If you’re not 100% sure what you want to do once school is over, but don’t think uni is the answer, you might want to consider an apprenticeship.
Careers look different to how they used to – once upon a time you picked uni, a trade, or a job, and that was pretty much it for the rest of your working life. Now, tradies get degrees in management, uni grads learn trades to round out their qualifications, and a quarter of all Australian students are learning part time while they work or raise a family.
Apprenticeships and traineeships are great because you generally don’t need a lot of skills or knowledge when you start, plus you get quality on-the-job training as well as classroom based training.
That way, when you finish you’ll have all the skills you need to work independently, as well as a formal qualification to prove how awesome you are.
Skilling Australia Foundation found* earlier this year that VET graduates have:
- Higher starting salaries – $56k vs $54k (uni grads)
- A much better chance of being in employment – 78% vs 68%
- And a graduate employment rate of 92%
What’s the difference between an apprenticeship and traineeship?
Apprenticeships are structured so you learn a set number of skills over around 4 years. When you finish you’ll have a nationally recognised qualification.
Traineeships are simply training agreements between you and your employer. They tend to last between 6 months and 2 years, and you may finish with a qualification.
The main difference is usually the industry – apprenticeships tend to be for more technical trades, while trainees might learn business skills or job-specific skills they need before they can be fully employed (and useful).
Finding an apprenticeship might be easier than you think
It’s easy to find apprenticeships if you know what to look for. Most people think of electrical or plumbing trades, but there are a huge number of things you can do with an apprenticeship or traineeship, and you can even get one in the military.
Finding a traineeship or apprenticeship can be a great choice, here’s why:
- You’ll enjoy satisfying and practical work, and in many trades you’ll avoid being stuck behind a desk
- Get paid while you learn, and start living in the ‘real world’ sooner
- You’ll most probably have a job before you finish, and if you do move employers’ you’ll have recognisable skills that make you more employable
- You generally don’t need great marks to get started
The government now offers a huge range of incentives for people and companies to take on trainees and apprentices, which means more are available and there will be lots of support to make sure you finish your training.
How do I get started?
Put together a resume (also known as a list of good stuff you’ve done)
Include everything, and get it checked by someone who loves you (they’ll point out the good things you’ve missed) and someone who’s good with writing (like a teacher – they love helping students prepare resumes).
Find out what free stuff you can get
There’s a huge amount of support out there for apprentices and trainees. You could get allowances and living subsidies, cheap student loans and subsidised training, or cash incentives (like this one in Queensland) to make you more appealing to employers.
Start job searching
Fantastic employers won’t come searching for you (most of the time), you need to go and find them. But it doesn’t have to be difficult – there are heaps of apprenticeships and traineeships in just about every area of Australia, including regional and remote places.
Here’s how to search for a job:
Let people know you’re looking. Tell you teachers, friends, parents (and their friends). Word of mouth is still a great way to get a job.
Search job sites. I’ve listed some below, but simply googling apprenticeships or traineeships in your area will give you a good start.
For example, I searched ‘Aviation apprenticeship Geelong’ – Jora found me 91 jobs. 91! Not all of them are aviation related, but I can learn to be a mechanic, a plumber, roof tiler, cookery apprentice, the list goes on… I also found more jobs here and here with a local employment service, and they’ve even got a Game Design Traineeship on offer.
List with RTO’s and apprenticeship services. Search for Gateway Services in your area, then send them your resume. Many of the recruiters will even help you find a job if they can see you’re keen and ready to go. You could try companies like this one, or Government sponsored groups like this one in the NT.
Other good job sites to search include:
Jobactive – it’s the Australian Government’s job search site, and you’ll find a heap of jobs nationwide. Used the ‘Advanced Search’ feature to select your region and Vacancy Type for a list of apprenticeships and traineeships in your area.
Australian Apprenticeships Network Provider – You’ll need to refine by your location, but this list will give you the contact details and websites for all the major providers and gateway services in your region.
So, if you’d like to earn a good wage, enjoy a secure and rewarding job, and earn while you learn, getting an apprenticeship or traineeship could be the right option for you. And we can guarantee it’ll be a whole lot more fun than spending your life on the couch.
If you’d like more help, or any advice on finding an apprenticeship then talk to your Careers Advisor or Guidance Counsellor today.