Resolve issues early with a mentor
Having a mentor support officer on hand can quickly bridge gaps or resolve difficulties that may occur between employers and apprentices/trainees during their training.
Many apprentices take up roles straight from school, so it’s inevitable bumps in the road will occur as they navigate their way from school classrooms to industry learning.
Not only are they learning in an entirely different way, but they are also often navigating major changes to their life as well, such as moving out of home and managing their finances for the first time.
Apprenticeship Support Australia offers free mentoring to all employers and apprenticeships and trainees when they sign up.
Mentor support officers are available in the Perth metropolitan area as well as each region. They can be contacted by either the apprentice/trainee or the employer at any time when an issue starts to emerge.
The advice to both employers and apprenticeships/trainees is that the support is there, it’s free, so contact ASA early because it’s easier to work through a problem in the early stages.
Waiting six months until there are six different issues will make the job of finding a mutually beneficial solution much more difficult.
Once ASA received the call, they will assess what level of support is required and whether it’s just information or needs a visit us to the workplace.
“At the workplace, we will meet with the employer to find out more about the issues. Often it is performance or progression issues with apprentices seeming like they don’t care about the job, are dragging their feet or appearing despondent,” says ASA mentor and support officer Chloe Giblett.
“This will concern the employer because they are investing a lot of time and money into the apprentice. What they say remains confidential.
“Then we meet with the employer and apprentice/trainee. The employer explains that we have come in as a third party to help resolve issues, which are also outlined. We explain that we are there to help the apprentices successfully complete their training, while pointing out that it is something they need to do themselves and the reason why completion may be placed at risk.
“We then meet one-on-one with the apprentice/trainee after this meeting. They will often reveal what the problems are and why they do not want to share certain information with the employer. Again, this information remains confidential.”
It could be that the apprentices/trainee has mental health concerns, is struggling with a new or difficult family situation or even coming to the conclusion that they do not have a passion for the job.
“Knowing information from both parties can be quite empowering for us and means we are in the best possible position to negotiate a successful outcome,” she says.
“We can then offer tips on how to maintain a brave face, where they can go for further advice or assist them to tell their employer what is going in if that’s what they want to do. Sometimes all it takes is for the apprentices/trainee to have a mentor check in on them.
“The range of issues and how different companies perceive problems is vast, which is why a mentor is perfectly placed to come in and help diffuse a small problem before it has time to fester.”