The difference between a pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship

Carpenter With Female Apprentice Working On Building Site 483717634

What we learn in the classroom, or workshop, is the foundation for everything we do during the rest of our lives. The skills we gain through our training help us to work successfully and explore a range of career opportunities

Fortunately, in today’s study climate, there are many options to achieve your goals. Pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships are just two of them, offering a perfect starting point to enter your chosen industry.

So, let’s breakdown the differences to help you begin.


A pre-apprenticeship (or pre-app) is your introduction – kind of like walking up to a window and actually seeing what your future career could look like. It helps you learn fundamental skills without the commitment of longer training. That way you can decide whether an apprenticeship is something you will then want to pursue.

A pre-app is also perfect if you already know you want to get an apprenticeship. Because you’ll already know some job basics you’ll be more appealing to future employers, making it easier to get an apprenticeship. Plus, your future boss will be reassured that you know what you’re getting yourself into and that you actually want to work in the industry..

Usually you will get a certificate II level qualification after completing your pre-app, and this can take anywhere from 12 to 20 weeks (but much shorter than other qualifications).

Also, you don’t need an employer to study at this level, with a lot of pre-apps able to be completed as part of your VCE or VCAL studies.


Apprenticeships are a three-sided agreement between you, your employer and a training organisation. That means you have to find a job as an apprentice and sign a training contract with them before you start study.

The study part of an apprenticeship can work a number of ways including blended delivery (workshop, on-site or online). Two common ways are:

  1. You come to TAFE one day per week and work the other days, and
  2. You come to TAFE for a set amount of weeks straight and then work the rest of the time until you come to TAFE again for another block of weeks.

An apprenticeship is competency-based, not graded. You will be signed off as either successfully or unsuccessfully being able to complete a task.

Once you complete your apprenticeship, you will hold a nationally recognised qualification. Afterwards, you can go straight into industry, upskill with further training or look into other roles, such as managerial or supervisory titles.

The best part about an apprenticeship though? You’ll get paid to work while you’re studying.

How can Holmesglen help?

We have pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeships across a range of study areas, including building and construction, horticulture and environment and hospitality.

Browse our courses to find out what we offer.

Related news