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Thinking of taking on an apprentice or trainee?

You’re making the right choice

Bringing in new people into a trade is an exciting time that can benefit your business. It can lead to increased revenue, gives back to your trade, and passes on skills that someone once taught you.

The Gateway Programme

Are you an employer that’s interested in getting the next generation into the trades? Gateway could be an alternative solution worth investigating.

Skills’ Gateway Programmes are government-funded programmes that encourage Year 12 and Year 13 students into the workplace by integrating real life experience with school-based learning. The programmes involve a student entering a workplace one day a week, for a period of time, to learn the ropes from experienced tradespeople. This hands-on experience helps students choose a career that’s right for them, along with an introduction to the basic skills to help them succeed in the trades. It’s a great way to give opportunities to the next generation. You’ll also have a potential future employee in your business, where you can see how they fit with your business and existing employees. For more details download the 2021 Gateway Employer Brochure.

How does it benefit me?

It’s good for your business

Taking on an apprentice or trainee can be a rewarding experience for your business, with a return on investment to match. It allows you to recruit employees who are keen to work and make a positive impact on your business. You get to shape them to suit your business, which will benefit you during and beyond their training.

Apprentices also help your business by:

  • Growing your workforce in a cost-effective way
  • Working in the business – so you can work more on the business
  • Keeping you up to date with the latest industry standards by training others
  • Introducing fresh ideas, energy, and a technology- savvy way of thinking

Are you ready for an apprentice?

Now that you know more about the benefits of having an apprentice or a trainee, how do you know if you’re ready to take one on? To check if you and your business are ready to support, have a think about the following:

The right person to do training

Do you have someone in your business who can do the training? The closer they work with the apprentice/trainee, the better. It could be you, a foreman/supervisor, or another employee who is keen to develop their skills and help train apprentices or teach trainees.

Taking time off for off-job training

Some apprentices/trainees need to attend regular off-job training. This requires time off work. As an employer this may affect your workload while the apprentice/trainee is away and you’ll need to plan for it in advance. Your apprentice will be able to tell you when they are required for training. Most employers pay the apprentice their wages when they are attending daytime courses.

Variety of work

You will need to provide your apprentice/trainee with enough variety of work so they can learn the skills and experience needed to complete their apprenticeship/training. If you don’t have enough, have a plan to help your apprentice/trainee get that experience elsewhere. This is quite common and apprentices/trainees are often swapped or loaned out to help complete their apprenticeship.

A training plan

You’ll need to have an idea of how you’ll tackle their training. This could be a formalized training plan, or a looser plan that aligns with the training resources. Take the time to think this through as a solid training plan will make the process easier for both you and your trainee.

Here’s how to get started

Find an apprentice or a trainee

The first step is to find an apprentice or a trainee. They might come knocking on your door or you might need to put the word out that you’re looking for one. 

Choose a training provider (for electrical, plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying apprenticeship only)

Your apprentice is going to need to do some off-job training. This is the training they do at a training provider, usually in a classroom setting. This can mean time off work so you need to make sure it suits both of your schedules. Some training providers need your apprentices to attend block courses which can mean days or weeks off the job. Others will have evening classes or a mix of the two. You’ll need to let your Skills Account Manager know which training provider your apprentice will attend when they’re going through their sign up.

Sign up

Once you and your apprentice are ready to get started, you or your apprentice should give us a call on 0508 SKILLS (754 557). There’s a couple of forms you’ll need to fill out together, so we’ll send these to you. Once we’ve received and processed your documents, a Skills Account Manager will get in touch with you or your apprentice. They’ll run through an induction so you can kick off your training on the right foot.

Once you and your apprentice or trainee are ready to get started, one of you can give us a call on 0508 SKILLS (754 557) to take the next steps.

Attend assessor training (applicable to specific trades only)

Part of taking on an apprentice is assessing their competency at the basic tasks involved with the job. As you’re with them throughout the training, you’re the person who best knows if they’re up to scratch. There’s a short assessor training session that your Skills Account Manager will take you through so you’re confident and able to sign off your apprentice’s on-job assessments.

Group Employment and Training Schemes (for electrical, plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying apprenticeship only)

If your workload is patchy or you don’t want the responsibility of managing your own apprentice, there are companies that will let you hire an apprentice to suit your needs. Examples: Electrical – The Apprentice Training Trust (ATT) and etco; Plumbing, Gasfitting and Drainlaying – ATT and Masterlink.