Australian Apprenticeship?
June 5, 2006 4:16 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have experience with the Apprenticeship program in Australia?

I am a Canadian who would like to emigrate to Australia. One of the paths that looks most promising is to get a Trade Skills Training Visa, which entails me getting an apprenticeship in Australia in my field (baking/cake decorating). I have looked through many many pages of immigration requirements, government websites, various technical institutes' websites. As far as I can tell, I need someone to hire me before I can get a visa. The question is, how do I find someone to apprentice me? Do I have to apply to a vocational college as well?

Also, my husband would like to attend university in Australia to up his point count to apply for permanent residency. While I can go along on his visa, I can only work 20 hours a week that way. Would it be better for me to accompany him on his visa, find a job, and then apply for an apprenticeship?

Any information or experience would be helpful - thanks!
posted by meringue to Work & Money (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Aust govt has subcontracted this type of service (helping apprentices find employers) to (generally small, local) private agencies. You might want to try finding the postcodes of areas you are thinking of moving to and searching for "New Apprenticeship Centres" in those postcodes with the search function on this page.
If you get some results, i.e. find some New Apprenticeship Centres, email them directly and they should be able to help.
posted by Tixylix at 4:53 PM on June 5, 2006

I haven't done this myself but from a quick look at a few websites I can offer the following help:
Your trade, baking/cake decorating, is strangely enough in demand here: Migration occupations in Demand for Australia (MODL)

The new apprenticeships website explains that you can search for positions using the almost always crappy through, select the area you plan to move to, then select new apprenticeships from the category.
here's one for Adelaide for example

As for your question about TAFE (vocational education) I think you are placed with a TAFE course as part of your apprenticeship and do not have to apply separately.

Good luck
posted by mule at 5:03 PM on June 5, 2006

Response by poster: Thank you both. I've been going in circles on the pages. I have a suspicion that they make it purposefully confusing - to sort the wheat from the chaff ahead of time.

We weren't planning to apply until next year, but when I saw that I had an "in-demand" occupation I thought that I might get a jump start on the process. I'll start sending out some emails to see what else I can find out.
posted by meringue at 5:55 PM on June 5, 2006

If you are under 30, you can get a working holiday visa.
posted by acoutu at 6:24 PM on June 5, 2006

I do know that baking (not cake decorating necessarily) is a declared skill shortage. I know this because 100 Vietnamese bakers are about to be immigrated to Victoria.

If you're prepared to live and work regionally for a while, I think that would count in your favour, there will be a box that can be tickedto give you mroe points . There are many lovely regional cities of up to 100 000 people, some with University campuses, that would qualify.

Good luck, you will need it. There are profesisonal migration agents that you can pay for advice etc, but I suspect many of them prey on people with limited english and an expectation of bribes.
posted by wilful at 6:58 PM on June 5, 2006

Response by poster: I don't mind living in a smaller city for a while. Our first choice was Melbourne, but it seems a bit expensive, and the extra points for living in a "slow-growth" region is a motivator. The TST visa is regional Australia only, so we have started to look at Adelaide as a good alternative. I don't really know which other smaller cities would be a good choice, but if you have some to suggest, (with a university) that would be great.
posted by meringue at 7:15 PM on June 5, 2006

What are your preferences as to climate? It's a big country. You could be living somewhere closer to Jakarta than Sydney, or somewhere with nothing between you and the South Pole except some icebergs...
posted by AmbroseChapel at 7:25 PM on June 5, 2006

Response by poster: AmbroseChapel: south of Sydney, preferably. Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia. I don't think that I'd last too long in the tropical heat - so Darwin's out!
posted by meringue at 8:18 PM on June 5, 2006

First up, be careful in the definition of apprenticeship. The "New Apprenticeships" site up thread spruiks what is effectively a youth training scheme.
I would be somewhat surprised if these soft "keep the kids off welfare" training schemes qualified for immigration purposes. Traditional trade qualifications (baker, motor mechanic, plumber) in AU are granted after a four year apprenticeship which includes graduated pay scales (1st year, 2nd year etc.) and attendance at a TAFE vocational college one day per week during term time.
Trade apprentices are usually hired by the supervising tradesperson, usually via local classifieds, although their are online alternatives like or . There are also employment agencies that specialise in supplying apprentices as 'temp' staff. These agencies then act as the trade 'master' and employ the apprentices who are then contracted out. The idea is to give the end tradesman access to cheap labour without the accompanying paperwork that comes with an apprenticeship.
When I mention cheap labour, I'm not joking, apprentice pay is way below the poverty line, see here for a sample.
If you are already qualified as a baker there might be the possibility of advanced standing or some other recognition.
In terms of where to live, most of regional Australia is doing comparatively well currently. This is extra true in Western Australia and Queensland where mining is going through a boom. The amount of money the mining industry is pouring into regional economies is staggering, and there are knock on effects like Perth house prices climbing 28% in the last year.
If you were considering Melbourne, Adelaide might be a suitable alternative, but be clear these are big cities and have no rural feel. If you were to consider a country town, in my experience Armidale and Orange in NSW are both very pleasant university towns with a 4 season climate.
I'm happy for you to email if you want any specifics about anything you might think a local would know.
posted by bystander at 8:44 PM on June 5, 2006

I second the vote for Armidale - a beautiful university town with a lot of cultural facilities. I've visited it twice for work and liked it very much. Wagga Wagga also seems nice. In Victoria, Ballarat and Bendigo are very attractive university towns, and not too far from Melbourne. (I'm thinking here of the towns in terms of facilities and attractions, rather than growth - as bystander says, WA and QLD are the real burgeoning growth areas.)

Check out Study Real Australia for a list of regional universities - that might give you some ideas.
posted by andraste at 9:22 PM on June 5, 2006

A serious growth area, that's going to do well in the long term, with a pretty good unversity (Charles Sturt), is Albury/Wodonga, with a moderate climate (about -2 overnight in the depths of winter, up to about 42 on the stinkiest hot summer day).

As a generalisation, Australia has a lot of skill shortages, and your proposed route for emigration is quite sensible. As bystander points out, apprentices don't often get very well paid, but can survive, and many trades are making excellent money right now.
posted by wilful at 10:43 PM on June 5, 2006

Just to expand on the working holiday visa thing... You don't have to go through them, but SWAP makes it easier to get one. I'm not sure, but you might be limited to working for any given employer for a maximum of 3 months. Something to keep in mind, at any rate.
posted by antifuse at 1:28 AM on June 6, 2006

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for the help.

I am going to start by getting a skills assessment, so that maybe I can skip a few years of apprenticeship, or just get a regular visa.

I'm also looking into some smaller cities - so much to find out!
posted by meringue at 10:38 PM on June 6, 2006

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