Consider all options when looking for an apprenticeship, writes Lauren Ahwan
APPRENTICES employed by group training or ganisations (GTO) are more likely to complete their training than those employed directly by businesses.
This is despite the increased likelihood of GTO apprentices and trainees being from “disadvantaged” backgrounds.
The National Centre for Vocational Education Research says it is impossible to precisely define the difference in completion rates among various employer models, but its research shows completion rates among GTO apprentices are “substantially higher” than for small and medium direct employers.
GTOs employ about 25,000 apprentices and trainees across Australia. Under the group training model, the GTO is the legal employer of the apprentice or trainee and is responsible for recruitment, matching to a host business, meeting all employer obligations – including paying wages and entitlements – and arranging formal training and assessment.
National Apprentice Employment Network chief executive Dianne Dayhew says GTOs also give apprentices and trainees pastoral care and support, which the research finds is a significant factor in maximising completion rates.
“For some 40 years, group training organisations have been devoted to giving apprentices and trainees the best start to their careers through their industry knowledge and relationships with employers, schools and communities,” Dayhew says.
“The care and support that is provided to apprentices and trainees is a distinguishing feature that can make a real difference between successfully completing and dropping out.”
WPC Group general manager Andrew Sezonov says more than 80 per cent of GTO apprentices complete their training, compared to a national completion rate of 56 per cent.
“GTOs act as a safety net, ensuring apprentices that find themselves out of work with a particular employee are rotated to a new workplace, maintaining above-industry average retention rates,” Sezonov says.
He says mentorship is a “cornerstone” of group training and appeals more to younger people entering the workforce than the apprenticeship models of the past.
“Unlike more traditional supervisory management, mentoring creates a climate of support, guidance and teaching that boosts apprentice and trainee engagement and productivity,” he says.
NCVER managing director Simon Walker says direct employers, particularly small-to-medium enterprises, often struggle to provide the support offered by GTOs.
Aman Meles, 20, completed a community services traineeship through WPC Group and is now employed full time as an information system officer with Queensland’s Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women while he studies a Diploma of Youth Work.
“WPC opened the door for me when no one else wanted to, and supported me throughout my journey, both during and after I completed my traineeship,” says Meles, who last year won two state training awards.