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Ensuring the Future of Apprenticeships in Australia’s Construction Industry

Ensuring the Future of Apprenticeships in Australia’s Construction Industry

Ensuring the Future of Apprenticeships in Australia’s Construction Industry

The construction industry in Australia has always been a vital sector, contributing significantly to the country’s economic growth. Similarly, the Australian Apprenticeship System has been vital to the construction industry, delivering a pipeline of skilled, trained individuals ready to commence their careers. In recent years however, even though the construction industry has continued to boom, apprenticeship completion rates have started to fall. 

National data reveals that just 54 per cent of trade apprentices who started in 2017 completed by the end of 2021, down from 57 per cent of those who started a year earlier. One in three now drop out in their first year.

Given the critical skills shortage facing the industry, implementing retention solutions that support employers and apprentices is imperative. Here we look at several ways this can be achieved.

  • Mentorship: Mentorship programs can help to connect apprentices with experienced professionals who can provide them with guidance and support. Mentors can help apprentices to develop their skills, set goals, and navigate the challenges of apprenticeship. This can be supported by employers who choose to engage with external providers such as Add Staff to ensure enough mentoring opportunities are available. 
  • Training and development: Providing apprentices with access to training and development opportunities can help them to develop the skills they need to be successful in their careers. Additionally, outlining clear career progression pathways for apprentices can help them to see a future in the construction industry. 
  • Competitive wages and benefits: Offering competitive wages and benefits can attract and retain apprentices, as can offering flexible working arrangements which can help to accommodate the needs of those who may be juggling their studies with work or family commitments. Employers can also consider offering apprentices options such as part-time work or compressed workweeks.
  • Positive and supportive work environment: Creating a positive and supportive work environment can help apprentices to feel valued and respected. Employers can foster a positive work environment by encouraging teamwork, collaboration, and communication. 

In addition to the above solutions, employers can also consider the following:

  • Offering apprentices the opportunity to work on a variety of projects: This will help apprentices to develop a broad range of skills and experience.
  • Providing apprentices with opportunities to take on more responsibility: This will help apprentices to develop their confidence and leadership skills.
  • Recognising and rewarding apprentices for their achievements: This will help apprentices to feel valued and motivated.
  • Providing apprentices with opportunities to network with others associated with the construction industry: This will help apprentices to learn from others and to develop their professional networks.

In addition to the above solutions, employers and apprentices can also benefit from the following:

  • Government initiatives: The Australian Government offers a range of initiatives to support apprentices and employers. These initiatives include financial assistance, training programs, and employment services. 

By implementing some of the above solutions, improvements to apprentice retention rates can be made, thus creating a more sustainable workforce for the construction industry in future. To learn more about ensuring the future of apprenticeships, contact us and see how you can set up your newest team members for success!



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