How Much Do Trainees Earn in Australia?

Charlotte BeveridgeCareers, News, TraineeshipsLeave a Comment

If you’re looking to get your career off to the best start, a traineeship may be the way to go. You’ll learn all you need to know on the job while earning a wage, and on completion you’ll receive a nationally recognised certificate. Plus, in contrast to a university degree (which can take three to four years) your traineeship can be completed in just one to two years!

Traineeships are available across a huge selection of industries and occupations including Business, Information Technology, Telecommunications and Plant Operation. But when it comes to wages, what can you expect?

Like apprenticeships, trainees are paid special pay rates and how much you will earn depends on the award your employment falls under, the hours you work and a number of other factors. An award sets out minimum conditions for employees in a particular industry or field.

So, in this article we take a closer look at trainee wages to help you understand what you can expect to earn when you complete a traineeship in Australia.

Traineeships Under Federal Awards

Like regular employment, the award your traineeship falls under will generally determine your minimum pay rates and entitlements. In Australia, there are over 100 awards covering both occupations and industries, and it’s important to know which award your employment falls under. You can find out from your employer, your RTO or by searching on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Other Factors that Influence Your Trainee Pay

On top of your award, there are other factors that are used to determine your level of pay. The certificate level you are completing under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) for your traineeship will also impact your wages. For example, Certificate IV trainees may earn more than those completing a Certificate II qualification.

The time that has lapsed since you last attended school will also have an impact. If you’re a recent school leaver, your wage will likely be less than someone who has been out of school for five or more years.

For those who have attended school in the last few years, the highest level of schooling you have completed is also a factor in calculating your wages. Those who have finished Year 12 will generally receive a higher rate than those who reached Year 10 or below.

Examples of Full-Time Traineeship Wages

As discussed above, your wages as a trainee will depend on your personal circumstances and your occupation. As a guide, if you’re employed on a full-time basis (38 hours per week) we’ve shared some examples below of trainee wages that could apply to you (rates are correct at the time of writing):

Occupation: Full-Time Trainee (registered traineeship) Certificate III in Business

Award: Miscellaneous Award 2010 (MA000104)

  • Hourly pay rate school leaver (Year 10 or below): $8.76
  • Weekly pay rate school leaver (Year 10 or below): $332.80
  • Hourly pay rate school leaver (Year 12): $11.49
  • Weekly pay rate school leaver (Year 12): $436.60
  • Hourly pay rate plus 5 or more years out of school: $17.82
  • Weekly pay rate plus 5 or more years out of school: $677.00

Occupation: Full-Time Trainee (registered traineeship) Certificate IV in Information Technology

Award: Miscellaneous Award 2010 (MA000104)

  • Hourly pay rate school leaver (Year 10 or below): $9.09
  • Weekly pay rate school leaver (Year 10 or below): $345.45
  • Hourly pay rate school leaver (Year 12): $11.93
  • Weekly pay rate school leaver (Year 12): $453.19
  • Hourly pay rate plus 5 or more years out of school (first year): $18.51
  • Weekly pay rate plus 5 or more years out of school (first year): $703.20

Occupation: Full-Time Trainee (registered traineeship) Certificate III in Telecommunications Technology

Award: Miscellaneous Award 2010 (MA000104)

  • Hourly pay rate school leaver (Year 10 or below): $8.76
  • Weekly pay rate school leaver (Year 10 or below): $332.80
  • Hourly pay rate school leaver (Year 12): $11.49
  • Weekly pay rate school leaver (Year 12): $436.60
  • Hourly pay rate plus 5 or more years out of school (first year): $17.82.
  • Weekly pay rate plus 5 or more years out of school (first year): $677.00

As you can see, the rate of pay varies quite a bit depending on your level of schooling and time out of school. It may also vary depending on the Certificate level of the training and your occupation. To find out what you may be entitled to earn in your role as a trainee visit the Fair Work website to use the Pay and Conditions Tool (P.A.C.T). You can check the rates for different occupations and enter your details regarding schooling and qualification level to get an accurate rate for your circumstances.

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Part-Time and School-Based Trainee Wages

You may also choose to complete a traineeship part-time or while you are still at school. In this case you will be paid an hourly rate for the time you spend at work. You will also be paid for any training completed on the job. You can find out part-time and school-based rates via the P.A.C.T pay calculator too.

The Long-Term Value of Traineeships

As with apprenticeships, the wages may be less than what you could earn in another entry-level position – however, the long-term gains are far higher when if you have a qualification under your belt.

In the vast majority of cases, employers that take on NECA Education & Careers trainees offer roles to completed trainees to continue at the organisation. This may also come with the potential to complete a higher level of qualification.

By comparison, many university courses aren’t structured with work in mind. This would mean it was up to you to juggle study and work in a part-time job that is not necessarily relevant to your field of study. A 2019 report by Grattan Institute also indicated that the lifetime earnings of some students who completed bachelor degrees were lower than their counterparts in vocational education.

Study for a certificate is also more affordable: unlike a university course where you’re racking up a massive HECS debt, the wages from your work placement should cover the lower fees for your course.

So if you’re keen to build a strong foundation for a successful career, a traineeship could be the ideal solution.

Would you like to learn more about traineeships, including opportunities in your area of interest? Contact our friendly team today for a chat!

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