Apprenticeships & Traineeships

We offer apprenticeships, traineeship, and pre-apprenticeship courses across a range of trade and industry areas. If you’re interested in becoming an apprentice or trainee, we can give you the practical skills and knowledge you need for your career.

A SWTAFE apprenticeship or traineeship is a partnership between you, your employer and SWTAFE.

Your employer will teach you skills on-the-job while SWTAFE provides formal training. This allows you to learn from qualified academic staff, as well as someone who is an expert in the industry in which you’re interested.

Apprenticeships and traineeships are open to anyone, whether they are a school leaver, looking to re-enter the workforce and wanting a career change.

If you’re still at school you can undertake a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship while completing VCE Vocational Major.


Apprenticeships combine formal training and employment so you can earn while you learn.

An apprenticeship teaches you relevant industry skills while you work towards an accredited qualification in your chosen trade. They combine a training contract with employment. They go for about three to four years.

A SWTAFE trainer will undertake workplace training and assessment during your apprenticeship. Depending on your course, you may be required to attend face-to-face classes at a
SWTAFE campus.

We offer apprenticeships in areas including: 

Trade papers

​​​​​​​​​​​​Trade papers are a certificate awarded when you complete an apprenticeship.

They’re used to let employers and customers know:

  • you’ve completed all parts of the apprenticeship
  • you can apply those skills on the job.

Trade papers are being reintroduced in Victoria from 2019. You can apply to get trade papers for free, as long as you haven’t previously been issued trade papers for the completion of that apprenticeship.

Apply for a trade paper​ on the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority website​.


A traineeship combines paid practical work and formal training.

Traineeships are generally non-trade related. A traineeship can be either full-time or part-time and can take between one and two years to complete.

You will learn on the job during your traineeship. Depending on your course, you may be required to undertake additional study online, attend classes/workshops at a SWTAFE campus or via virtual classroom.

We offer traineeships in areas including: 


Pre-apprenticeships are Certificate II level courses. They can introduce you to a trade before you start an apprenticeship or long-term study. Pre-apprenticeships can also be a great way
to learn new skills for your personal use. You don’t need work experience or employment to start a pre-apprenticeship. You’ll gain relevant trade skills that may help you gain an apprenticeship.

Pre-apprenticeship courses can take from three to six months to complete and may reduce your time as an apprentice if you continue in the same field.

SWTAFE offers pre-apprenticeships in:

School-based apprenticeships or traineeships

You can start an apprenticeship or traineeship while you’re still at school. This is called a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship. The best part is you’re paid for your time at
work, including the time spent in training.

When you complete all course requirements, you gain an accredited qualification. Like apprentices and trainees, you must have your training contract and be paid for your work by an employer. You must be over 15 years of age and enrolled in VCE. Your secondary school must endorse the training plan to ensure the training will contribute to your secondary school studies.

A school-based apprenticeship or traineeship can lead to a full-time apprenticeship after you complete secondary school studies.

SWTAFE offers school-based apprenticeships and traineeships in:

  • Agriculture
  • Automotive
  • Bakery
  • Barbering
  • Beauty Services
  • Business
  • Cabinet Making
  • Carpentry
  • Community Services
  • Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Electrotechnology
  • Engineering
  • Hairdressing
  • Horticulture
  • Make-up
  • Meat Processing
  • Plumbing

How to start your apprenticeship or traineeship

First find an employer to complete your apprenticeship or traineeship with. Your employer will arrange a training contract with an Apprentice Connect Australia Provider (ACAP) provider. They’ll register you as an apprentice/trainee through the Victorian Registration and Qualification Authority.

For more information, visit:

For assistance finding a job, you can contact the team at the South West Skills and Jobs Centre.

Why choose SWTAFE for your apprenticeship or traineeship

  • 1726 number apprentices and trainees in 2022.
  • Over 35 years’ experience in apprenticeship and traineeship course delivery.
  • Specialised student support services.
  • Experienced industry teachers.
  • State-of-the-art facilities and equipment.
  • Strong industry partnerships.
  • Relevant training based on industry needs.
  • Clear study pathways.
  • Government funding for eligible students.
  • Award-winning apprentices.
  • Dedicated to providing individual support.
  • Inclusive learning environment.
  • Supportive teachers.
  • Hands-on, real world, holistic training.
  • Opportunities to participate in industry awards (WorldSkills, industry association awards, SWTAFE Awards, Victorian Training Awards).
Learn more about studying with us