School operations

School-Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships


This policy sets out the requirements for schools to run and manage school-based apprenticeships and traineeships for secondary school students.


  • School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBATs) are available to secondary school students who are over 15 years old and enrolled in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE), including the VCE Vocational Major, or the Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC).
  • SBATs must be established through a training contract between the employer and the apprentice or trainee.
  • An Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP) will facilitate the signing and registration of the training contract. The training contract is a legally binding contract registered with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA)External Link .
  • The SBAT training plan is developed by the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and endorsed by the school. Submission of the school endorsed training plan is required for the apprenticeship or traineeship to be registered as an SBAT.
  • The minimum number of employment and training hours for SBAT arrangements is 13 hours per week and must include a minimum 7 hours per week of paid employment and 6 hours per week of training. This requirement is calculated as an average for 3 periods of 4 months in the year.
  • Head Start staff support students to do an SBAT while completing their senior schooling. Head Start staff also support schools and employers to maximise the benefits of SBATs.
  • SBATs are regulated by the VRQA.
  • Schools must comply with this policy and the guidance on the Guidance tab.


School-based apprenticeships and traineeships

School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBATs) are available to secondary school students who are:

  • over 15 years old
  • enrolled in Years 10, 11 or 12
  • Australian citizens or permanent residents.

Non-citizens may be eligible under certain circumstances. To learn more, speak with your school or Head Start coordinator.

SBATs offer students the option of combining:

  • part-time employment
  • school
  • training.

An SBAT runs under a training contract between a student and an employer. The training contract and training plan are registered with the VRQA. The SBAT training must lead to a nationally recognised VET qualification.

The vocational training components of SBATs also contribute credit towards a student’s VCE, including the VCE Vocational Major, or VPC. Many students move on to a full-time contract with their employer after leaving school, while others choose to continue their education and training at an RTO or university.

Head Start apprenticeships and traineeships

Head Start is a program of support for SBATs across Victorian government secondary schools with a focus on the flexible delivery of the VCE, including the VCE Vocational Major, and the VPC.

Head Start is available in all government schools to support all SBATs.

Schools that employ Head Start staff will receive funding for those staff through the Student Resource Package – Targeted Initiatives. Head Start hub operational costs can be reimbursed through the Schools Targeted Funding PortalExternal Link (staff login required).

Further information about the Head Start program is available on the Resources tab and at: Head Start apprenticeships and traineeshipsExternal Link .

Apprenticeships and traineeships 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 undertake a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship instead.

This type of arrangement will still provide credit for the VCE (including the VCE Vocational Major), or the VPC if it is recorded on the Victorian Assessment Software System (VASS). These arrangements do not require school endorsement. These arrangements are at an individual student’s discretion and do not attract targeted VET funding subsidies.

Although part-time apprenticeships or traineeships are undertaken outside of school hours, they are likely to impact a student’s ability to successfully meet their school study objectives. Schools are recommended to encourage students to consult their school, parent or guardian prior to entering into a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship training contract. Given the importance of encouraging all students to complete Year 12, career advisers are expected to work with students to identify all pathway options. This includes exploring the benefits of a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship.


Structured training arrangements of usually 3 or 4 years’ duration (full-time). The training combines practical experience in paid employment with off-the-job training with an RTO. Apprenticeships mostly provide training in a skilled trade such as building and construction, hairdressing, cooking, electrical and automotive.

Child Safe Standards
Compulsory minimum standards for organisations which provide services for children, to ensure they are well prepared to keep children and young people safe and protect them from abuse. Ministerial Order 1359 – Implementing the Child Safe Standards – Managing the risk of child abuse in schools (PDF)External Link provides the framework for child safety in schools, including workplace learning environments.

Head Start
Head Start is a program of support for SBATs which is available across all Victorian government secondary schools. Head Start school-based staff support the student in the SBAT and engage regularly with the employer, school, RTO and other stakeholders.

School-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBATs)
Apprenticeships and traineeships available to secondary school students who are over 15 years old and enrolled in years 10, 11 or 12.

Structured training arrangements of usually 1 to 2 years’ duration (full-time) which combine paid employment and off-the-job training with an RTO. Traineeships are available in various vocational areas and cover a much wider range of occupations than apprenticeships.

Relevant legislation

Department policy on running and managing apprenticeships and traineeships for secondary school students

Reviewed 27 February 2024

Policy last updated

21 February 2024


  • Schools


Head Start Unit, Senior Secondary Pathways Reform Taskforce

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