Find out about wages and allowances for apprentices and trainees.
Apprentice and trainee wages
Apprentice and trainee wages are mostly set by an industry award. Different industries have different awards – there are over 100 modern awards.
If you are covered under a modern award, you can find information regarding your wages and conditions by viewing your award at the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
If you are employed in the SA Public Sector, search industry awards on the Office for the Public Sector website.
If you aren't sure which award you come under, ask your employer or look at your training contract.
Guides from the Fair Work Ombudsman also have information for both apprentices/trainees and employers about rates of pay, record-keeping, and rights and entitlements.
For more information about rights and responsibilities as an apprentice and to read the 'Guide to starting an apprenticeship', visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
For more information about obligations for a business that employs apprentices and to read the 'Guide to taking on an apprentice', visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
Competency based wage progression
Competency based wage progression (CBWP) allows you to progress to the next wage level based on your level of competency. This provides an alternative to the traditional time served approach, where you would typically progress to the next stage on an annual basis.
Competency refers to the “consistent application of the requisite skills and knowledge to the standard required in the workplace”.
Modern awards which support CBWP include:
- Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010
- Joinery and Building Trades Award 2010
- Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award 2010
- Airline Operations – Ground Staff Award 2010
- Sugar Industry Award 2010
- Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010
Wage progression occurs either when a set proportion of the total units of competency are completed, or a period of time is served (typically 12 months), whichever is earlier. For example, for an apprenticeship with 4 stages, progression to stage 2 occurs when 25% of the total number of competencies is met.
For CBWP to occur, the Registered Training Organisation (RTO), your employer and you need to agree that the relevant competencies have been met. Alternatively, your employer may have received written advice from the RTO that you meet the relevant competency requirements for the next stage, and your employer has not advised the RTO or you of any disagreement within 21 days.
Further information about CBWP and modern awards can be obtained from the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website or by contacting the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.
Travel and accommodation allowances
If you have to travel more than 150km to get to and from your closest approved training provider, the State Government may contribute towards a portion of your travel and accommodation costs. You may be eligible if you:
- have a current training contract registered in South Australia
- travel a round trip distance in excess of 150km between your normal place of residence and your closest contracted training provider in South Australia
- live within a non-metropolitan area of South Australia.
Complete your application and send it to Regulation and Contract Management using the instructions on the form.
There are provisions in some Modern Awards for your employer to assist with travel costs to attend block release training. Contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 or visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website to view information relevant to your industry.
Who pays for training?
The state government provides a training subsidy through the WorkReady initiative for eligible apprentices and trainees. This funding is provided directly to your chosen training provider. Check your eligibility.
Some Modern Awards require employers to pay apprentices for the cost of training fees and text books required for your apprenticeship, as long as you make satisfactory progress. If you are employed under a Modern Award, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for more information.
Living away from home allowance
If you have to live away from home to do your apprenticeship or traineeship you may be eligible for an allowance. Your Apprenticeship Network Provider can provide information about eligibility.
Contact your Apprenticeship Network Provider.
See concessions, allowances and scholarships for more information.