Employ an apprentice or trainee

Employing an apprentice or trainee can be an excellent way to expand your business.

Apprenticeships and traineeships combine structured on-the-job and off-the-job training that leads to a nationally-recognised qualification.

You may be eligible for Commonwealth or Northern Territory Government incentives to help with the costs associated with employing an apprentice or trainee.

You may decide to offer a current staff member an apprenticeship or traineeship, or you may recruit an apprentice or trainee externally.

Go to the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation's NT Apprenticeships and Traineeship Database for a list of approved apprenticeship and traineeship qualifications available in the Northern Territory.

Employment conditions

You must provide apprentices and trainees with the same employment conditions as your other employees.

These include all the following:

  • sick leave, annual leave, parental leave and bereavement leave
  • tool allowances, plus uniform, laundry, and travel allowances if relevant
  • employer superannuation contributions
  • a safe working environment
  • worker’s compensation
  • fair treatment by you and other staff.

Training responsibilities

You must provide apprentices and trainees with all of the following training opportunities and support:

  • opportunity to learn the required skills and knowledge
  • structured on and/or off-the-job training
  • time off to attend training.

Communication responsibilities

You must make the terms and conditions of employment clear to your apprentice or trainee.

This includes all of the following:

  • the award or agreement under which they are employed
  • the hours of work
  • their responsibilities for reporting absences
  • any information relating to pay and deductions.

For more information, get the National Code of Good Practice from the Australian Apprenticeships website.

Training in a workplace

Employers are required to negotiate a training plan with the selected registered training organisation for each apprentice or trainee.

The plan outlines the specific training the apprentice or trainee must do to get the qualification for their apprenticeship or traineeship.

As an employer, you must fulfil your responsibilities as agreed in the training plan.

This includes all of the following:

  • provide facilities and expertise to assist with the training
  • ensure the apprentice or trainee receives on-the-job training and assessment in line with the training plan
  • ensure the apprentice or trainee has a competent supervisor in the workplace
  • release the apprentice or trainee to attend off-the-job training and assessment in line with the training plan
  • work with the training organisation and the apprentice or trainee to ensure that the training and assessment identified in the plan is complied with
  • ensure training records are kept up-to-date and progress is monitored and reviewed.

Training contract

A training contract is a legally binding agreement between you and your apprentice or trainee.

You must register your apprentice or trainee's contract with Australian Apprenticeships NT within 28 days of the start of their apprenticeship or traineeship.

If your apprentice or trainee is under 18 years of age at the time you employ them, the training contract must be signed by their parent or legal guardian.

The training contract sets out all of the following:

  • the name of the apprenticeship or traineeship
  • duration of the contract
  • details of the registered training organisation that will deliver the training
  • industrial arrangements under which the apprentice will be employed
  • the qualification to be obtained
  • employment arrangements, such as full-time or part-time hours.


The training contract has a cooling-off or probation period. This probation period is different from the probation period that applies to their employment arrangement.

In the Northern Territory, the probation period is three months from the apprenticeship or traineeship start date.

Once the probation period has been successfully completed, you and the apprentice or trainee are bound by the training contract.

Cancellation or suspension of the training contract

The training contract may be suspended or cancelled by mutual agreement between you and the apprentice or trainee.

Contract suspensions may be necessary due to an extended illness or lack of available work, and are by mutual agreement.

Contract cancellations are coordinated by Australian Apprenticeships NT.

Changes to the training contract

Requests to make changes to the training contract can be made through Australian Apprenticeships NT.

Requests for contract changes must be made in writing and signed by you and the apprentice or trainee.

Your request must also be endorsed by the registered training organisation.

Contract changes may include any of the following:

  • an amendment to the term of the contract
  • changes to the type of apprenticeship or traineeship
  • a change of qualification
  • a change to the type of employment arrangement
  • a change of registered training organisation.

For more information contact the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network NT.

Last updated: 26 June 2020

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