School Based Apprenticeships

School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SATs) allow high school students, generally in Years 10, 11 or 12, to work for an employer and train towards a recognised qualification, while completing their secondary schooling and studying for their Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) and/or Overall Position (OP) score.

SATs help young people go places, whether that’s a full-time job, a trade career, university, TAFE or other training.

How SATs work

SATs combine study, work and training to provide students with a head start on their career. There are some eligibility requirements that are specific to school-based apprentices and trainees.


Students must gain support and approval from their school to undertake a SAT. Students continue to attend school as usual, however, some of their paid employment and/or training will become part of their school timetable. A SAT must impact on the student’s school timetable to be considered school-based. The ATIS-048 Determining the impact on the school timetable information sheet provides further details.

The school, student, their parent/guardian, employer and training organisation will negotiate a schedule which outlines when the student is at school, work and training. This schedule must indicate exactly how the SAT will impact the school timetable.

The school has a role in providing support to the student throughout the SAT.


Students enter a training contract with an employer. The training contract legally binds the employer and the student for the duration of the SAT. Sometimes the employer will be a group training organisation, principal employer organisation and/or a labour hire organisation who place apprentices and trainees with a range of host employers, who supervise and train and provide work on their behalf.

Employers are required to provide the student with a minimum of 375 hours (50 days) – 600 hours (80 days) for electrotechnology industry – of paid employment over each 12 month period of the training contract. Over each 3-month period, the student must work an average of 7.5 hours per week as a minimum.

To complete a school-based training contract, a trainee must have completed 50 days of paid employment for each year of the equivalent full-time nominal term. Refer to the Queensland Training Information Service (QTIS) website for school-based trainee completion information specific to each traineeship.


The student and the employer will select a training organisation (known as the supervising registered training organisation) to provide all training and assessment for the SAT. The training organisation will work with the parties to develop a training plan which outlines training needs, how and when the training will take place, who will provide the training, and how the training will be assessed.

The qualification or competencies completed during the SAT are ‘contributing studies’ to a QCE and will be recorded in the student’s learning account. The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority has more details on how a SAT affects the QCE.

Dependent upon the nominal term of the school-based apprenticeship, there is a limit to the amount of off-the-job training that a school-based apprentice may complete while enrolled at school. The ATIS-026 School-based apprenticeships and traineeships information sheet provides further details.

Apprentices and trainees may only access a maximum of 2 government contributions, therefore it is important that students (and their parents/guardians) consider if a SAT is appropriate and relates to the student’s future chosen career. Their decision may affect their access to further funding in the future.

Finishing school

Whilst a school-based traineeship may be completed when the student is still an enrolled school student, it is unlikely a school-based apprenticeship could be completed. In signing up to a SAT, the parties agree to convert the training contract to full-time or part-time if the SAT has not been completed when the student leaves school.

Conversion upon completion of Year 12 to full-time is an automatic process carried out by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training. Those who wish to convert to part-time will be given the opportunity to advise the department before the conversion is complete.