Why more women should be considering apprenticeships post-COVID

By Ron Maxwell - CEO

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on employment across a broad spectrum of industries, impacting people from all walks of life in Australia and across the globe. But when you look at the statistics, you can see some demographics have been more impacted than others. In Australia, two of the groups disproportionately affected are youth and women.

By mid-April 2020, the unemployment rate was sitting at 7.2% across the country, with 8.1% of women losing their jobs due to COVID, compared to 6.2% of men. We can look to a number of causes for this; for example, we already know that women are overrepresented in less secure employment, such as casual and freelance work, making them more vulnerable to economic downturn. In addition, women were often the ones to take responsibility for care roles during COVID, such as home-schooling children or looking after elderly relatives.

With women and young Australians so heavily impacted, I want to talk today about how apprenticeships may offer opportunities to find new, and potentially more secure, employment – and why more women should be considering them.

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 – so it's perfect not only for school leavers but for those looking to transition careers. 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 workplace soft skills that will give you a real career advantage in a tough job market.

Through the Supporting Apprenticeship and Traineeship (SAT) and JobTrainer programs, the Australian Government is investing significantly in helping Australians upskill and reskill through Vocational Education and Training (VET), so now is a great time to explore your options.

Opportunities abound

As the economy recovers from the combined impacts of COVID-19 and the January bushfires, opportunities will abound in a great range of industries. We will need more qualified workers in everything from construction to healthcare, and an apprenticeship or traineeship is often a great way to break into these industries.

In today's tough job market, many people are considering upskilling or reskilling into an industry or occupation with a strong job outlook, and if this is you, the National Skills Needs List is a great place to start. This is a list of the most in-demand occupations in Australia today, and choosing one of these qualifications for your apprenticeship or traineeship can set you on a great career pathway and may also attract additional government support while you study.

There are a wide range of options out there

From mechanics to wine makers, aviation engineers to healthcare workers, apprenticeships and traineeships offer a wide variety of career opportunities; in fact, there are over 500 apprenticeship and traineeship vocations in Australia today.

The trick to finding the right apprenticeship is to find an industry that is suited to your existing skills and interests. To that end, VERTO recently launched CareerGate, a free, online platform that assesses your skills and interests to find career options that suit you and can even connect you with apprenticeship vacancies in your area.

It's designed for both school leavers and those looking to transition careers, so if you are interested in exploring your options, it's a fantastic resource.

Trades are worth (re)considering

Women make up just 1% of the workforce in traditional trade industries such as automotive, construction and electrical. While there are many contributing factors, there is no denying that perceptions play a significant role. In a research study by Tradeswomen Australia, a key reason parents did not discuss trade careers with their daughters was the perception that they are "a man's role." In the same study, school career advisors cited this parental belief as being one of the biggest barriers to female students exploring trade options.

At VERTO, we see first-hand how female apprentices can thrive in trade industries, finding a fulfilling long-term career. One example that springs to mind is of Sharni, a female cabinetmaker who was the first woman hired by her employer, QA Kitchens. Sharni has thrived in this environment and has found a career she loves, you can watch her story here.

The team at VERTO are committed to helping more women find success in traditionally male-dominated industries, and recently, we announced a partnership with Tradeswomen Australia, an organisation founded to encourage, recruit and retain women in skilled trade roles. We've also recently appointed female race car driver, Emily Duggan, as a VERTO Brand Ambassador. Emily is an inspiration to many, and her story embodies what can be achieved when women take on traditionally male-dominated roles.

An apprenticeship can be a great way to find a new career, particularly in a tough job market. If you are considering your apprenticeship options, contact 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 how we can help you get started.