What is the Difference Between Apprenticeships and Traineeships?
Are you thinking of the next step to take in your education and career after completing high school? If you are struggling to decide between an apprenticeship and traineeship to obtain further education and skills, we’ve got a breakdown to assist you with making your decision.
About apprenticeships and traineeships
Apprenticeships and traineeships are learning pathways that allow students to gain a qualification while obtaining practical work experience. They are some of the most popular study options in Australia, particularly for those wishing to pursue a trade occupation, as they go beyond theory.
Apprenticeships must be taken through one of Australia’s 500 Registered Training organisations (RTOs), with options ranging from Certificate II to Advanced Diplomas depending on the level of education desired.
Apprenticeships are valued for the practical and theoretical knowledge they equip students with, allowing them to be competitive in the eyes of trade and non-trade employers alike. This is especially the case for STEM fields, in which hands-on experience and technical competencies are highly valued.
Differences between apprenticeships and traineeships
Apprenticeships and traineeships both allow students to learn on the job, although the two study types vary greatly when it comes to employment conditions and contracts. Apprenticeships generally take 3.5-4 years to complete, while traineeships can be as short as a few months.
The greatest difference can be seen in the types of industries these programs are connected to. Apprenticeships are geared towards generating employment outcomes for students and equipping them with skills for in-demand industries such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Traineeships, on the other hand, meet short-term demands and are focused on occupational outcomes, making them ideally suited for individuals wishing to pursue a career in aged care and hospitality.
One major difference between the two is that if an employer was to sell their business, an apprentice would still be able to complete their apprenticeship through the new employer. In the case of a traineeship, the individual would likely lose their position and program in the event of a change in ownership.
Benefits of apprenticeships
The primary benefit of undertaking an apprenticeship is that it allows you to obtain a nationally recognised qualification while also earning money. Most other further education pathways force individuals to prioritise either their studies or work, which has been an eternal challenge for students – by focusing more on their studies, they will often struggle to support themselves, but by focusing more on work, they may fall behind in their studies.
By undertaking an apprenticeship, individuals will of course gain practical experience. This is absolutely invaluable in finding work in trades or STEM occupations, in which real-world skills are valued just as much as theoretical knowledge. There is no doubt that STEM is the way of the future, and by partaking in a STEM program, apprentices can ensure their ongoing competitiveness in a rapidly-evolving industry landscape.
The government provides a number of support services and funding options to apprentices, lessening the burden on young people and allowing them to focus on what matters. Unfortunately, not as much funding is available to other learning pathways, which makes apprenticeships particularly attractive for many young Australians.
Furthermore, undertaking on-site training has been shown to result in better outcomes for apprentices, with higher-paying jobs being well within reach thanks to their advanced skill set. The earning potential for young people who undertake a STEM apprenticeship is particularly optimistic in light of Industry 4.0, setting them up for long-term employment opportunities and success.
Access to government funding
The Australian Government is increasing its support for apprenticeships, allowing more students to undertake apprenticeships thanks to a number of different payment options. Although apprenticeships pay well, some apprentices may find that they require a government loan or allowance to assist them with living costs, transport and the cost of buying supplies and equipment. Some of these payment options include:
- Living Away From Home Allowance
If you have to move away from your parent or guardian for the first time in order to undertake a Certificate II or higher level qualification, you may be eligible for the Living Away from Home Allowance. This also applies to individuals experiencing homelessness.
Up to 12 months of assistance may be available on a weekly basis to assist with living costs and transport.
- Apprenticeship Trade Support Loans
Up to $20,000 in loans may be available to eligible apprentices to assist with the costs of undertaking their program. The following totals may be available:
Year One: Up to $8000
Year Two: Up to $6000
Year Three: Up to $4000
Year Four: Up to $2000
- Youth Allowance, Austudy and ABSTUDY
Fortnightly payments from Centrelink may be available, including:
Youth Allowance for Australian Apprentices aged 16-24
Austudy for Australian Apprentices aged 25 and over
ABSTUDY for Australian Apprentices of any age and who are Indigenous Australians
With all this assistance provided, apprentices are able to avoid the student debt that plagues many other educational and vocational pathways.
When you consider the amount of funding available and the fact that apprentices earn a steady income, it becomes clear why apprenticeships are some of the most rewarding programs available to young Australians today.
Why undertake a STEM apprenticeship
STEM knowledge and skills are necessary for the workplace of the future. This makes those with a STEM qualification highly employable, competitive and even indispensable despite the current environment of increased automation affecting other industries.
Those wishing to gain qualifications and hands-on experience in a field of their passion should consider our Higher Apprenticeships or contact us directly to speak to an expert.
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