Apprenticeships for secondary students

​​This page includes information for schools to administer apprenticeship and traineeship programs. Read our information for learners and students.

These are available to secondary school students who are over 15 years old are enrolled in VCE or VCAT.

A SBAT offers students the option of combining part-time employment, school and training. The program runs under a contract with an employer and has a training plan registered with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority. The training must lead to a nationally recognised qualification.

The vocational training components of SBATs also contribute credit towards a senior secondary certificate. Many school based apprentices and trainees move on to a full-time contract with their employer after leaving school, while others choose to continue their education and training at a registered training organisation or university.

See our guide to establish and deliver an SBAT:

Head Start apprenticeships

Head Start is a new model for school-based apprenticeships and traineeships where students can stay at school an extra year to finish their VCAL, VCE or apprenticeship. During this extra year they spend more time doing important, paid, on the job training.

More information on Head Start will be available in late 2018.

Training plans for SBATs

Training plans must be endorsed and submitted to the relevant Australian Apprenticeship Centre within two months of the training contract commencing.

A school representative must only endorse the training plan for an SBAT if:

  • the student is enrolled in a senior secondary program (VCE or VCAL)
  • the student’s study, training and work commitments form an integral part of that student’s school learning program and study timetable and are consistent with the student’s career aspiration as outlined in their career action plan
  • it will not be detrimental to the student’s overall education.

Endorsement of the training plan will continue to indicate the school is responsible for enrolling the student on Victorian Assessment Software System (VASS). This is so that credit for the training within the VCE or VCAL can be awarded to the student.

In order for the training contract to be registered with the VRQA as an SBAT, a school representative is required to sign the student’s training plan to acknowledge that the student is enrolled in a senior secondary program such as VCE or VCAL and that it forms an integral part of the student’s learning program and study timetable.

Training hours

The minimum number of employment and training hours is 13 hours per week, which is made up of:

  • seven hours of employment
  • six hours of training.

These hours may be averaged over three periods of four months in each year of the training contract.

At least one day during the normal school week must be timetabled to be spent on the job or in training. Schools should only endorse the training program when:

  • it forms an integral part of the student's school learning program and study timetable
  • it can be verified that the student's timetable includes one day of the normal school week in employment and/or structured training as an apprentice or trainee.

Normal school hours are generally between 8:30am and 3:30pm, however schools may set their own normal hours and normal week. For more information, see School Policy and Advisory Guide - School Hours.

Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) should consult with the school about their hours and ensure the SBAT program satisfies the requirements above.

Employment outside normal school hours

If the only time a student can obtain employment is outside normal school hours, the student is permitted but must then complete at least one day of structured training per week during normal school hours to fulfil the SBAT requirements.

This may happen in an industry that operates early or late, such as bakeries, horse-racing stables or hospitality.

Employment over holiday periods

A school-based apprentice or trainee’s employment and structured training obligations may be averaged over 3 periods of 4 months in each year of the program. This allows for employment to be undertaken in school holiday periods.

Regardless of the amount of employment undertaken in school holidays, school-based apprentices and trainees must still have at least one day of each school week during normal school hours timetabled to be spent on the job or in structured training

Apprenticeships that are not integrated into a learning program

Students who undertake an apprenticeship or traineeship that is not integrated into their learning program and study timetable will be undertaking a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship instead.

This type of arrangement will still provide credit for VCE or VCAL if it is recorded on VASS. These arrangements do not require school endorsement. These arrangements are at an individual student’s discretion and given their distance from the educational program do not attract cost subsidies. However an employer can choose to invest in these arrangements.

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