Looking for a career change? Want to learn something new? Here at Mature Age Apprenticeships you will find a lot of general information about what it takes to undertake an adult apprenticeship.

What exactly are Mature Age Apprenticeships?

An adult apprenticeship is effectively a way of  learning new skills and gaining recognised qualifications whilst earning on the job itself. If you undertake an adult apprenticeship you become what is called an adult apprentice.

 This means you are professionally trained in a skilled trade for a certain amount of time and upon successful completion you become a qualified trades-person.

People who undertake mature age apprenticeships are generally entitled to more benefits than younger people and employers who hire mature age apprentices also get extra financial bonuses from the government. Additionally, apprenticeships and traineeships are inevitably thought of as training for young people, but this is a misconception as age does not matter at all – anyone can do an Apprenticeship, as long as you are eager, willing and driven, you will succeed.

Why start an Adult Apprenticeship?

Mature Age Apprenticeships can be an incredibly fulfilling accomplishment, as you work whilst being trained to achieve a nationally recognised qualification. As a Mature Aged Apprentice you will most likely earn slightly more than an Apprentice straight out of school and you may even discover that your current skills and experience count as credit, which could mean that the length of your training is reduced. Furthermore, learning a trade could potentially open up new possibilities for you in the future, such as starting your own business in the trade itself. The majority of Apprenticeships are also flexible, which means you can complete one full-time or in a part-time basis.

Who is it for?

Useful qualities you need for mature age apprenticeships:

  • Good work ethic
  • Motivated to learn new skills
  • Able to work within a team
  • Dedication to become an expert in the field
Mature Age Apprenticeships are ideal for people who might have missed out on an apprenticeship at school or simply someone wishing for a career change. Adult apprenticeships come in many shapes and forms, the most popular industries for Apprenticeships are; Automotive, Building and Construction, Finance services, Food, Hairdressing, Light manufacturing, Metals and Engineering and Sport and recreation.
It is critical that you are 100% sure that a career change is what you want and you are doing it for the right reasons – if you are simply having a bad day at the office, it might be best to relax and honestly ask yourself if a career change is what would truly give you the satisfaction you may be after.

Qualifications needed

Most adult apprenticeships do not require any specific qualifications to become an apprentice, except for some that require you to have passed Level 10 Mathematics and English. However, usually it’s a case of “if you are able to work legally, then you are able to apply and undertake an apprenticeship”.

Benefits of doing an Adult Apprenticeship?

There are many benefits to doing mature age apprenticeships. The most important ones are the following:

  • You earn money while you learn.
  • Flexibility of doing an apprenticeship part-time.
  • You learn everything on the job and you are trained in skills which will attract future employers.
  • You can take paid holidays.
  • You obtain an official qualification that is nationally recognised across Australia.
  • Most trades are always in high demand so future employment once qualified is very high.
  • Your current skills and experience may count as credit, which could mean a shorter training period.

To expand on the last point, if you have relevant and extensive skills and even experience in a particular trade that interests you, but no official qualifications, you may be eligible to apply for “Recognition of work or training” which would allow you dramatically reduce the amount of time you would need to train as an adult apprentice to become a qualified tradesman. To find out if you are eligible for this, please contact your local Australian Apprenticeships Centre by either visiting the ABL Apprenticeships Centre website or by calling them on 1300 652 236.

During the latest changes to the Budget 2012, the Australian Government has improved the incentives of all apprenticeships even further by stating:

“The Australian Government’s response supports the recommendation and agreed that incentives can be better targeted to meet Australia’s skills needs. Reforms announced in the 2012 Budget, respond to this recommendation and build on previously announced reforms to the Australian Apprenticeships system, including investment in mentoring, reform of support services and national harmonisation.

The following changes to the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program will be implemented from 1 July 2012:

  • changes to the standard employer incentives for employers of existing workers undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship (at the Certificate III level and above) in an occupation not listed on the *National Skills Needs List. The following changes apply for this cohort:
    • removal of the standard commencement payment
    • increased standard completion payment (from $2,500 to $3,000)
  • movement of the timing of payment of the standard commencement payment from being paid at three months after commencement to six months after commencement.

Also announced as part of the 2012-2013 Budget:

  • development of a new, streamlined, e-business enabled Australian Apprenticeships payment and tracking system
  • the Training Support Post Apprenticeship initiative that will provide $19.5 million over four years to support up to 3,500 people who have recently completed their trade training and are seeking to establish a new business or to operate as a sub-contractor.  This initiative will help sub‑contractors and new business operators meet business and employment regulations, and develop sound financial and business plans. “

*Source: Australian Apprenticeships 

Are there any negative sides to doing an Apprenticeship?

There are also negative factors to completing mature aged apprenticeships that also need to be considered when deciding on your future. The biggest concern to most would-be applicants is the financial sacrifice that they would encounter, particularly at the beginning; it is highly recommend you calculate carefully what your budget would be and how you or your family might be affected by a decrease in income, and whether it is sustainable for everyone. Another common issue is that some apprentices are surprised at how difficult an adult apprenticeship can be at times, depending on the field, apprentices are expected to work hard and combined with other factors, such as younger people being in positions of power and giving orders, this can be tough. However, this should not be a problem if you have determination, maturity, persistence and most importantly; realise that once qualified it would have all been worth it.

How long does it take to complete one?

Another positive about mature age apprenticeships, is that they are ‘competency based’. This essentially means that depending on your skills and how quickly you develop them, you can complete your training faster. Apprenticeships can last anything in between twelve months and four years. As a mature age apprentice, your previous experience also plays into the equation, which essentially means that if you have transferable and relevant experience or skills, your training period could be reduced.

How to decide which one?

Mature age apprenticeships are all about acquiring skills and experience in industries that attract you, but with an overwhelming amount of options out there (over 500 to be exact, including the popular ones such as Electrical apprenticeshipsand Plumbing Apprenticeships), it can be difficult to come to a final decision. A good way to start is by evaluating yourself thoroughly and asking yourself the following question, ‘If you could be anything tomorrow, regardless of any obstacles in your way, what would you like to be?’

Write down a list of interests, for instance: that you are interested in cars and how the engine pistons work, or that you like physically demanding work. Then either visit an Australian Apprenticeship centre to discuss career ideas, or do some research on popular apprenticeships and see if any match your interests. You should then have a better idea of what industries are suitable for you, if you want to read more about various industries of apprenticeships, look at our Apprenticeship Job descriptions article.

The great benefit of an Apprenticeship is the that the possibilities and options are almost limitless. You can find an adult apprenticeship in virtually any trade.

Australian Apprenticeship Scheme

The Australian Apprenticeship Scheme (Also known as Apprenticeships and Traineeships in some states) is a scheme that was created to give people of any age the ability to start a worthwhile career, by training, giving financial aid and develop a more skilful Australian workforce, which in turn means long term benefits for the entire nation.

As mentioned above, one of the main reasons people aren’t able to do an adult apprenticeship is the financial side of things. This is where the Australian Apprenticeship Scheme kicks in – If eligible you can receive extra money, free tools, second home allowance and even one on one advice. You can find out more about how the Australian Apprenticeship scheme can help you by contacting your local centre or calling 13 38 73.

For more general information about mature age apprenticeships, you should visit these three websites:




You should seek independent professional advice, such as your local Apprenticeship centre by calling 13 38 73, before acting upon any information on the Mature Age Apprenticeships website.

We wish you the best of luck with your new adventure.
-Mature Age Apprenticeships.org Team


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