5 skills you'll learn as an apprentice that will take you through life
Fee-free apprenticeships are a proven pathway to employment, job satisfaction, happiness and higher self-esteem. Alongside technical knowledge and on-the-job experience, apprenticeships deliver what experts call ‘employability’ skills—these are core skills needed in every workplace.
According to Federal Government research, around 70% of employers place as much emphasis on employability skills as they do technical ones. Research also shows that building employability skills can fast-track a young person’s journey to full-time work by as much as 17 months.
Read on to discover the five employability skills you’ll learn as an apprentice that will not only help in every job you’ll ever have, but help you weather the ups and downs of life too.
If you play or follow sport, you’ve probably heard the expression ‘a team of champions doesn’t make for a champion team’.
The idea is the same for apprentices, especially in your first years, when you’ll learn that you play an important role in achieving team goals.
For 2018 Australian and NSW Apprentice of the Year Michael Edwards, this meant never being afraid to ask questions and seek clarification before starting a task. “Paying great attention to others’ plans and ideas, and then working with them to get the best outcome were key,” says the mature-aged apprentice, who completed a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician.
For Sydney-based Bianca Caires, who recently completed a Certificate III in Hairdressing, learning her trade and then passing on her knowledge to fellow staff and classmates was a major boost.
“As I trained more, my confidence grew and my positivity started to show,” says the 19-year-old. “Students started to ask me for help, which in turn made me feel more positive about my skills.”
Passion and confidence are contagious — and they’re also the foundation for great leadership. Apprenticeships can help bring out the best in you, in fact, research has shown that apprentices feel happier and have a higher sense of self-esteem than young people in other post-school pathways.
Being resilient means being able to cope with ups and downs, and bounce back from challenges.
It’s one of the key skills the Federal Government believes will be important for the jobs of the future.
Mistakes, uncertainty and setbacks are all part of the journey of life and work, and apprenticeships offer young people a dynamic opportunity to adapt, grow and develop.
Take 23-year-old pastry chef Samantha Trotter. In high school, she couldn’t find an apprenticeship in her hometown of Cooma, in the Snowy Mountains region of NSW. So, Samantha broadened her search to the Illawarra and Southern Highlands. After a work experience stint at the Gumnut Patisserie in Mittagong, Samantha stayed in touch with the owners.
“Fortunately they were pleased with my performance. I kept in contact with them while I completed my HSC and began my apprenticeship in January 2014.”
Samantha studied a Certificate III in Retail Baking (Cake and Pastry)
4. Digital literacy
If there’s anywhere young people have the leg up it’s their social media savvy and quick uptake of technology.
Technology is rapidly changing the work landscape and employees need to keep up – including apprentices in ‘traditional trades’.
“I’ve seen incredible adoption of new technology in the industry in a short space of time,” says Jacob Malcolm, 22, who is completing an electrical apprenticeship. “I can see incredible benefits in using technology to improve processes and increase efficiency.”
Find out more about Jacob’s apprenticeship course: Certificate III Electrotechnology Electrician.
At its heart, good communication is all about being able to listen and understand, and get across your own ideas, opinions and requests.
As an apprentice, you’ll cross paths with mentors, managers, teachers, colleagues and customers. All will expect you to understand them, provide information or complete tasks.
“The knowledge and skills I learnt during my apprenticeship has enhanced my ability to communicate,” says Thomas Burn, 18, who completed a school-based apprenticeship in Merimbula on the NSW South Coast. His qualification: a Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade.
Good communication takes a lot of practice, but it’s a skill that will make your relationships stronger and more rewarding.
How to impress as an apprentice
If you’re looking for an apprenticeship — or being interviewed for one — here are some of the key attributes employers’ value in a young job seeker:
- Positive attitude
- Willingness to learn
- Happy and able to take direction
- Reliable and punctual
VET opens doors to opportunities. It is a proven pathway to a range of diverse and well-paid careers. With 100,000 fee-free apprenticeships and subsidised traineeships on offer, now is the perfect time to explore a career.