ECA's National Apprenticeship Programs

ECA’s National Apprenticeship Programs

The Defence Trade Program is just one of the many programs ECA deliver to our communities.

The ECA Programs Team are passionate about supporting members of our communities who are often underemployed, underutilised and overlooked for trade careers.

These include:

  • - Defence Intake Program (8-week pathway program)
  • - Females in Trades Program
  • - Legacy Apprenticeship Pathways Program
  • - Enhanced Pathways Programs
  • - Dyslexia Support Program
  • - STAR Program

Additional programs are currently inactive and under reconstruction to ensure the best outcomes. These programs aim to support people with Disabilities, Indigenous, Newly Settled Australians, Ex-Offenders.

For more information about these programs, contact the Programs Team on

[email protected] or call us on 07 3881 3166


Defence Intake Program (8-week pathway program)

  • Construction
  • Shop Fitting
  • Cabinet Making

East Coast Apprenticeships, working with TAFE Queensland, has developed a new veterans Enhanced Pathways Program for carpentry, shop fitting and cabinet making trades. At present, these programs are offered with flexibility, solely to veterans in Brisbane. The program features a platform of skills and experiences in the selected trade in a concentrated eight-week program with one-on-one instruction from TAFE Queensland trainers. The 'trickle feed' entry into this training allows quick engagement for veterans seeking these trades. The extensive network of host employers increases the opportunities for an adult apprenticeship for graduates whose employability skills are heightened through the training.

Females in Trades Program

Females in Trades (FIT) is a mentoring and support initiative created by Group Training Organisation, East Coast Apprenticeships (ECA) to address the under-representation of females in trades in Queensland. The essential role of females in trades has long been recognised, but inspiring women to take up a Trade career continues to be a challenge.

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) 2016 figures state that less than half of all Trainees and Apprentices are female.

NCVER reported that traditionally, females enter Apprenticeships such as Hairdressing or Commercial Cookery, but there is a need to promote non-traditional Trades to females. What was needed to ensure a better completion rate for females working in traditional male roles? Research shows that females that were supported by other females as mentors/role models had a better completion rate.

At East Coast Apprenticeships, we pride ourselves on engaging gender diverse Hosts to ensure that young females who are searching for an Apprenticeship feel supported.

The FIT initiative is run by females for females, offering initial support from promoting various Trade opportunities starting at the school level, to conducting behavioural interviews with potential candidates. Female Apprentices may also have opportunity to be mentored by successful Tradeswomen, and in turn, become involved in an extended network of Tradeswomen by participating in external events and Media & Marketing campaigns.

The Females in Trades Team promote, identify and connect Apprentices and Employers to ensure the right ‘fit’, which in turn encourages retention and success.

Since the FIT Program began in 2015, 73 females have been offered Trade Apprenticeships. This is 5.8% of the 1,256 male and female offerings between 2015-2017.

In 2016, the success of the Females in Trades Program saw ECA win the ‘NAWIC Crystal Vision Award for Advancing and Furthering the Interests of Women in the Construction Industry’. East Coast Apprenticeships continue to support females into non-traditional Trade Apprenticeships in 2020.


1. Working in a Trade industry is the perfect choice for anyone who likes:
•           The idea of not being confined to a desk
•           Physical work
•           Using their hands to create things
•           On-the-job learning
•           Being part of a team environment

2. Diversity in the workplace can start with you!

3. You would be helping meet the skills shortage and the demand for Tradespeople in Australia

4. Women are known to be adaptable, trainable, and are great problem solvers; they are also reliable, have a great eye for detail and are committed to getting the job done

5. Gain a nationally recognized Trade Qualification and earn whilst you learn

6. WHY NOT?! Its about Technique, not physique

If you are interested in becoming a female apprentice OR if you are an employer interested in considering a female apprentice, email us on [email protected] or call us on 07 3881 3166


Legacy Apprenticeship Pathways Program

Helping Legacy supported youth in seeking a pathway into a Trade Apprenticeship Legacy is a charity that provides services to Australian families’ whose spouse or parent have died or become incapacitated either on service or subsequently. Legacy does whatever it takes to enable families to thrive, despite their sacrifice and loss.

Legacy has partnered with East Coast Apprenticeships (ECA) to launch the Legacy Apprenticeship Pathway Program across Queensland. The Pathway offers support to Legacy family members, to secure a Trade Apprenticeship; and leverages off the support of ECA and its alliance Group Training Organisations. ECA commits to work collaboratively with Legacy to promote, support and provide Apprenticeship opportunities to Legacy young people, helping create long-term career paths.

The Legacy Apprenticeship Pathway draws on the significant experience and network capacity of an alliance of GTOs across Queensland. Together with our Alliance Network of GTOs, ECA offers personalised advice and support to Legacy family members seeking a Trade career; and will, where possible, prioritise those family members seeking local Apprenticeships.

ECA pledges to provide Legacy Apprenticeship Pathway participants priority support towards gaining a nationally recognised Trade Qualification through a Group Training Apprenticeship.

If you are interested in becoming a Legacy apprentice OR if you are an employer interested in considering a Legacy apprentice, email us on l[email protected] or call us on 07 3881 3166

Enhanced Pathways Programs

  • Individual Support
  • Commercial Cooking
  • Welding

The ECA Enhanced Pathways Programs aim to create a solid enhanced introduction to a variety of trades and career pathways with a view to securing traineeships/apprenticeships for participants upon successful completion. The enhanced features include robust selection processes, competency and proficiency-based training, specialist non accredited workshops, employer engagement opportunities, employment preparation and genuine exposure to the industry to ensure the career pathway is right for participants.

Dyslexia Support Program

Having researched Dyslexia and the impact that is has on Australians, it was discovered that those diagnosed with Dyslexia can achieve high levels of learning but are often challenged by standard learning practices, particularly where there is a heavy reliance on written text.

In order to help combat this misunderstanding and consequent lack of support, East Coast Apprenticeships now provides a unique structured Apprentice and Trainee recruitment, retention and completion support service for South East Queenslanders with Dyslexia (as well as those diagnosed with ADHD and/or other learning difficulties).

The Dyslexia Support Program uses tailored tools and mentoring techniques to encourage and facilitate successful participation in and completion of a Traineeship or Apprenticeship.

Due to the fact that testing a person with Dyslexia via the functional skills test can set them up for failure, East Coast Apprenticeships has adopted the use of a language free assessment tool called the ‘Q-Test’. This non-language-based assessment helps identify trainability in candidates. This assessment tool has also shown to motivate and encourage participants. Utilising this tool along with the rest of the robust selection process is our way of increasing retention within our Trainees and Apprentices.

STAR Program

Initially commenced in 2001, East Coast Apprenticeship’s STAR Program was rolled out to our branches in 2010 as a work placement opportunity for school-based special needs students, who participate for 2 hours once a week for four weeks.

STAR students are usually sourced from schools with special needs departments and individual special schools that have been contacted by East Coast Apprenticeships. Students with profound disabilities are given priority.

Participants are placed with East Coast Apprenticeships administration staff based at designated ECA branches, whilst undertaking many of the roles associated with general office and reception work in a real work environment. We have extended the Program to include local Ministerial Office of Hon Yvette D’Ath and local member Nikki Boyd.

Students are exposed to a wide range of duties include stapling, laminating, photocopying, file and mail preparation and processing, label making, use of basic computer skills, scanning and filing as well as a range of general office and administration duties that staff may be working on during that time.

Participants have the opportunity to feel they are contributing to the work place and are commended for their efforts in being able to make a difference in a real work environment.

East Coast Apprenticeships has a genuine commitment to provide support to our community. The STAR Program is a unique opportunity for us to offer experiences that young people can draw on for confidence and a broader understanding of the routines in a workplace.

As of August 2020, East Coast Apprenticeships has been able to assist 115 students through the STAR program, with all participants issued with a Certificate of Participation and a T-shirt at the end of their placement period, and the potential of being nominated for the East Coast Apprenticeships STAR Student of the year at our Annual Awards Night.