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Considering an Apprentice? Here's What You need to know

There is plenty of reward for getting an apprentice on board.

If your growing business is in need of an extra pair of hands, maybe it’s time for you to hire an apprentice.

Hiring an apprentice can be a challenge at first, but it’s a task that comes with many rewards. Some capable help will (1) free up your time to attend to other critical business functions, (2) allow you to mentor and cultivate a loyal workforce, and (3) you can continue to plan for future growth within your business.

There are also government incentives for small businesses that are willing to hire an apprentice. These incentives can make it easier to bear the cost of an apprentice who need time to gain the experience and skills necessary to deliver the value you need them to.

Benefits

Recruitment – You can train your apprentices in the exact skills you need to service your business. It is sometimes the case that fully qualified tradies may not have the specific skillset you are looking for. So, by hiring an apprentice, you can make sure that doesn’t happen.

Retention – Apprenticeships build loyalty. If you train your apprentice well and foster a good working environment in which they can develop their skills, you are more likely to retain them as an employee once they get their qualification.

New systems and techniques – Because apprentices are learning while also on the job, they are exposed to the latest, most up-to-date systems and techniques, and can transfer that knowledge to the business.

A new perspective – Apprentices are not bogged down by ingrained processes and systems. They can have a fresh perspective on the business that leads to innovation - If you allow them to contribute.

Insurance discounts – WorkCover Queensland are offering a discount on insurance premiums for businesses who directly employ apprentices - not through group training organisations (GTOs).

Wage subsidies – By employing young apprentices, mature apprentices and Indigenous apprentices you may be eligible for wage subsidies to cover the cost of training your apprentice.

Responsibilities

Work out a training contract – Within 14 days of commencing an apprenticeship, you and your apprentice need to work out and sign a training contract.

Stick to the training plan – You need to stick to the training and the range of work set out in the training plan and provide adequate, qualified supervision.

Provide off-the-job training – You need to release the apprentice and pay the appropriate wage for their off-the-job training.

Obey employment law – An apprentice doesn’t mean you can underpay them or provide an unsafe working environment. Everyone deserves a fair pay packet and to go home to their families in one piece at the end of each day. Your apprentice is also entitled to a workplace free of discrimination, harassment and bullying.

You work hard for your employees, they work hard for you, everyone gets treated with respect.

Communicate with the AASN – You need to contact the Australian Apprentices Support Network (AASN) if the circumstances of the business, your apprentice’s employment or their education change.

Process – As set out by the Australian Government

  1. Identify what the job entails and what skills the job needs. These should align with your business needs. Also, do you want a full-timer or a part-timer? Do you have enough business and the right qualified staff to hire the apprentice directly (and be looked after by you directly)? Or are you going to hire an apprentice through a GTO because you don’t have the resources to take on a full-time apprentice?
  2. Recruit your apprentice. There are a number of options for this: put an ad in the paper, send feelers out through the grapevine, get in touch with a job agency or contact a GTO.
  3. Choose a training organisation. Together, you and your apprentice should choose a reputable training organisation. If you’re bringing on an apprentice through a GTO, this step is already taken care of.
  4. Sign and lodge a training contract and plan. Work with your training organisation to organise a contract and plan, which will set out the when and how of important training milestones, as well as the assessments of your apprentice’s skills.
  5. Get in touch with the AASN. You will need to contact your local AASN provider to lodge the signed contract. They will then lodge it with the relevant State/Territory training authority. The AASN will be your first point of contact during the lifecycle of the training contract. Remember: if your business circumstances, apprentice’s circumstances or your/their training needs to change, you must contact the AASN to discuss changes to the training contract.
  6. Complete the probationary period. Usually 90-120 days. This will let you and the apprentice work out if you are a good fit for each other, the company and the job. Once it is over, you will be contracted to each other for the length set out in the contract.

If you’re looking to hire an apprentice and leverage some government incentives for your small business, stay right here at the Truck Assist Blog to find all the advice you need to run a successful small business in the transport and trade industry.