By Ron Maxwell - CEO
It's that time of year when school-leavers and their parents are weighing up career options. It's an exciting time, but also one that can be stressful as you make a decision that can have a long-term impact.
If you haven't considered an apprenticeship, there are many reasons why it should be on your radar. From diverse career options with high job vacancies, to learning while you earn, it can be the start of a fulfilling career. With skill shortages in many trades, you'll be on a pathway with many opportunities and the likelihood of increasing wages. In many industries, opportunities to work for yourself also abound, so those with an entrepreneurial spark can put it to good use.
Apprenticeships are often wrongly considered the option for those who didn’t make the cut to university, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In the digital age, many trades that used to rely on elbow grease are now more about technology, computing and maths; such as automotive, (cars today are more like computers), or even plumbing, where the rise of smart devices is changing the industry.
When it comes to finding the right apprenticeship, it's important to explore your options, and with a proactive approach you can put yourself on the pathway to a great career. Here are my top tips to finding the right apprenticeship.
Speak to your career adviser
Your career adviser is there to support you to reach your career goals, and they can put you in touch with some great programs, like "Try a Trade", where you can spend time working with tradies in different industries to get a feel for the realities of life on the job.
Consider a school-based apprenticeship
If you haven't heard of a school-based apprenticeship, you're probably not alone. In my opinion, this program doesn’t always get the airtime it deserves. It offers the opportunity to start your apprenticeship in Years 10, 11 or 12, delivering on-the-job experience in a paid position and a head start on your apprenticeship while still completing your HSC. This makes sense. More and more trades are relying on a HSC level of mathematics and computing so leaving in Year 10 isn’t always the right pathway.
Talk to an Apprenticeship Network Provider
An Apprenticeship Network Provider, like VERTO, is a great place to start. At VERTO, we start by asking you to take an online survey to match you with a career path based on your skills and interests.
We've seen many people come through our doors who were sure they wanted to do a particular trade, only to find out they were better matched to one they hadn't even considered. Making sure you are well-matched to the right job will set you up for a long-term, fulfilling career.
Your provider can also help to match you with the right employer in your area. At VERTO, we partner with many local employers to match candidates to vacancies, and this gives us a great understanding of not only the opportunities, but the cultural fit too. For example, if we have a highly extroverted employer, we probably wouldn’t match them with an extremely introverted candidate. A good cultural match is critical to the success of the apprenticeship, so working with a team who understands you and your prospective employer can give you the competitive edge.
Attend local events
Each year, VERTO offers "Meet the Tradie" events, a chance to ask tradies the real questions and get a candid feel for life in that trade.
We usually run these as part of National Skills Week, and this is a great chance to learn about potential career paths as there are a host of events around the country. But even if you have missed the boat this year, talk to local providers as there may be other opportunities coming up.
Talk to tradies
If you have a tradie in your family or social network, this is a great opportunity to talk to someone in detail about the job, so make use of it.
Even if you don't, take a proactive approach and contact a local company in your chosen field.
Many tradies would be happy to answer a few questions, and, by taking the initiative, you are showing your interest – so if an apprenticeship opportunity were to arise, you just might be in the box seat.
The choice you make now will play a role in at least the next few years of your life, if not the next few decades. Taking the initiative and proactively exploring options will give you an opportunity to evaluate whether a particular trade is right for you, connect with potential employers and find a career you enjoy.
Apprenticeships offer a diverse range of fantastic career opportunities, so if you haven't considered one before, now might be a great time to take a look. If you are thinking about an apprenticeship and want to explore your options, I encourage you to contact our Apprenticeships team on 1300 4 VERTO or visit https://www.verto.org.au/our-services/apprentices.