In 2013 when this most recent downturn hit I was made redundant from my job (the joys of working in a support service – you aren’t seen as an income generator so off you go).
I am passionate about youth employment and an opportunity arose for me to work in the apprenticeships & traineeships space.
What I become to learn (and alarmingly so) was that because of the down turn apprentice numbers took a sharp turn south. Companies that had in the previous years taken on a dozen or so new apprentices were only taking on 1 or 2 – or none.
These were for trades that once we come out the other side of the downturn (as past history would show we always do), would be in high demand. These were trades that up until the down turn businesses were recruiting from the eastern states and paying for existing employees to undertake trade upgrades.
Had companies maintained their apprenticeship program, by 2017 they would have had a bunch of tradies finishing their time and ready to work within their businesses, and most importantly, with a skill set tailored specifically to that business.
Apprentices & trainees should be seen by business as a way to bring fresh new talent into the business, to support their succession planning and growth aspirations and to minimise any negative impacts from current or future skills shortages.
And what a better way to have have a workforce trained to your specific business requirements than to grow your own talent. Apprenticeships and traineeships offer you the opportunity to train your up & coming employees in the areas that your business needs the most, providing your business with the skills it needs the most.
You want to know what else is great about employing youth into these roles? They bring a fresh approach & energy into a business which can have a knock on effect to other employees. A company that is willing to invest in people by supporting apprenticeships is showing a positive approach to corporate social responsibility, which is good for attracting both customers and future quality staff. It builds a positive employer brand which in turn will increase your profile as an employer that people want to work for.
And now to address the elephant in the room, I often hear business owners and older employees lament about the younger generation in the workplace; they are lazy, you have to hold their hand every step of the way, they are always on their phones.
Hands up who left school and started their first job and knew EXACTLY what to do? ……… anyone ……… anyone? Nobody can start a new job without some sort of training – ranging from “this is my first job ever and I don’t know how to conduct myself” through to “where do these documents get saved”. If you want your employees to not just exceed, but to excel, you need to spend time with them.
So if I hear “they are lazy” my response is did you asked them why they are sitting around not working; if you are telling me you have to hold their hand every step of the way I would suggest you try alternative ways to communicate, because your current method may not suit their learning style, and if I hear they are always on their phones I’m more interested in understanding why you haven’t told them to get off of it.
Depending on the industry & qualifications employers of apprentices and trainees can attract some great financial incentives with commencement, midpoint & completion payments available as well as well as additional incentives for priority areas and subsidised payroll tax for the bigger employers.
With the new financial year WA businesses can take advantage of the Jobs and Skills WA Employer Incentive. The great thing about this incentive is it is also available for school based trainees, which means you can gain a financial incentive to select and nurture your future employees from upper high school right through to the completion of their apprenticeship or traineeship. There’s a potential $8,500 in incentives on offer for a 4 year trade and $4,250 for a 2 year traineeship – woah!
Nicole Goldsworthy from Apprenticeship Support Australia is a valuable resource for employers within the Goldfields region and can answer your queries, sign your apprentices and trainees up and assist with sourcing reputable registered training organisations. You can email Nicole here.
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