School Leavers: Don’t discount apprenticeships

By Ron Maxwell - CEO

If you are a school leaver who hasn’t decided what you want to do just yet, it's not too late to consider an apprenticeship; and there are many great reasons why it should be on your radar. From the excellent job prospects to earning while you learn, there are many reasons why you might consider this pathway. 

Something for everyone

When we talk about apprenticeships, many people think about the traditional trades, such as plumbing, electrical, construction, etc., and while there are certainly some great opportunities in these spaces, apprenticeships offer far more variety. Today, you can undertake an apprenticeship in a wide range of fields, from cake decoration and baking to aviation engineering. With over 500 apprenticeship occupations, there really is something for everyone. 

Many trade apprenticeships may be worth another look too. Technology and digitisation is changing the face of even the most traditional fields. You only have to take a look at automotive mechanics – a job that was once about manual labour has become about technology, as most cars are run by computers not traditional engines. The skills you need to succeed are changing – and we are seeing a greater need for science, technology, maths and engineering skills than ever before. 

Try before you buy

Many degrees don't give you the opportunity to see what it is like working in the industry until you are well into your studies, or in some cases, until you have graduated. This means you could easily find yourself in the wrong field when you have already accrued a significant HELP debt. 

With an apprenticeship, you are learning on the job; getting a real sense of life in your chosen industry from the very beginning. Additionally, if you work with an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider like VERTO, they will also work with you to assess your interests and abilities and recommend the right apprenticeship options for you from the very outset.

Earn while you learn 

Unlike other forms of study, where you will most likely be balancing your study load with a part-time or casual job, apprentices earn while they learn. Your employer will be teaching you on-the-job skills and paying you a salary, all while you study for your nationally recognised qualification.

You'll also be equipping yourself with a raft of practical skills and you'll develop the kind of workplace soft skills that your friends at university may not learn until they graduate – giving you a real career advantage. And when you graduate, things only get better. Vocational education and training (VET) graduates typically earn $2,000 a year more than university graduates in their first year.  

The future looks bright

Career prospects in many apprenticeship vocations are well above average, and at a time when an increasing number of university graduates are struggling to find full-time work, this is critical. With many industries impacted by skills shortages, wages are only going to grow too, as demand for qualified workers outstrips supply. 

If you decide down the track that you want to continue on to university studies, that's an option too.  VET graduates develop a host of skills that put them in good stead, wherever their career may take them; no matter the industry, every employer wants to hire people with strong interpersonal, communication and soft skills.

A can-do attitude can take you places  

Unlike university entrance, apprenticeships don’t require a set ATAR. Different qualifications will have different requirements, but typically an interest in the field and a can-do attitude are a great start.  Employers want apprentices who are willing to learn – not those who already know it all. 

Many apprenticeship vocations allow you to work in cities, suburbs, or regional areas, meaning you can live and work where you want. You can avoid the city bustle or throw yourself right into it – it's really a career that will move with you. 

Are you ready? 

To find out more about your options, the VERTO website is a great place to start. You can also find out more about the right opportunity for you using our CareerGate tool. If you are ready to take the next step, give the VERTO Apprenticeship Team a call on 1300 4 VERTO.