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Young Workers Centre YWC
News from young workers

What's an apprenticeship/traineeship?

What are they?

Traineeships and apprenticeships are training programs run for workers to gain trade or certificate qualifications while they working. Traineeships and apprenticeships can be run both onsite and offsite, usually in collaboration with certified training organisations. 

Trainees and apprentices receive the same entitlements as other workers, such as annual leave, carer’s leave and sick leave. However, trainees and apprentices’ wages are set by the workplace award they are covered by. The minimum wages under the awards are much less than a fully qualified worker, and can depend on the level of the certificate, the year of the apprenticeship or the number of years a worker is out of school.

How can they screw young workers out of their money?

Traineeships and apprenticeships are not always choices made by the worker, and are sometimes compulsory for certain workplaces or jobs. This can mean that some workers can expect to receive as little as $7.50 an hour as a first-year trainee.

Due to the low cost of trainees and the control employers have over training programs, some employers can exploit young workers by failing to progress or graduate trainees or apprentices from the programs. Last year, South Australian chain On the Run was exposed for keeping young workers on training wages while failing to provide any training or providing training that was unrelated to the young workers’ job.

More recently, food chain Grill’d has been shamed for refusing to allow trainees to progress and graduate from their training programs. This exploitation allows employers to profit by stealing young workers’ wages and by keeping young workers unskilled.


If you feel that your traineeship or apprenticeship isn’t right, contact the Young Workers Centre on 1800 714 754