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Terms you need to know

This glossary will help you understand some of the terms you'll hear when you take on an apprenticeship.

The language of apprenticeships and traineeships can be confusing. Use our glossary of common terms you'll come across when doing an apprenticeship.


A legally binding training arrangement between an employer and an apprentice that combines structured training with paid employment. Apprenticeships usually take up to four years to complete, with training taking place both at the workplace and with a training organisation.

Australian Apprenticeship Support Network

Australian Apprenticeships Support Network (AASN) providers are contracted by the Australian Government to provide certain services (such as sign-up of the training contract) to apprentices, trainees and employers on behalf of state government training authorities. AASNs are the first point of contact during the lifecycle of the training contract and manage incentives relating to apprenticeships and traineeships.

Block release

Is when an apprentice or trainee goes to the Registered Training Organisation to undertake training for a block of time. For example, full-time for three weeks.

Competency-based training

Competency-based training (CBT) places primary emphasis on what a person can do as a result of their training and experience. It means the time required to complete the apprenticeship or traineeship is flexible.

Day release

Scheduled days when an apprentice or trainee attends training with the registered training organisation. For example, one day a week over six months.


At the commencement of an apprenticeship or traineeship, the apprentice or trainee will complete an induction with their training organisation, Australian Apprenticeship Support Network and employer. An induction is an introduction to the apprenticeship or traineeship and outlines everything the apprentice or trainee will need to know about their training and work arrangements.

Off-the-job training

Training that is away from work or removed from routine work duties. This can take place either in the workplace or at a training venue by your registered training organisation.

On-the-job training

Training and work skills that apprentices and trainees receive while they are working.

Probationary period

A period of time at the beginning of an apprenticeship or traineeship that allows the employer and the apprentice or trainee to decide whether they want to continue with the apprenticeship or traineeship.

Recognition of Prior Learning (or RPL)

Formal recognition of a person's current skills and knowledge, achieved outside of the formal education and training system. A registered training organisation assesses these skills and determines what competencies, if any, have been achieved through the specific qualification.

School-based apprenticeships and traineeship (or SBAT)

Allows students, typically in years 10, 11 and 12, to achieve a state-based Certificate of Education while working and training in an industry field to achieve a nationally recognised qualification.

Registered Training Organisation

A Registered Training Organisation (RTO) provides nationally recognised training and qualifications to apprentices and trainees.


A structured training and paid employment arrangement that involves a legally binding contract between employer and trainee. Traineeships vary in length from 12 months to three years.

Training contract

A legally binding contract for training between an employer and an apprentice or trainee. If the apprentice or trainee is under 18 years of age, and it is appropriate, their parent or guardian must provide signed consent to the apprenticeship or traineeship.

Training plan

Outlines the training and assessment to be undertaken, who will deliver it, where it will be delivered and the timeframe for achievement of competency.

Training record

Kept by the apprentice or trainee and used to record their progress and achievement of competencies as outlined in the training plan.

User Choice

A departmental program that provides a public funding contribution towards the cost of training and assessment for eligible Australian apprentices and trainees. The program aims to provide funding aligned to the skill needs of industry and respond to changing government priorities. A number of Registered Training Organisations are contracted by the department to provide User Choice funded training for apprentices and trainees if they and their employer choose to use these organisations.

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