Definition of Common Terms

Apprenticeships
An apprenticeship is a system of training new workers generally within a particular trade. Most apprenticeships are completed in the chosen field as the employer helps the apprentices learn their trade or profession, in exchange for their labour for an agreed period or until they have achieved measurable competencies. For example, an apprentice carpenter will learn the trade by working with an employer in the carpentry field for a certain period of time until they become qualified. See Traineeships.
Casual Employee
A worker employed by the hour and only employed and paid for the hours worked.
Certificate I & II
These provide basic vocational skills and knowledge and are entry-level qualifications to many jobs in Australia.
Certificate III & IV
These provide more advanced training, skills and knowledge in a particular occupation. In Australia, trade qualifications are at this level.
Contracted Employee
A worker whose length of employment, weekly hours, salary and job position are established through a written employment contract with the workplace.
Degree
A diploma awarded often in an academic area and often completed at a graduate college or university to signify that a student has completed a prescribed course of study or has achieved academic excellence. Degrees can range from a Bachelor Degree, which involves 3-4 years of undergraduate study, to a Doctoral Degree, which can require up to a decade of advanced postgraduate study in a highly specialised area.
Diploma
A higher qualification than a certificate, which is often equivalent to 1-2 years of a university degree.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) involves numerous policies of Australian law that aim to ensure that all workers have the right to a workplace free of discrimination or harassment.
Full-time Employment
Employment on a regular basis for the same or more than the standard hours per week worked in the relevant industry.
Part-time Employment
Employment on a regular basis for less than the standard hours per week worked in the relevant industry.
Primary School
Primary School is often the first stage of compulsory education. In Australia it’s often started at the age of 5 or 7 and will continue for 6-7 years.
Redundancy
Occurs when an employer no longer wishes a particular job to be done. In many cases, the position becomes redundant, not the employee, so redundancy may not always result in termination.
Resignation
Voluntary decision by employee to terminate employment with their organisation or workplace. This can occur for a number of reasons.
Retrenchment
Termination resulting from redundancy.
Salary
Any form of payment that comes on a scheduled basis from an employer to an employee. This could be weekly, fortnightly or even monthly.
Secondary School
Secondary School or Secondary College is the second and final stage of compulsory education, however in Australia students can leave upon turning 16. This often starts at the age of 12 or 13 and can continue up to 6 years if the student chooses to graduate.
Superannuation
Superannuation is a regular payment made into a fund, often by an employer, which accumulates for the employee to access upon retirement as a pension. Superannuation funds can be managed in a variety of ways, which can ultimately affect the total amount in the fund.
Taxation
Tax is a financial charge or levy imposed upon a taxpayer (e.g. an individual or an organisation) by a state or government, which contributes to the activities of the state or government. In most cases, failure to pay tax is punishable by law.
Technical and Further Education (TAFE)
An institution of higher education, but unlike university (see University) TAFE is focused more on vocational training as opposed to academic study.
Traineeships
Traineeships often follow a similar structure to an apprenticeship, however as opposed to working in a trade (e.g. carpentry, hairdressing), traineeships are completed in non-trade areas such as hospitality, health, management or business. See Apprenticeships.
Unfair Dismissal
When the Termination from a paid position is harsh, unjust or unreasonable.
Unions
Unions are organisations of workers who have banded together to achieve common goals such as achieving higher pay or achieving better working conditions. They often attain this, when a union representative or leader negotiate with employers on behalf of all members. By Australian law every worker has the choice to join or to not join a union, but in Australia, unions don’t exist in every field.
University
An institution of higher education where students can obtain numerous degrees in undergraduate and postgraduate studies. This is often completed after secondary school.
Vocation
An occupation, in which a person is specially drawn to, suited, trained or qualified for (e.g. a person may be strongly drawn towards a career as a nurse)
Workplace Health and Safety
In Australia, the health and safety of workers is considered of paramount importance and as a result Federal and State governments enforce a range of laws, regulations and policies to ensure that workplaces and workers are kept safe. For example, in many jobs that involve heavy lifting, steel capped boots are to be worn to avoid injury to the feet and back braces may be worn to prevent injury to the spine.