What’s the Difference Between an Apprenticeship and Traineeship?

Charlotte BeveridgeApprenticeships, Careers, News, Traineeships2 Comments

If you’re looking to kickstart your career, completing an apprenticeship or traineeship is a great option. You’ll learn on the job as you go, picking up all the essential skills and knowledge you need to build a successful career in your field of choice and undertake a nationally recognised certificate all at the same time!

While both apprenticeships and traineeships offer similar pathways, there are some key differences between the two. So, in this article we explain three key differences between an apprenticeship and traineeship, to help you decide which is the best fit for you.

The Three Key Differences

As mentioned above, both apprenticeships and traineeships offer a structured pathway into your career of choice. However, there are three key differences – range of occupations, completion time and legal requirements. Each of these should be carefully considered when deciding which is the right option, and we’ll discuss each in more detail below.

Range of Occupations

While traineeships are available on a broad range of occupations, apprenticeships are offered on skilled trades only. For example, you can complete a traineeship in a diverse set of fields including:

  • Business (e.g. business administration, marketing, accounting)
  • Technology (e.g. information technology, telecommunications, digital media)
  • Trades (e.g. plant operator, warehouse operation, hairdressing).

Apprenticeships are also offered across a broad range of industries, including:

  • Building and construction (e.g. carpentry, bricklaying)
  • Electrical (e.g. electrician, electrical fitter)
  • Engineering fabrication (i.e. boiler maker/ welder)
  • Engineering manufacturing (i.e. fitter and turner)
  • Horticulture (e.g. parks and gardens)
  • Plumbing (e.g. plumbing and gas fitting or drainage).

Completion Time

Apprenticeships are a full-time commitment and are awarded after a fixed period of time. An Electrical Apprenticeship will generally take four years, however this can be shortened by up to 6 months, depending on circumstances. Traineeships can be full-time or part-time. Because traineeships are competency-based, completion is dependent on achieving and demonstrating a level of competency in all the required modules. In general, a traineeship is usually completed within one to two years, but it may take more or less time depending on the role, employee and number of hours worked. On the other hand, apprenticeships are awarded after a set timeframe, which for most trades, is four years.

Legal Requirements

When you sign up for an apprenticeship, the level of commitment made by both yourself and your employer is different to a traineeship. As an apprentice, upon signing the contract, your employer is committing to employ you for the term of your apprenticeship – and if they sell the business while you are working towards completion, the new owner must continue with the training contract. After the probationary period is up (usually 90 days) the contract can be cancelled, but all parties (apprentice and employer) must agree.

As a trainee, your employer must keep you on for the term of your traineeship, however, either party can cancel the contract before it’s complete (mutual agreement is not needed). In addition, if the business is sold, the new owners are not obliged to continue your employment.

Understand the Differences Before You Commit

Both apprenticeships and traineeships provide you with a fantastic way to learn on the job – and as an added bonus, you get paid for it too! When weighing up the two, consider the field you wish to pursue, how long you are ready to commit to, and what the legal implications are.

And if you’re still not sure, you can always talk to a training provide for specific advice.

Over to You

Would you like to chat about your options to discover if an apprenticeship or traineeship is the right career move for you? We’d love to help! Get in touch today.

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2 Comments on “What’s the Difference Between an Apprenticeship and Traineeship?”

  1. Great information for me in particularly,

    I now, fully understand but before they were very similar instructions on job advertising.

    Now, I’m interested in getting an apprenticesship electrician field

    I really, appreciate your feedback on this matter.


    Kerow Mou

    1. Hi Kerow,

      That’s great! If you’ve downloaded our ‘How to Become an Electrician’ guide you should have all the info you need to get started. If you have any more questions, click here to contact us.


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