By Vikas Rana, Find Jobs
Whether you’re an apprentice already being trained or someone looking for a new opportunity to acquire skills under the guidance of an expert, apprenticeships are an excellent way to learn employable skills while earning on the side. In short, an apprenticeship is a contract between a registered employer and an apprentice where they are trained in all tenets of their profession in order to achieve all relevant qualifications.
While allowing apprentices to build their CV’s and feel more motivated towards their work, apprenticeships allow an on-the-job training and a hands-on approach towards learning the required skills of that particular profession. This guide will present the basic steps in how someone can prepare for, locate and ultimately understand what an apprenticeship means for them.
How to prepare for an apprenticeship
For students, there are a number of industry-accredited Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses that allow students to gain crucial skills for an apprenticeship while working towards their High School Certificate. Almost all VPSS courses lead to nationally recognised Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualifications or either certificates or statements of attainment. All of these courses count towards the qualifications needed and a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education.
There are also a number of places outside of school that offer apprenticeships where students and non-students alike can apply with a standard resume and cover letter. However, gaining a bit of work experience before commencing a proper apprenticeship holds a myriad of benefits: contacts with business owners, referees, shows initiative and gives a beforehand experience of what being an apprentice is like.
Before an interview, it’s important to remember how impactful first impressions are and how they can determine whether you land the position or not. Like a general job interview, it is important to be well-groomed, punctual, have copies of your resume, have a comprehensive knowledge of the company you’re applying for, and bring any and every qualification that may assist in showing competency.
While applying for apprenticeships, it’s also important to remember that employers are looking for tenacity and reliability with their employees. Those who can be punctual, solve problems, show concentration, honesty, loyalty and decent communication skills are often the ones who land more permanent positions in the future.
How to seek out an apprenticeship
With all higher forms of education, apprenticeships often require certain prerequisites to be fulfilled before an apprentice can commence training. Students seeking an apprenticeship will often be encouraged to choose the right subjects for the apprenticeship they desire which can usually be organised by the school’s guidance counsellor/career advisor. A popular example would be hospitality with students completing certificates in their senior years.
Those seeking to undertake an apprenticeship will be able to find many through a range of both online and offline resources. Students can seek the assistance of their Youth Pathways coordinator or a vocational education and training (VET) coordinator or work placement coordinator. A person can also apply online through a potential employer or their current employer, Australian jobactive providers, and training groups, which are all effective ways in seeking out an appropriate internship opportunity. Positions are also posted on newspapers in the job listings
What an apprenticeship can offer you
Apprenticeships, unlike your standard educational models riddled with theory, are more on the practical side of the education spectrum. Sticking close to its roots, those within an apprenticeship work closely under the guidance of an expert within their given professional environment they will be working within once fully qualified. After an apprentice has completed their training, the possibility of a permanent role may come up. Again, this completely depends on a range of factors such as an individual’s level of competency and whether an employer has an available position.
Recently, many students have been turning to apprenticeships instead of attending university due to the debt students are left with after completing their studies. Though, it should be clear now that one isn’t better than the other and that many go on to study at before or after commencing study at a university. Unlike university students, apprentices are usually able to earn and learn at the same time, allowing a student to earn money, learn employable skills and eventually secure themselves for the future.
The difference between an apprenticeship and traineeship
One of the main differences between an apprenticeship and a traineeship mainly has to do with length. An apprenticeship usually requires a person to learn the skills of a select occupation for a period of 2-4 years — similar to a standard degree — yet there is usually not a formal time limit set and the duration of training depends on the level of competency shown. Traineeships, on the other hand, tend to be a lot shorter and cover a more diverse set of skills; however, there are now a number of higher level traineeships that rival apprenticeships in terms of years spent becoming competent.
Besides length, the level of commitment between an apprenticeship and traineeship also differ, as an apprenticeship tends to require more hours and theory work than a traineeship. If a person wishes to cancel their apprenticeship, both parties are required to agree, while either can cancel their agreements with a traineeship. In terms of cancellation, if an employer sells their company during the completion of an apprenticeship, the new owner must continue with the training contract while not needing to do the same for a trainee. And lastly, apprentices often engage in off-the-job and/or workplace-based training while trainees tend to mainly focus on theory within one particular area.