VET Knowledge Bank

Policy initiatives > Program delivery > Australian Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships and traineeships are formal training arrangements that combine training and employment and lead to nationally recognised qualifications. This section gives a brief introduction to the subsidised training and other initiatives of the Commonwealth and the states and territories that relate to apprenticeships and traineeships.

Under the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform, made between the Commonwealth and the States, one of the priorities for the new National Skills Agreement to replace the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (NASWD) is 'Promoting apprenticeships and other employment-based training, including pre-apprenticeships, and undertaking reforms to boost geographic mobility and labour supply'.


Australian Apprenticeships includes apprenticeships, traineeships, pre-apprenticeships, and higher apprenticeships in more than 500 occupations. Australian Apprenticeships are available to anyone of working age with eligibility to work in Australia, regardless of their level of education. Following the Administrative Arrangements Order made on 23 June 2022, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations has responsibility for apprenticeships and traineeships for the federal government from 1 July 2022. The Australian Government Australian Apprenticeships website provides information for employers, apprentices, and trainees.

The Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) is the first point of contact for all queries about apprenticeships. The providers give personalised advice and support services from pre-commencement to completion. The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations contracts the Apprenticeship Network Providers (ANPs) while a Memorandum of Agreement between the Australian and State Governments formalises the cooperative monitoring of services of AASN Providers.

The Apprenticeships Data Management System (ADMS) is an online system used by employers, network providers and state training authorities for managing all aspects of Australian Apprenticeships. The ADMS was introduced by the federal government on 9 April 2022, and it is managed by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. The system will progressively streamline and automate some of the functions undertaken by the ANPs on behalf of employers. The ADMS replaces the Training and Youth Internet Management System (TYIMS), which was created in 2001 to track Australian apprentice and trainee and employer relations, and determine eligibility for and make payments.


The Australian Apprenticeships Incentive System (AAIS) commenced on 1 July 2022, replacing the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program. The initiative provides support for eligible employers of Australian Apprentices and Australian Apprentices themselves to increase commencements and completions in priority occupations and support employers around Australia to fill skill shortages.

From 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2024, the first phase of the AAIS will provide wage subsidies for eligible employers in priority occupations. Hiring incentives will be available for employers of apprentices undertaking a qualification in an occupation that does not qualify for the Australian Apprenticeships Priority List. Australian Apprentices training in priority occupations can also receive assistance, paid every six months for their first two years. From 1 July 2024, following a checkpoint to assess progress, support will only be available for priority occupations, through a mix of employer and apprentice payments.

The Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program (AAIP) provided a number of incentives to assist employers who took on an Australian Apprentice, particularly where the Australian Apprenticeship was in a trade experiencing a skills shortage. Employers and apprentices claiming incentives for an apprenticeship or traineeship that commenced before 1 July 2022 will continue to be supported under the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program.

Several payments from the AAIP will continue as part of the AAIS, including the Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFHA) that is available to eligible Australian Apprentices who have to move away from their parents’ or guardians’ home to take up or retain an Australian Apprenticeship, and support for Australian Apprentices with disability which includes the Disabled Australian Apprentice Wage Support (DAAWS) and the off-the-job Tutorial, Mentor and Interpreter Assistance.

Eligible apprentices can apply for Trade Support Loans to meet everyday costs while they undertake their training. The income contingent loans are paid monthly in arrears. Apprentices will not have to repay the loans until they are earning an income above the minimum repayment threshold, and apprentices who successfully complete their apprenticeship will receive a 20 per cent discount on their loan amount. The loan amount is indexed according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Other Commonwealth Government funding

The National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development (NASWD) was established through the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations in 2012, and it identifies the long-term objectives of the Commonwealth Government and the state and territory governments in the areas of skills and workforce development. The NASWD is associated with the Skills and Workforce Development National Specific Purpose Payments (SPP), where the Commonwealth Government provides funding to state and territory governments to support them in the delivery of VET services and the running of their training systems.

Progress towards the NASWD targets is reported through the NASWD performance reporting dashboard, maintained by the Productivity Commission. On 15 November 2019, the Treasurer and the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business requested the Productivity Commission to review the NASWD. Following an interim report released in June 2020, the Productivity Commission released its final report on the review of the NASWD on 21 January 2021.

As part of their commitment to the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform, the Commonwealth Government and the states are working towards agreeing a new National Skills Agreement to replace the NASWD. The Agreement was initially to be finalised by August 2021, which was extended to the first half of 2022. Negotiations on the new National Skills Agreement are ongoing, with the Skills Ministers recommitting to the negotiation process following the federal election held in May 2022.

The Skilling Australians Fund was established as an ongoing arrangement by the Commonwealth Government in 2017 to ensure the businesses that benefit from employing migrants are also skilling Australians. Employers that sponsor migrants under the temporary skill shortage visa and certain permanent skills visas are required to pay a levy to generate revenue for the fund. From 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2022, the Fund has been managed through the National Partnership on the Skilling Australians Fund.

New South Wales

Apprenticeships and traineeships in New South Wales (NSW) are administered under the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act 2001, which was reviewed and amended in 2017. This Act provides the framework which supports and protects employers and their apprentices and trainees. Qualifications from nationally agreed training packages are identified by industry as being suitable to be delivered as an apprenticeship or traineeship and are established in New South Wales using a Vocational Training Order (VTO). The VTO specifies the qualification, length of apprenticeship or traineeship and probationary period. Apprenticeships and traineeships are published on the Training Services NSW website in the Commissioner's Information Bulletins (CIB).

The National Partnership on the Skilling Australians Fund (NPSAF) schedule for NSW provides total funding of $676.674 million over the four years for initiatives including the expansion of:

Three NSW Government initiatives provide fee-free training if the apprenticeship or traineeship is funded under Smart and Skilled:

The Apprenticeship and Traineeship Policy page contains information to assist the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) to operate in the NSW Apprenticeship and Traineeship system. It includes access to NSW regulatory and policy information and guidelines, forms and statistical information.


In Victoria, the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 contains the legislative requirements for apprenticeships and traineeships. The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) regulates apprenticeships and traineeships in Victoria, and provides information for apprentices, trainees, employers and about group training organisations (GTOs).

Victorian apprentices and trainees and their employers may qualify for incentives made available by the Commonwealth government where the training meets the eligibility criteria. Victorian Government programs and initiatives for apprentices and trainees include:

  • Apprenticeships Victoria (AV) is a 2020-21 budget commitment (p.38). It was established to connect apprentices with Big Build projects and support 1,500 opportunities each year to work on some of the state’s biggest projects. AV is a new division within the Department of Education and Training, and is a partnership between the Victorian Government, major project employers and the TAFE and training system.
  • The Free TAFE for priority courses initiative began on 1 January 2019. Under this initiative, 18 apprenticeship pathway courses (pre-apprenticeships) at certificate II level are available in 12 industry sectors.
  • Skills First is a set of reforms for the training and TAFE sector. Part of Skills First for Industry included a new funded course list that was better aligned to industry needs. The list can be filtered to display apprenticeship or traineeship courses that are eligible for subsidised training.
  • Trade apprentices may be eligible to receive a discount on vehicle registration.
  • The 'Quality apprenticeships to drive jobs opportunities in the modern economy' program also included the reintroduction of trade papers.

Victoria is not a signatory to the Skilling Australians Fund.


Apprenticeships and traineeships in Queensland are administered under the Further Education and Training Act 2014. The Queensland Government passed legislation on 22 April 2016 to establish a permanent training ombudsman as part of its plan to improve quality training and reinvigorate the VET sector. The Office of the Queensland Training Ombudsman offers a free, confidential and independent service to review and resolve enquiries and complaints from anyone in the VET system including students, RTOs, apprentices, trainees, employers and other stakeholders.

Funded training administered through the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training includes:

  • Pre-approved registered training organisations (known as Skills Assure suppliers) are funded to provide training and assessment for most apprenticeships and some traineeships under the User Choice program.
  • People under the age of 25 who commence one of the 139 priority apprenticeship and traineeship qualifications from 1 January 2021 to 30 September 2022 may qualify for the full cost of training to be subsidised under the Free apprenticeships initiative.
  • The Free TAFE for under 25s initiative provides free training for eligible Queenslanders under the age of 25 years in 26 priority qualifications, with delivery only available at TAFE Queensland and Central Queensland University.
  • Under Skilling Queenslanders for Work, Queenslanders may be able to commence an apprenticeship or traineeship at a reduced, or no, cost.
  • Information on apprenticeships and traineeships approved for delivery in Queensland, including details on supporting courses and qualifications, restricted callings and Skills Assure suppliers can be accessed using the Queensland Training Information Service (QTIS).

Queensland is not a signatory to the Skilling Australians Fund.

South Australia

The traineeship and apprenticeship system in South Australia (SA) was administered under the Training and Skills Development Act 2008. The Training and Skills Development (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2020 was introduced to amend the Act and the updated South Australian Skills Act 2008 (the SAS Act) came into operation on 1 July 2021. These updates came about from consultation on an amendment Bill in 2020. Key changes include the establishment of the South Australian Skills Commission (SASC) and Commissioner. Until the Act came into effect, the Skills Commissioner, appointed in March 2021, was chair of the Training and Skills Commission (TaSC). The functions of the South Australian Training Advocate were also transferred to the SASC. The Traineeship and Apprenticeship Pathways (TAP) Schedule provides a consolidated list of occupations that have been declared under the Training and Skills Development Act 2008 as trades (apprenticeships) or declared vocations (traineeships) in SA.

Skilling South Australia, launched in September 2018, focuses on increasing apprenticeships and traineeships in SA and creating more jobs in the state. Skilling South Australia is the primary project agreed under the Skilling Australians Fund which states the initiative is a four year project to reform the vocational education and training (VET) market to meet future demands, shift perceptions of VET, and pilot and embed new models of training delivery that lead to sustainable skilled careers, meet industry need and support the State's economy. The estimated total budget stated in the SA schedule is $309.82 million. Skilling South Australia projects partner with businesses and training providers to co-design and build tailored approaches to meet specific workforce needs.

Additional support for employers of apprentices and trainees introduced by the SA government include:

Western Australia

The Western Australia (WA) Department of Training and Workforce Development Apprenticeship Office registers and administers training contracts and regulates the apprenticeship system in Western Australia, in accordance with Part 7 of the Vocational Education and Training Act 1996, the associated Regulations, and the WA Apprenticeship and traineeship policy.

The project agreed in the National Partnership on the Skilling Australians Fund (NPSAF) schedule for WA is 'Jobs and Skills WA' with a total budget of $241.851 million. The project comprises expanding the Jobs and Skills WA program to include a new employer incentive scheme, an enterprise training program initially targeting the social assistance and allied health sector, a work placement program, expanding the Pre-apprenticeship Program, and initiatives to respond and recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19. Incentives and wage subsidies offered by the WA government include:

  • Jobs and Skills WA Employer Incentive
  • Apprenticeship and Traineeship Reengagement Incentive
  • Jobs and Skills WA Defence Industry Incentive
  • Construction Training Fund (CTF)
  • Western Australian Group Training Program (WAGTP)
  • Travel and Accommodation Allowance (TAA).

Funded training is included on the apprenticeship and eligible traineeship lists.


The training and workforce development system in Tasmania is established under the Training and Workforce Development Act 2013 and incorporates the vocational education and training (VET) system, including the apprenticeship and traineeship system.

Tasmania's project agreed in their National Partnership on the Skilling Australians Fund (NPSAF) schedule, 'Building Tasmania’s Skills', comprises a number of initiatives focussed on increasing the number of apprentices, trainees and employment-related training, including:

The following qualifications have been approved as apprenticeships or traineeships which may be undertaken under a training contract in Tasmania. This table, provided by the Department of State Growth, also includes whether the training is funded under User Choice.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory (NT) User Choice Funding Program allows employers, together with the apprentices and trainees they employ, to choose which registered training organisation (RTO) will provide them with the training and assessment services and to negotiate key aspects of the training such as where, how and when it will be provided. Qualifications available for apprenticeship and traineeship delivery in the NT are approved under the Training and Skills Development Act 2016 and listed on the NT apprenticeships and traineeships database. Entries in the database include a description and how long it will take to complete; whether it can be completed part-time or while at school; what NT providers, if any, are delivering the training; and if the RTO receives government funding.

NT is a signatory to the National Partnership on the Skilling Australians Fund (NPSAF). Projects agreed in the schedule include:

  • The Territory Workforce Program (TWP) that provides grants to NT businesses, industry associations and other organisations for projects that help increase participation and completion of apprenticeships and traineeships, including pre-apprenticeships, higher apprenticeships, and apprentice-like training.
  • Training providers, industry associations and community groups can apply for funding for pre-employment training programs, with priority given to programs that lead to employment in occupations with skills shortages and difficult to fill occupations.

Australian Capital Territory

The Training and Tertiary Education Act 2003 regulates apprenticeships and traineeships in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Objects of the Act are also to support quality assurance and best management practices for vocational education and training; and encourage awareness in the community of the need for, and to promote the development of, vocational education and training that is relevant to industry.

The Future Skills for Future Jobs (FSFJ) Grants Program is an ACT Government initiative delivered with funding support from the ACT and Australian Governments as part of the ACT's commitments to the National Partnership on the Skilling Australians Fund (NPSAF). The FSFJ Grants Program provides funding for innovative projects that promote market diversity and aim to increase the number of Australian Apprenticeship commencements in the ACT. Expressions of interest (EOI) for a FSFJ Grant may be submitted by businesses and organisations. Shortlisted applicants are invited to participate in a co-development process with Skills Canberra.

The ACT Vocational Education and Training Administration Records System (AVETARS) public interface provides access to the ACT Qualifications Register, which lists all current and historical qualifications available for training in the ACT, their nominal duration, the registered training organisations (RTOs) that deliver them, and the subsidies offered to those RTOs by the ACT Government for their delivery; a list of RTOs in the ACT, including their contact details and the qualifications they deliver; and an online form for RTOs to apply for a Training Initiative Funding Agreement. Additional functionality is available via user accounts.

Providing feedback

This page is a product in the VET Knowledge Bank, a living resource that NCVER continues to develop and update on an ongoing basis.

We value your feedback and welcome comments and suggestions.