Trainee classifications and conditions of employment

Traineeships are a great way for someone to commence a career in early childhood education. Services who engage trainees actively contribute to a skilled workforce and provide a pathway for people to work as they learn their new career. But before a service employs a trainee, they should understand trainee classifications and conditions of employment. 

What is a traineeship? 
A traineeship consists of a combination of training and paid employment. Individuals who are employed to undertake a traineeship are generally employed on a temporary contract with a clear start and end date. 

In the early childhood education and care sector traineeships may be associated with either a certificate III, certificate IV or diploma level qualification. 

Certificate III and IV level qualification trainees  
Certificate III and IV trainees are paid under the National Training Wage as described by clause 14.8 of the Children’s Services Award. This clause requires the trainee to be provided minimum wage rates and conditions as per schedule E of the Miscellaneous Award. 

To properly classify a trainee under schedule E, the employer will need to know the following information; 

  • the highest level of schooling completed,  
  • the number of years since that schooling was completed, and  
  • whether approved training occurs on-the-job or not. 

You can read more on classification of trainees on the CCSA website here

Certificate III and IV traineeship hours of work and associated study time 

  • A full-time traineeship based on 38 ordinary hours per week, with 20% of those hours being approved training; 
  • A part-time traineeship based on fewer than 38 ordinary hours per week, with 20% of those hours being approved training provided: 
  • (a) wholly on the job; or 
  • (b) partly on the job and partly off the job; or 
  • (c) wholly off the job. 

The definition of approved training is training that is specified in the training contract of the trainee.  

Diploma level qualification trainees  
Employees who are undertaking a diploma traineeship are not subject to the minimum wage rates and conditions of schedule E of the Miscellaneous Award. Instead, they are engaged wholly under the Children’s Services Award or an Enterprise Agreement (if applicable to the service). This means that this employee will be classified according to;  

  • the general duties they are required to undertake,  
  • their years of experience working at the appropriate classification, and  
  • the level of any current ECEC qualification they may have. 

The Children’s Services Award does not issue a minimum number of hours to be provided to a diploma trainee for the purposes of undertaking study. However, the employer is required to agree to the terms and conditions of the contract provided by the Apprenticeship Network Provider and the Registered Training Organisation, these contracts will usually require the employer to provide a minimum number of hours each week for the trainee to undertake the theoretical training component of their study.  

School based trainees 
For trainees whose approved training as per the training contract is provided at school. Payment is only required when the trainee works ordinary hours for the employer. A school-based trainee may agree to be paid an additional loading of 25% on all ordinary hours worked instead of being paid annual leave, personal/carer’s leave, compassionate leave and paid absence on public holidays. 

CCSA Member Support are available to discuss topics such as trainee classification, rates of pay and study time. Call 1800 991 602 (option 2) to speak to a member support officer.

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