More than just trades: How apprenticeships could fuel the jobs of the future

By Ron Maxwell - CEO

Ask most people what they think of when they hear the word “apprenticeship” and they’ll likely give you an answer that revolves around a traditional trade. Plumbers, carpenters, electricians, mechanics; these are the jobs that are synonymous with apprenticeships for most people, and while these are fantastic career options for many, today’s apprenticeships are so much more diverse.

More and more industries are now realising the benefit of an apprenticeship model to find, train and retain tomorrow’s experts, business owners and leaders in their field.

And it makes so much sense. Apprenticeships offer a cost-effective training option that gives employers the opportunity to build the skills they need to meet the demands of their industry into the future. At the same time, it’s a great option for individuals – the earn while you learn model makes an apprenticeship perfect for both school leavers and those looking for a career change.

There’s an apprenticeship for that

There are more than 500 apprenticeship and traineeship vocations, in everything from beer brewing to cyber security. The latter is an area that is really growing, and one many people don’t realise you can do an apprenticeship or traineeship in.

Information technology (IT) traineeships are on the rise, with many companies looking to build skills through on-the-job training, rather than employing a university graduate who has learnt in the classroom not in the field. As an IT apprentice, you’ll learn practical skills to understand, use and manipulate a range of systems and technologies from day one, alongside the skills to communicate and collaborate with others across the business – something you simply can’t learn in the classroom.

If health care is more your speed, there are opportunities here too. With Australia’s ageing population, health care is a growing industry, and with an apprenticeship, you can become qualified in everything from aged care nursing to community services support work, or even working in the hearing industry as an audiometrist.

If getting outdoors and playing a role in environmental care is for you, you can even undertake a traineeship to work in Australia’s national parks and wildlife industry. And this really is just the tip of the iceberg. Whatever your interests, it’s likely you’ll find an apprenticeship or traineeship option that can help you get there.

Supporting the jobs of the future

Apprenticeships and vocational education and training (VET) qualifications are a win for businesses and individuals alike because they are competency based. This means that if you achieve a qualification, you’ve shown you can do it in the real world, not just passed a written assessment on the topic. Essentially, employers don’t have to think about whether you can actually do the job – your qualification is proof, and in a time of huge disruption, this is invaluable.

While this has always been the case, apprenticeships and VET qualifications are just starting to receive some of the recognition they deserve. Last year, it was noted in a global survey that 9 out of 10 jobs of the future will require VET qualifications, and recently the concept of “Advanced Apprenticeships” has really come to public attention as a means to help Australia build skills for the future and strengthen our economy post-COVID.

The concept brings together the best of on-the-job training, VET, and university studies to ensure Australia has the skills to address the challenges of digital disruption, automation and technology across all industries. It’s something that has been tried and tested in other countries, such as Germany, a country that has received global attention for the strength of its apprenticeship system, and it’s no surprise Australia is looking at it in the wake of COVID-19.

Time to look at alternatives to traditional university pathways

Even before COVID-19 brought additional employment challenges, many university graduates were struggling to find full-time work in their chosen field, so it’s clearly time to look at alternatives for the future from a number of angles.

Industry and business associations are also recognising the importance of the VET sector and apprenticeships in the business world, with a recent Business Council of Australia whitepaper stating “We need to break the stigma, reinforced by the biased funding model, that a vocational qualification is any less prestigious than a university degree. It is not.”

VET qualifications and apprenticeships have much to offer as we prepare the existing workforce and up-and coming-generations for a new world of work and give them the skills to face the challenges of digital disruption and global uncertainty. It is clear that VET will need to play a bigger role than ever before as we move to upskill Australians and future-proof our economy.

If you’re interested in finding out how an apprenticeship could help you as an individual or an employer, get in touch with VERTO’s Apprenticeship team on 1300 4 VERTO or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more.