By Ron Maxwell - CEO

It’s no secret that Australia is facing significant skill shortages in many apprenticeship careers. From carpentry, to plumbing and hairdressing, we need to address this from many angles but one way we can boost commencements is by listening to young Australians.

Younger generations haven’t been quiet about what they want from employers, and traditional industries like trades, could benefit from thinking about how they can meet these needs. So today, I want to talk about how we can make apprenticeship careers more appealing to our next generation of school leavers.

A positive impact is key

One of the biggest things we hear from millennials is that they want to make a difference and have a bigger purpose. Whereas previous generations may have seen this goal as separate from their working life, young people want this to be part of their chosen career.

From a positive community impact to environmental sustainability, younger workers often want to know that their employer’s values align with theirs, and there are many ways that employers can embrace this. Sustainability is a hot topic and it’s likely that it’s important to your customers as well, so showcasing your credentials here, can be a win on many levels.

It might be things you already do, such as sourcing timber from a sustainable supplier or using energy efficient products, so it may just be a case of communicating this to younger employees and apprentices.

Contribution about more than climbing the ladder

Young Australians also want to feel like they are contributing and constantly learning. This is often put in a negative light, with claims that younger generations are overly entitled in the workplace or wish to be the boss immediately. In reality, this ambitious approach can be a win for employers. A motivated workforce, who want to learn all they can and contribute to the future of the business, as well as the industry, should be embraced.

Employers can use this interest to their advantage to upskill their team, whether through more on-the-job learning opportunities, engaging employees in discussions about the business strategy and operations, or offering support to complete short courses that build additional skills.

Entrepreneurial spark can be embraced

Many young Australians aspire to run their own businesses and while this might feel like feeding your future competition, embracing this entrepreneurial spark can have many advantages. In fact, a study by the Small Business Economics Journal highlighted that employers who don’t embrace entrepreneurial team members simply increase the likelihood that the employee will be motivated to pursue their own, competing business.

Employers who support entrepreneurial team members, on the other hand, often find better performance and more innovation happening within their own businesses. At a time where many industries are at a crossroads, with issues like sustainability disrupting the status quo, it makes sense to embrace new ideas and innovations.

Apprenticeships the perfect career option

In fact, when you consider this career wish list – a chance to make a difference, continuous learning, contribution and entrepreneurial opportunities, apprenticeships are the perfect career option.

In our traditional trades, there are many opportunities to make a difference, particularly now when we still need more tradespeople to support bushfire and flood recovery for many communities. Additionally, apprentices and trainees learn continuously both on-the-job and, in the classroom, all while earning a wage and building a career that offers many opportunities – one day, this will include owning their own business.  

It can start in schools

While employers can certainly embrace and leverage these qualities, school guidance programs can start much earlier to drive interest in a wide range of careers. Students as young as fourteen, make subject choices that can impact their career options, so it would be great to see the conversation around apprenticeships change, to encompass all the benefits on offer.

If industries, employers and schools can work together to showcase apprenticeships and traineeships in a new light, I have no doubt that we can increase apprenticeship commencements in many industries facing skill shortages.

Whether you are an individual seeking an apprenticeship or an employer looking for the right apprentice, VERTO can help. Right now, it’s a great time to consider apprenticeship options, with many subsidies and incentives to support employers and apprentices, so get in touch to explore your options.