Getting work-ready

Organiser Nicole Schafer lost count at 120 of attendees at last month’s school-based apprenticeships and traineeships information evening at the Services Club, and was thrilled with the level of interest.

STANDING ROOM ONLY: There was a great turnout to the school-based traineeships information session from students, their parents and potential employers.

STANDING ROOM ONLY: There was a great turnout to the school-based traineeships information session from students, their parents and potential employers.

“There was such a big response coming from kids and their parents trying to work out the best course of action, and that’s exactly what I wanted,” she said.

Five new business owners also expressed interest in taking on an apprentice or trainee, several from new industries. Her arsenal of prospective fields on employment includes dental, primary industries, real estate, retail, hospitality including cheffing, construction and education (as a teacher’s aid).

Successive speakers spoke of the success of the school-based traineeship initiative, with Department of Education and TAFE representatives addressing the pros and cons of various options.

Some myths were busted about the ability to combine a traineeship with achieving an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) for university entry.

Mrs Scafer recalls in the early 1990s the statistics showed around a third of high school students went on to uni. These days it’s almost evenly split between those that opt for uni and those who get a trade or other employment, despite the growing popularity of school-based traineeships.

She relates one story where a student trained as a hairdresser in conjunction with gaining uni entry, and managed to pay her way through uni with part-time hairdressing work and by becoming the college hairdresser.

“If they really want it, that makes it the right fit.” She said the students become inspired about exploring career options by the work experience they undertake through school. Often it’s looking for a traineeship at the same business.

“Places like Maccas (McDonalds) are looking for more and more placements, and they and KFC take many on through management training,” Mrs Schafer said.

She now has two dozen school-based traineeships in place, and is aiming for 30 by year’s end.