Are you an apprentice in the ACT or thinking about taking up an apprenticeship? The Young Workers Centre has lots of information and advice for you. Below you will find some frequently asked Q & A. Check out our fact sheets for more detail.
Apprenticeships are a great way to gain a qualification while working, getting real on-the-job experience. In the ACT, apprenticeships can be full-time, part-time or schools based (called an Australian Schools Based Apprenticeship).
When you complete an Australian Apprenticeship, you gain a nationally recognised qualification as well as having lots of practical experience.
Australian Apprenticeships are available in over 500 occupations in an increasing range of industries from automotive and hairdressing to horticulture and information technology. Some Australian Apprenticeships can be started and even completed while still at school, and some can form part of a student’s Year 12 Certificate.
For more information about Australian School-based Apprenticeships, check out the Australian Apprenticeships website and talk to your school about the rules and how they can help and support you.
As an apprentice, your rights at work are mostly the same an any other employee. You have the right to at least the minimum wage, a safe and healthy workplace and minimum conditions. Apprentice wages are different to those of other workers. There are also additional requirements around your employment as an apprentice. It’s important to make sure you know your rights, how much you should be paid and where to get help.
Q: I’m interested in an apprenticeship, where can I find out more information?
More information about Australian Apprenticeships in the ACT can be found at the Skills Canberra website. If you’re having trouble navigating the system, get in touch with us and we’ll help you work out what’s what and who to talk to.
Q: How much should I be paid as an apprentice and where can I find my pay rates?
Apprentice wages are a percentage of a tradesperson’s wage. The percentage depends on how long the apprenticeship is and how much training you have completed. Your wages should increase when you’ve been doing your apprenticeship for a certain amount of time (e.g. 12 months) or when you’ve completed a set amount of the training. Your wages and conditions are contained in the Agreement which covers your workplace or the Award. If you’re not sure what you’re covered by, ask us or check out the pay calculator here.
Q: Do I get paid for training time?
Most awards (the legal document that details your pay and conditions) include that apprentices must be paid for time spent at training (including time spent at a trade school) and be reimbursed for training costs.
Q: Can I join a union?
Yes, you can join your union. To find out more about joining your union, check out this page.
Q: Does my boss have to provide the tools I need?
Your employer should provide all the tools, equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (safety gear) you need to work. Arrangements might be different from employer to employer so get in touch with us and we’ll help you work out what you’re entitled to.
Q: I’m a woman and I want to qualify in a male dominated trade. Can I connect with other women who work in male dominated trades?
Yes! The Young Workers Centre at UnionsACT provides a free mentor network service where we try to match women who are thinking about or starting out in trades with women who have experience. Being able to talk to someone about what you can expect and the great opportunities for women in male dominated trades (as well as the challenges) can help you to succeed in your chosen trade.
The Young Workers Centre Advice Service provides a free, confidential workplace rights information and advice service to all young workers, including apprentices, in the ACT under the age of 25. You can email us at email@example.com, call us on 02 6285 8104 or ask us a question through our website chat.