Who can become an apprentice or trainee

There are rules about who can become an apprentice or trainee in the NT.

Minimum age

The minimum age for apprentices and trainees, including school based apprentices and trainees is 15 years unless otherwise stated in an industrial award or agreement. Where the apprentice or trainee is under the age of 18 years, the parent or guardian is required to approve the contract of training.

Information regarding age limits or minimum standards of education applying to particular apprenticeships or traineeships is available by:

  • referring to the appropriate modern award or workplace agreement applying to the trade or occupation
  • contacting the appropriate Training Advisory Council, or
  • contacting Australian Apprenticeships Support Network provider industrial relations information service, or
  • relevant employer or union organisations.

From January 2010 any student intending to leave school must have completed year 10 as a minimum and be engaged in either full-time education, training or employment.

Where a student completes year 10 and is under the age of 17 years, he / she may be able to participate in a full time apprenticeship or traineeship as the eligible option of approved education or training as stated in the Education Act. The ultimate responsibility for compliance with minimum age limits that exist in legislation rests with the parents / guardians and employers

Residency status

The following people are eligible to enter into a contract of training in the NT and therefore participate in apprenticeships or traineeships, including those which may be funded under the user choice program:

  • Australian citizens
  • New Zealand citizens who have resided in Australia for the last six months
  • persons with permanent residency visas
  • persons with temporary protection visas.

Other visa holders may engage in apprenticeships and traineeships provided their work and training rights allow this based on information and advice provided by the Australian Government - Department of Home Affairs.

The department accepts no liability for false or misleading information provided by an employer or employee in relation to residency status that results in a person being illegally employed. Employers and / or RTOs must confirm the employability status of individual visa holders with the Department of Home Affairs.

If the department determines, after a contract of training has been registered, that the apprentice or trainee did not meet the eligibility criteria to undertake the apprenticeship / traineeship at the time of approval, the contract of training will be cancelled. The employer will be solely responsible for any financial consequences that ensue.

Existing workers

People already employed can still undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship. In some cases, the apprenticeship or traineeship may be eligible for NT Government funding. Refer to the user choice funding policy to ascertain the conditions that funding for existing workers is available.

Part-time apprenticeships and traineeships

Part-time apprenticeships or traineeships are available, provided the relevant industrial award or agreement has provision for this. Under a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship, subject to any industrial arrangement, an employee is required to work a minimum of 15 hours per week, averaged over each four-week period for the duration of the apprenticeship / traineeship.

Casual or daily hire employees are not eligible to undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Averaging of hours - minimum hours of employment and training

The averaging of hours of employment and training should be permitted for all contracts of training. Full-time and part-time hours of employment and training may be averaged over four weeks.

School based hours of employment and training may be averaged over three months.

Minimum hours of paid employment and training per week for part-time contracts of training are at least 15 hours per week and for school based contracts of training are at least seven and a half hours per week

Completion of on the job only

Persons who have completed and have been issued a qualification through an institution based pathway, may request recognition by applying to Australian Apprenticeships NT to undertake an on the job only apprenticeship / traineeship. Australian Apprenticeships Support Network provider will notify the department who will assess each application on an individual basis.

Cross border mobility

Temporary transfer

Where an apprentice / trainee is temporarily mobile across borders, but remains with the same employer, the contract of training will continue and a cancellation / recommencement will not be required. The employer will be required to put in place arrangements for the training and assessment of the apprentice / trainee.

Permanent transfer

Where an apprentice / trainee remains with the same employer and is transferred permanently to the NT, the employer is required to notify the state authority in the registering jurisdiction in writing of the intention to relocate the apprentice / trainee permanently.

The state training authority (STA) in the original jurisdiction will facilitate the transfer by processing and forwarding the variation to the department for processing by Australian Apprenticeships Support Network provider who will recommence the apprentice / trainee according to the relevant details. New funding arrangements will need to be established.

If the employer and apprentice / trainee need to cancel the contract of training in the original jurisdiction and re-establish it in the NT, the department will endeavour to make this transfer as seamless as possible.

Credit for previous experience or service

Apprentices and trainees may apply to their RTO for credit for previous experience related to the apprenticeship or traineeship.

A claim for credit usually occurs when a person commences or recommences in an apprenticeship or traineeship, or has substantial work experience in an industry or related industry sector.

Any credit that is applied can reduce the balance of the nominal term and subsequently affect the nominal completion date of the apprenticeship or traineeship.

Last updated: 14 September 2020

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