprenticeships encompass both apprenticeships and traineeships and are available to anyone of working age - school leavers, re-entry workers and adult workers. An Australian Apprenticeship provides a nationally recognised qualification in more than 500 occupations. Visit the Australian Apprenticeship and the Department of Education and Training websites for more information on how the apprenticeship and traineeship system works in Australia.

The apprenticeship and traineeship landmark reports are key documents that have influenced the development of apprenticeships and traineeships in Australia. Included in this set are:

NCVER's focus on apprenticeships and traineeships

As detailed in the Research Prospectus, NCVER's current focus on apprenticeships research is to find out what works in broadening engagement and enhancing productivity for different groups of apprentices and employers. There will be research around innovative partnerships and new or successful approaches to employer engagement, constraints inherent in apprenticeship arrangements and an emphasis on adult apprentices. In the near future a quantitative research program into apprenticeships and participation rates will be a key feature leveraging off the expanded data available under Total VET Activity (TVA).

  • NCVER's Apprentices and trainees collection provides a summary of the training activity of all apprentices and trainees employed under a training contract.
  • Apprentice and trainee destinations survey collects information on employment outcomes, reasons for non-completion, satisfaction with the apprenticeship or traineeship, and further study destinations.
  • Current NCVER publications on Apprenticeships and Traineeships  can be accessed via the NCVER portal.
  • All NCVER authored/published items relating to apprenticeships and traineeships are available in VOCEDplus.
  • In 2011, NCVER prepared a set of four reports for the Apprenticeships for the 21st Century Expert Panel, established by the Australian Government to provide recommendations on strategies to sustain and grow a stronger Australian Apprenticeship system.

If you are looking for information on the history of aprenticeships and traineeships in Australia, check out the following NCVER resources:

To keep up to date with the latest NCVER research and data, subscribe to NCVER's newsletters and research data release notifications.

Organisations and resources


The global youth employment crisis has brought apprenticeship back to the policy agenda. It is recognized that countries with well-established apprenticeship systems tend to be better at managing school-to-work transitions for youth, and enjoy lower ratios of youth unemployment rate to adult unemployment rate (Source: ILO 2013, Apprenticeship systems: what do we know?).

Below are a selection of publications that provide information on the different apprenticeships systems around the world:

Organisations and resources

Other research, policy and statistics

To find information on apprenticeships OR traineeships in VOCEDplus, use the Browse by subject page and select either Apprenticeship or Traineeship. You can refine the results using the filters on the left of the page. See our user guide and the FAQs on the Help page for other ways of searching.

Here are some topic specific searches that we've done for you:

Published: November 2015