Supporting your high schooler’s path to Apprenticeships and Traineeships

As your high school student prepares to graduate, apprenticeships and traineeships might be one of the pathways on their radar.

Providing hands-on learning opportunities they’re a valuable alternative to traditional university paths, and they’re a great way to help ease your child into full time work.

They’ll be guided and mentored, all while:

  • working on a vocational qualification,
  • gaining real-world experience,
  • making valuable industry networks, and
  • earning a salary.

If your young person is considering this route, we’ve put together some tips to help you support them in finding the right opportunity, set realistic expectations, and encourage them, from their training through to completion.

Start early and explore options together

Encourage your child to begin exploring apprenticeship and traineeship options during high school – they could even start a School-Based Apprenticeship from as early as Year 10.

Find out more about Apprenticeships vs Traineeships to see which one could be the most suitable. This will help to start narrowing down their options.

Attend career fairs, workshops, and information sessions with them. Research industries and companies that offer apprenticeships and traineeships, as well as looking at Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).

Together, you can make a list of potential paths and narrow down the choices based on your child’s interests and skills. Then figure out the next steps together.

Leverage school resources

Contact the Guidance Officer or Careers Advisor at your child’s high school. They’ll be able to provide you with more information and may even have contacts who are looking for apprentices and trainees.

Encourage your child to utilise all the resources to find up to date and relevant information, get help putting together their resume and a template cover letter, and hear about other students who’ve followed the same pathways.

Set realistic expectations

Open and honest conversations with your child about what to expect from apprenticeships or traineeships are important.

These opportunities typically involve a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction, so they’ll need to be prepared to commit to full-time hours.

You might also want to discuss the pay scale – Fairwork’s Pay Calculator is a useful place to start. They might feel disappointed at how low it is in the first year, but keep in mind it will increase with each year they complete.

You could also chat about the duration of the program and their responsibilities, both to the RTO and their employer. It’s going to take and dedication on their part to complete their training successfully, so it will be helpful for them to know what to expect before they commit.

Talk positively

Apprenticeships and traineeships offer loads of benefits, such as job security, gaining practical skills, receiving professional guidance, and valuable work experience.

Doing well can often lead to a permanent job with the same employer once they’re finished. Or if they’d prefer to work elsewhere, they’ll be well equipped to be a great candidate for other jobs.

Emphasising these advantages and highlighting the benefits could help to keep them motivated and upskill without student loan debts.

Universities see vocational qualifications, work, and life experience as positives, so if they decide they’d like to head to university later, their efforts could help to get them a place.

Foster commitment and persistence

Demanding workloads, balancing work with learning, and entering the workforce could all be challenging for your child.

Ask how you can support them or help them to come up with ideas that will help in these situations. You can also talk to the professionals who are supporting them at work and with their learning for their suggestions.

Celebrate milestones

Celebrating each achievement along the way, whether it’s completing an assessment, reaching a specific time milestone, becoming certified, or securing a full-time job after the program ends, are a fantastic way to boost your child’s confidence and motivation.

Check in

Your emotional support and encouragement could make all the difference in their success.

You could ask about their decisions, experiences, challenges, and goals. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or complex.

Your input counts

Completing one of these programs is a huge achievement that could set your child up with a career path that they’ll enjoy for life, or it could be a stepping stone to another qualification and a different career. In either case, they’ll always have the skills and knowledge they’ve acquired to fall back on as well.

Your support and encouragement could certainly help your high school graduate to find and succeed in an apprenticeship or traineeship, and ultimately a successful career.

Find more information

If you’re looking for more practical information and steps to follow, our updated Apprenticeships and Traineeships Guide will be out soon. It has detailed information about the steps to take, finding opportunities, and more. Check here for updates.

Note: If your child’s school is a Study Work Grow or Ponder Member, you can get the Guide for free.


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