Office for the Public Sector


For Trainees

Overview of Employment programs – Trainees

As part of the Premier’s Building a Stronger South Australia – A Modern Public Service Policy, the Office for the Public Sector is leading the Flexibility for the Future initiative.

This initiative asks public sector employees to consider part-time and flexible working arrangements. By increasing the opportunities for public sector employees to voluntarily work part-time, the sector can reinvest in new trainee and graduate positions.


The trainee program is designed for people who have not already completed vocational education and training (VET) (higher than Certificate III), or attained tertiary qualifications.

An eligible candidate for a traineeship will have the following characteristics:

  • Aged between 17 and 30
    • Up to 35 if you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or as having a declared disability
  • Be a South Australian resident.
  • Be an Australian Citizen, or have an appropriate work visa.
  • Without vocational education and training (VET) (higher than Certificate III),
    or tertiary qualifications.
  • Have not completed a traineeship within the SA Public Sector previously,
    or one hosted by the SA Public Sector.
  • Not currently a SA Public Sector employee.
  • If you were once a Public Sector employee who accepted a TVSP, you are not eligible to be re-employed in the South Australian public sector:
    • for a period coinciding with the number of weeks of the payment to them as part of the TVSP, from the effective date of the termination of their employment by resignation; unless
    • the individual repays to the Crown a sum equivalent to the number of weeks’ pay or part of a week remaining in the nominal period by reference to the number of weeks’ remuneration paid to them upon the termination of their employment by resignation.

An eligible candidate for a traineeship must be:

  • Be willing to complete a pre-employment declaration
  • Be willing to undertake a National Police Check or other appropriate background screening where required
  • Be suitable to the future needs of SA Public Sector agencies and participate in pre-requisite
    requirements such as an assessment of verbal, numeric and abstract ability if required.
  • Be willing to participate in vocational qualification training requirements of the program. Qualifications as set by the Office for the Public Sector.
  • Be willing to participate in training and professional development activities scheduled over the 12 month period.
  • Meet all other employment and participation conditions of the program including
    travelling independently to and from the workplace, training sites and other sites as determined.
  • Be willing to uphold the Public Sector Values and adhere to the Code of Ethics

Trainees participating in the program will be:

  • offered a 12-month employment contract with a Public Sector agency
  • employed under a training contract – Contract of Training (COT)
  • enrolled to undertake Certificate III in Business, or similar
  • provided with exposure to the diversity of opportunities across government
  • offered job seeking and interview skills workshops for future opportunities

Note: internal agency professional development opportunities may also be offered

To successfully complete the program and be competitive for future SA Government employment opportunities after the 12-month program, a participant must:

  • successfully fulfil the requirements of the Contract of Training (COT)
  • successfully complete the qualification component
  • achieve satisfactory performance throughout their employment and be verified by their immediate supervisor
  • uphold the public sector values and Code of Ethics.

For more information and register your interest in trainee positions visit:

Certificate III in Business

The Certificate III in Business will provide you with an introduction to working in administrative role Government and how this relates to your individual workplace.

The qualification is delivered through a combination of face-to-face training and workplace based assessments. The program is designed to provide learning through a combination of off-the-job and on-the-job training where you will undertake work tasks related to study areas. The combination of study and workplace tasks assists you in developing the skills and knowledge required to work effectively as a South Australian public sector employee.

As a trainee you will receive support from your supervisor, workplace managers, colleagues and specialist staff (e.g. Workplace Safety Representatives) when completing learning tasks and assessments. Upon completion of all learning tasks and assessments, your lecturer will guide you through the assessment checklists.

What is a Unit of Competency?

A Unit of Competency describes the skills and knowledge required to undertake the job function described and is the smallest unit that can be assessed and recognised.

The units of competency for the Certificate III in Business include:

Core Unit

  • Apply knowledge of WHS legislation in the workplace

Elective Units

  • Organise workplace information
  • Design and provide text documents
  • Work effectively with diversity
  • Deliver and monitor a service to customers
  • Organise personal work priorities and development
  • Write simple documents
  • Produce spreadsheets
  • Uphold the values and principles of public service
  • Use workplace communication strategies
  • Comply with legislation in the public sector
  • Work effectively in the organisation
  • Contribute to workplace activities


Your supervisor will work with you to develop a workplan that outlines the tasks to be undertaken in the workplace and link these to your competency outcomes and align the plan with the performance management and development processes of your workplace.

Training schedule

TAFE SA will provide a schedule once you have been enrolled and commenced in the workplace.

Performance Development and Management

Performance management and development is the primary channel for employees to clarify what is expected of them and to then track progress and achievements at work. Performance management and development is essential to building your professional relationship with your manager and helping you to understand how your work ties to the strategic goals and objectives of your agency.

As a state government employee, you will be required to participate in your agency’s performance development and management process. During your induction, your supervisor will meet with you to establish your performance agreement. This agreement provides clarity around expectations, priorities and where you might need specific support or development. All employees in the SA public sector are required to participate in a review of their performance agreement at least twice a year.

While it is mandated that all employees participate in a performance management and development review at least twice a year, informal conversations can and should take place on a regular basis. These regular conversations enable you to provide and receive feedback on your progression in your study and at work. It also enables any issues to be discussed and resolved in a prompt manner. While your manager may initiate some of these conversations periodically, there is no reason why you can’t also initiate them to help clarify expectations, priorities or next steps. Either way, good quality preparation is essential in order for you to take ownership for shaping and delivering on your performance and development plan. The Office for the Public Sector website provides a number of tools to help you to get the most out of your performance management and development conversations.


FAQs and useful links for trainees

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Your first point of contact is your supervisor; if your supervisor is not available please contact your supervisor’s manager.

The Office for the Public Sector Employment Program Team are available to assist if there are issues relating to your work site that cannot be resolved by talking to your supervisor or manager.

If you don’t feel you can discuss your issue with any of the above listed people you can contact your agency’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

What is the difference between my mentor and my supervisor?

Mentors are experienced employees from across State Government who provide you with guidance and support. This may include assistance to develop your skills in the workplace, develop your understanding of the complexities of government, set and achieve professional and career goals. Your mentor is an added support person you have access to during your 12 months program, however, your mentor is not a counsellor or trainer. Mentors are able to provide you with information and connections to services. It is expected that you will attend 10 to 12 mentoring sessions over the course of your 12 month employment.

Supervisors hold a position of authority that mentors do not have. Supervisors delegate, monitor and support your development in the workplace. It is important to establish an open and trusting relationship with your supervisor, so you can develop your skills and address any challenges as they arise.

Why do I have to study?

The traineeship scheme is specifically designed to include a qualification appropriate to the work place and on-the-job training, where the skills learned in the classroom are demonstrated on-the-job, until you are deemed competent.

What is the Training Contract?

The Training Contract, often referred to as a Contract of Training (COT) is the legal document that oversees your traineeship. The Training Contract is an agreement signed by yourself, your employer and the training provider. MEGT is the Apprenticeship Network Provider that will meet with you and your supervisor to sign your contract of training.

When will I start training?

Your study component will commence once MEGT have registered your Training Contract and it has been approved by Regulation and Contract Management in the Department of State Development (DSD).  TAFE SA will be notified of the approval and contact you with an induction date.  At the induction you will be provided with a schedule and details of all your study commitments. Ensure you share all your study requirements with your supervisor.

Who pays for the travel costs for me to attend training?

All employees are responsible for their own travel costs to and from training, within the metropolitan area. If a trainee is required to travel from a Regional Centre to attend training, the trainee’s agency is responsible for providing transport and accommodation if required.

What jobs can I do in the workplace?

Your supervisor will meet with you to discuss the performance management and development process of your agency and work with you to develop a performance agreement. A performance agreement is between and employee and line manager/supervisor that sets out key tasks, priorities and agreed measures for the performance period, in addition to documented learning and development goals and plan. This may include key competencies and behaviours.

Formal reviews of your performance and development will occur at least biannually. However, you are encouraged to meet with your supervisor regularly to ask questions, discuss your work tasks, progress and any other performance and development matters.

If you are asked to undertake any duties or tasks from any persons other than your supervisor, you must discuss this with your supervisor.

How do I get my certificate once I complete my study?

Your certificate (parchment) will be is issued by TAFE SA within four weeks of completing your qualification.

Can I apply for other jobs?

Should you wish to seek alternative employment within the public sector you should discuss your options with your supervisor, as this may have an impact on your studies and Training Contract. You can use the performance management and development processes of your agency to discuss and set future objectives.

The end date for my contract is coming up soon, what do I need to do?

You should make sure that your training is up to date and assessments completed at least four weeks prior to your contract end date. You will receive a letter of completion from TAFE SA via email, this need to be provided to the Human Resources Consultant in your agency who manages the Traineeship program.

Am I guaranteed a job at the end of my Traineeship?

There is no guarantee of a position in the State Government at the completion of your 12 month Traineeship.

All Trainees can register through the Department of State Development (DSD) Skills Register to be considered for positions within the Public Sector.  You will also be able to access employment opportunities through JobSA.


Useful links

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