January 12, 2020

Apprenticeship Wages – What You Should Expect

Building apprenticeships have many advantages. You can do an apprenticeship even if you haven’t finished high school, or sometimes while finishing high school. Building apprenticeships also let you earn money while you learn a trade, which means you can get paid while getting qualified. It’s a win-win!

In this blog, we’ll talk about apprenticeship wages. We’ll answer some questions like, “Do you get paid for an apprenticeship?” You may also be wondering, “How much does an apprentice make?” Read on to learn more about apprentice wages.

Do you get paid for an apprenticeship?

Yes, apprentices get paid for their apprenticeship. This is because an apprenticeship involves both study and work.

During your apprenticeship, you will be working with an employer while completing your trade school with a registered training organisation.

Let’s look at this in a little more detail.


While doing your apprenticeship, you’ll work for a company or a boss, just like a normal worker. This lets you learn the trade in a ‘hands-on’ way. In other words, you’ll be learning on the job.

As a less experienced worker, you’ll probably do simpler tasks than other workers. This lets you learn the ropes while you build on your skills and experience.

Throughout your apprenticeship, you’ll gradually start doing more difficult tasks. And by the end of your apprenticeship, you will have mastered many of the skills you need to do the job of a fully qualified worker.


Aside from learning on the job, you’ll also be mentored and guided by your trainer from a registered training organisation.  Your trainer will teach you the theoretical side of the job, such as techniques and processes. This is a chance to learn more about the industry you are working in, and importantly, safety procedures.

How much does an apprentice make?

Your apprenticeship earnings will depend on two things:

1.     Time- How long you have been an apprentice

Although you can expect to start on the lowest rate for apprentices, your earnings will go up over time. Remember, your earning while your learning.  Your employer might also give you a pay rise after your first 12 months, or after every year of your apprenticeship. For example, a third year apprentice often earns more than a first year apprentice.

2.     Competency- How many skills you have mastered

In some cases your employer will increase your pay once you have the required skills to advance to the next stage of your apprenticeship. This can occur at any time during your apprenticeship.

What is a pre-apprenticeship?

A pre-apprenticeship is training that you do before you start your apprenticeship.

A pre-apprenticeship is ‘entry level’ training, which means that you don’t need any skills or qualifications to start a pre-apprenticeship.

A pre-apprenticeship gets your ready for your apprenticeship by teaching you basic things about your industry or trade. It might also brush you up on ‘literacy and numeracy’, or ‘reading and writing’ skills.

Sometimes you can get a credit transfer.  This means that your pre-apprenticeship already covers some units of your apprenticeship, which means your apprenticeship will be shorter.

How much does a pre-apprentice make?

A pre-apprenticeship involves mostly training, not work like an apprenticeship does. So this means that you don’t get paid for doing a pre-apprenticeship.

How much do carpentry apprentices make?

If you’re interested in building apprenticeships, a good way to start is by doing a carpentry apprenticeship. This means that you will do a CPC30211 Certificate III in Carpentry, while working for a carpenter, builder or building company.

As with other apprenticeships, your rate will depend on how long you have been an apprentice and how many skills you have mastered. Your pay will go up over time as you gain more experience.

According to PayScale, the average carpentry apprentice salary in Australia is:

  •       $15.01 – $23.86per hour, or
  •       $30,417 – $50,507 per year

How much do other building apprentices make?

Your earnings will depend on the type of trade you’re doing and in some cases, your employer. Most trades are covered by an ‘award,’ which means that there is a minimum rate of pay required by law.

To find out your award rate, visit Fair Work Australia and use the Pay Calculator. Here, you enter your trade and your experience and skill level. You can look up pay rates for pre-apprentices, apprentices, or fully qualified trades.

Looking to start a building apprenticeship? Get in touch to find out what apprenticeships are on offer.

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