“Get in and have a go!” We’ve all heard the famous saying, but what if you could get in, have a go and get paid? Welcome to the beautiful world of “earn as you learn”, a mode of learning that allows you to start working in your chosen industry while studying. As one of the most popular learning methods offered at TAFE’s around the nation, pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships provide hands-on learning opportunities for those who prefer learning as they go.

Take a look at the differences and benefits of TAFE Gippsland’s various courses and career pathways, available to those students who aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty in the trade of their choice. At TAFE Gippsland, we’ll help you every step of the way, with this article covering everything you need from study to employment and understanding your worth in the workforce. Choose a mode of learning that suits you through our apprenticeship courses, that allow you access to hands-on learning opportunities in your chosen field.

Portrait Of Male Student Studying For Carpentry Apprenticeship At College

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship (sometimes known as a traineeship or vocational training) is an intensive practical training method. During an apprenticeship, the student undergoes work-based training combined with technical studies through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), like TAFE Gippsland, to achieve a nationally recognised Certificate II, III or IV learning outcome. TAFE Gippsland offers apprenticeships to students who can source employment for their chosen industry. However, before jumping into an apprenticeship, you might want to consider a pre-apprenticeship.

What is a Pre-Apprenticeship?

A pre-apprenticeship is an entry-level training mode offered to prepare you for a full-blown apprenticeship whilst attaining a Certificate II or III qualification. This mode of learning lets you get an idea of your chosen career whilst training in basic industry skills. Pre-apprenticeships also provide the opportunity for credit transferal, meaning that the time you spend doing your pre-apprenticeship can be considered when applying for an apprenticeship course.

Pre-apprenticeships are different to apprenticeships primarily due to a smaller total hours of work-based training and subsequent pay. This difference means that whilst you do practical hands-on exercises, most will be within an educational environment instead of a workplace. Generally, when applying for apprenticeship positions, you’re likely to be considered favourably if you’ve previously done a pre-apprenticeship, making pre-apprenticeships a vital inclusion on your resume. Additionally, this training method allows you to gain practical experience with a reputable employer, establishing industry connections early on and professional recognition.

Benefits of Apprenticeship

Pursuing an apprenticeship through TAFE Gippsland will vastly improve your chances of success within your industry by providing you with the experience and formal training to meet employer expectations. Still, the benefits don’t stop there with the many advantages to apprenticeship, including:

  • Establishing network connections through hands-on experience and training.
  • Developing a sense of independence and confidence with an understanding of your field.
  • Receiving financing support through various sources, including government benefits, assistance and trade support loans worth up to $20,000.
  • Claiming the same rights as other workers, including holidays and wages.
  • Accessing versatile opportunities across more than 500 occupations, allowing you the freedom to choose the right path for you.
  • Employing hands-on learning, a profoundly beneficial learning approach for kinesthetic learners or people who learn better through doing rather than seeing.

These are just a few of the benefits available to Australian apprentices, with various financial and personal incentives and support services offered through the TAFE Gippsland’s Skills and Jobs Centre.

Pre-Apprenticeship Courses

TAFE Gippsland offers many pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship opportunities with a list of our available pre-apprenticeships here, including studies in areas such as:

  • Certificate II in Plumbing (Pre-apprenticeship)
    • Get in and (hopefully don’t) get your hands dirty with this plumbing pre-apprenticeship covered by the Free TAFE program. This Certificate II will equip you with basic skills in plumbing such as sheet metal practices, simple plumbing systems and technical drawing production. After completing this course, students will be able to pursue a Certificate III in Plumbing (Apprenticeship) through TAFE Gippsland. Entry into this course requires a language, literacy and numeracy assessment as well as general physical fitness.
  • Certificate II in Building and Construction (Carpentry) (Pre-Apprenticeship)
    • Build a career for yourself in construction with the Free TAFE Certificate II in Building and Construction Pre-apprenticeship, specialising in carpentry. This Certificate II will provide you with basic carpentry skills, including the construction of wall frames, sub-floor and roof frames. After completing this course, students will be able to pursue a Certificate III in Carpentry (Apprenticeship) through TAFE Gippsland.
  • Certificate II in Horticulture
    • If you’ve got a green thumb, you might want to consider a pre-apprenticeship in Horticulture, with our Certificate II in Horticulture covered by the Free TAFE program. This Certificate will prepare you for a future in Horticulture with basic skills such as grassed area renovation, tree planting and pest prevention. After completing this course, a student will be able to pursue further study in a Certificate III or Certificate IV in Horticulture. If you’d like to take a deeper look into what a horticulturist does, take a look at our article here!

Most of the pre-apprenticeships offered by TAFE Gippsland lead into apprenticeship opportunities, with a Certificate II showing your employer that you have the basics down and are ready to earn and learn!

Apprenticeship Courses

Following a pre-apprenticeship, or forgoing one entirely, TAFE Gippsland offers many apprenticeship courses to students who are ready to jump into the workforce, including:

  • Certificate III in Plumbing (Apprenticeship)
    • After completing the pre-apprenticeship mentioned above, you might consider a Certificate III in Plumbing apprenticeship, expanding your skills over four years at the Bairnsdale Trade Centre or Yallourn locations. This course will broaden your knowledge in plumbing with training in welding, drainage and sanitation, amongst other skills. Admission into this course requires a signed training contract from a qualified employer. Upon completing this course, you will be eligible to sit a final exam qualifying you for registration as a plumber. You may also consider further study into the Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services.
  • Certificate III in Carpentry (Apprenticeship)
    • After completing a Certificate II in Building and Construction (Carpentry) (Pre-apprenticeship), you may consider undergoing this apprenticeship in Carpentry, taught over four months at our Bairnsdale Trade Centre, Sale and Yallourn locations. This course will further expand your skills on the path to becoming a registered tradesperson with learning outcomes in residential, commercial and industrial construction. After completing this course, students will be eligible for entry into the workforce or further study in the Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building). Entry into this course requires a signed training contract from a qualified employer.
  • Certificate III in Hairdressing (Apprenticeship)
    • If you’re looking to jump straight into an apprenticeship, you might consider the Certificate III in Hairdressing, a three-year course held at our Bairnsdale, Leongatha and Traralgon locations. This course will prepare you with skills in a range of hairdressing services whilst practising in a workplace environment. Upon completing this course, you will be ready to enter the workforce or pursue further education in many pathways external to TAFE Gippsland detailed on the course page. To qualify for this course, it is recommended that you complete a Certificate II in Salon Assistant.

Male Plumber Teaching Female Apprentice To Fix Leaking Sink In Home Bathroom

Do Apprentices Get Paid?

One of the most significant benefits of an apprenticeship is earning as you learn; just like you get the same rights as other workers, you make a wage with the same potential for pay rises as your coworkers. Your salary will be determined by several factors such as your time employed, industry experience, age, schooling and applicable industry award. In addition to your wage, you’ll be entitled to all the same allowances, benefits, leave, breaks and holidays as other employees.

If you’re curious about what you could earn as an apprentice, take a look at the Fair Work Ombudsman tool PACT, a pay calculator designed to inform you of your award and pay rates.

How to Find an Apprenticeship?

So how do you get started? One of the best ways to begin an apprenticeship is through a pre-apprenticeship. The courses offered at TAFE Gippsland provide you with the basic skills and initial network connections to move forward into a successful apprenticeship. However, suppose you can’t secure an apprenticeship through your pre-apprenticeship or simply want to skip straight to an apprenticeship from the start. In that case, you might consider seeking out openings through some of the following methods:

  • Australian Apprenticeship Centres 
    • With over 300 locations nationwide, Australian Apprenticeship Centres are Apprenticeship Network Providers that connect apprentices with employers interested in hiring them.
  • Job seeking
    • Whether it’s the old fashioned advertisements in the newspaper or an online ad, sometimes the best way to find a job is to simply do the groundwork.
  • Word-of-mouth
    • Make sure to tell those close to you that you’re looking for an apprenticeship; you never know where an opportunity could arise.
  • Victorian Government Traineeships
    • If you’re between the ages of 15 and 24, you may be eligible for a Youth Employment Scheme (YES) apprenticeship or traineeship.
  • Skills and Jobs Centre
    • Consider working with our team at the Skills and Jobs Centre to source an apprenticeship opportunity within your community.

There are many pathways into an apprenticeship and ultimately into the workforce, with TAFE Gippsland ready to support you along the way. Whether you want to jump in feet first with an apprenticeship or test the waters by dipping your toes as a pre-apprentice, TAFE Gippsland can provide you with the training and resources to get the most out of your qualification. Earn as you learn and unlock the many other benefits of hands-on learning at TAFE Gippsland today!