{{ propApi.closeIcon }}
Our industry
Our industry $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Economic research and forecasting Economics Housing outlook Tailored market research Economic reports and data Inspiring Australia's building professionals HOUSING The only place to get your industry news Media releases Member alerts Submissions See all
Business support
Business support $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Become an apprentice host Hire an apprentice Why host a HIA apprentice? Apprentice partner program Builder and manufacturer program Industry insurance Construction legal expenses insurance Construction works insurance Home warranty insurance Tradies and tool insurance Planning and safety services Building and planning services How can HIA Safety help you? Independent site inspections Solutions for your business Contracts Online HIA Tradepass HIA SafeScan HR Docs Trusted legal support Legal advice and guidance Professional services Industrial relations
Resources & advice
Resources & advice $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Building it right Building codes Australian standards Getting it right on site See all Building materials and products Concrete, bricks and walls Getting products approved Use the right products for the job See all Managing your business Dealing with contracts Handling disputes Managing your employees See all Managing your safety Falls from heights Safety rules Working with silica See all Building your business Growing your business Maintaining your business See all Other subjects COVID-19 Getting approval to build Sustainable homes
Careers & learning
Careers & learning $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
A rewarding career Become an apprentice Apprenticeships on offer Hear what our apprentices say Advice for parents and guardians Study with us Find a course Get your builder's licence Learn with HIA
HIA community
HIA community $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Join HIA Sign me up How do I become a member? What's in it for me? Get involved Become an award judge Join a committee Partner with us Get to know us Our members Our people Our partners Mates rates What we do Mental health program Charitable Foundation GreenSmart
Awards & events
Awards & events $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Australian Housing Awards Awards program National Conference Industry networking Events
HIA products
HIA products $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Shop @ HIA Digital Australian Standards Contracts Online Shipping and delivery Purchasing terms & conditions Products Building codes and standards Hard copy contracts Guides and manuals Safety and signage See all
About Contact Newsroom
$vuetify.icons.faMapMarker Set my location Use the field below to update your location
Change location
{{propApi.text}} {{region}} Change location
{{propApi.successMessage}} {{region}} Change location

$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Thinking of hiring an apprentice? Here's what you need to know

Apprentices are often young school leavers who have never worked on a construction site.

If considering employing an apprentice you might be wondering:  What if the person I take on as an apprentice is not suitable? Are they motivated? Do they know what the industry is all about? 

Taking on an apprentice is a commitment and as an employer you may want to give the person a ‘taste’ of what it’s all about before signing a training contract which officially establishes the apprenticeship.

What is the difference between an apprenticeship and on the job training?

An apprenticeship is a learning pathway that combines structured, on the job training with an employer, and off the job training with a registered training organisation (RTO) (e.g., TAFE) that leads to a qualification.

‘On the job’ training refers to informal, strictly on-site, and situation-based training without links to a qualification.

Can I trial someone before I offer an apprenticeship?

If an employer would like to see how a prospective apprentice will perform prior to engaging them under a formal training contract, it is a good idea that the person be engaged as a casual labourer for a short period prior to engaging them as an apprentice.

What do I pay someone before they sign a training contract?

If your employee is not formally engaged as an apprentice and you are conducting a trial period, the employee must be paid labourer rates. If the person is new to the building and construction industry, the CW1 (level a) casual wage rate may be appropriate.

As casual labourer rates are much higher than apprentice rates of pay (where the apprentice would be a junior), it is worthwhile having a conversation with your prospective apprentice at the time of employment clearly outlining the new rates of pay and entitlements that will apply to them once they have signed a training contract.

Apprentice rates can only be paid once a training contract has been signed by both parties.

Are there junior rates I can pay someone whilst we trial the person? 

No. Junior wage rates are not provided for in the Building and Construction General On-site Award. Employees must be paid at the rate applicable to their classification.

What if we intend to sign the person up as apprentice but it did not work out, meaning no training contract was signed?

Casual employees are not entitled to notice of termination or redundancy pay, meaning that if you have engaged a prospective apprentice as a casual employee, you may terminate the employee if you feel they are not an appropriate fit for your business.

In the event that apprentice rates were paid for the time worked, you may need to back pay this person the appropriate labourer rate. As above, apprentice rates of pay can only be paid if a training contract was entered into to establish the apprenticeship.

What if I employ someone as labourer and then we sign up to a formal apprenticeship?

If a prospective apprentice is engaged as a labourer and then signed up as an apprentice, they will then be entitled to the appropriate apprentice wage and any other applicable allowances appropriate for the trade they are undertaking.

If you wish to sign your employee up as an apprentice, it must be done so within a certain time frame of them commencing employment (usually 28 days but can vary depending on your State). For information about establishing an apprenticeship contact should be made with an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (Apprenticeship Network) provider.

Note: It is worth keeping in mind that there are different provisions in the Award for adult apprentices who have been with a business for between 6-12 months. For more information around this contact the HIA InfoCentre.

Share with your network:

More articles on:

{{ tag.label }} {{ tag.label }} $vuetify.icons.faTimes
Find guides, how-tos, resources and more