The number of apprentices hired in Australia has been decreasing each year for several years, despite the ongoing needs for the important skill sets provided by qualified tradespeople. We think there are many reasons why there’s been such a significant drop in numbers, with one of them simply being employers thinking it’s too hard! Yes, there are a few extra steps involved, but if you’ve been considering hiring an apprentice and you don’t know where to start, here are our top tips!
- Can you make it official?
Ensure the type of position you want to hire for, allows an official apprenticeship to occur. In some cases, a traineeship may be more appropriate. You can check if the position you want to hire for is covered as an official apprenticeship here.
- Be specific in your advertising.
If you’re looking for an apprentice -only position, be clear and specific in your position vacant advertising. Apprentices generally have less experience than other applicants, so reducing your expectations around the number of years of experience will open up the ad to people who are interested in your industry but might not have much background in it.
- Know your responsibilities.
As an employer of an apprentice, you will need to be able to provide employment for the full term of the apprenticeship (this doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with someone unsuitable for 4 years if they don’t work out). You also need to be able to provide the required range of work to teach the apprentice the full scope of the trade. Plus, you will need a tradesperson to supervise the apprentice’s work.
- Choose a training organisation.
Training organisations help you to create a training plan, deliver training, assess the apprentice’s achievements and skills, and ultimately, issue them with their qualification once they’ve completed their training.
- Find an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.
These providers arrange the signing of the apprenticeship training contract. This contract should be signed within 14 days of the start date of the apprenticeship, so it’s recommended that you do this as part of your initial employee sign up, where possible.
- Use the probation period wisely.
Apprenticeship contracts in QLD normally have a 90 day probation period, to assess if the new apprentice is suitable for the role. During the probation period, you should regularly check in with your apprentice, checking how they are enjoying their role, plus provide timely feedback on how they are performing.
- Investigate government incentives.
You will generally be notified of any relevant government incentives by the AASN provider, however, it doesn’t hurt to investigate your options. Currently, WorkCover QLD provides a discount on premiums for apprentices employed, as apprentice wages aren’t counted in the annual wages report.
- Teach useable skills.
Apprenticeships aren’t enjoyable or beneficial when the first year is spent sweeping and cleaning. An apprenticeship is a great way to teach someone many skills they will use for life. Review the agreed training plan regularly, to ensure you’re progressing the apprentice through their on-site training goals.
- Get professional support.
It’s challenging to be an employer, with so much to know, personalities to manage, whilst running your business. At Workplace Central, we’re all about helping employers manage their employment requirements. If you’re ready to hire an apprentice, but you’re not sure what to do, have a chat with us.