Students in the Workplace
As a parent/carer you have a key role to play in supporting your child with their career journey. You are often the first point of call for information, advice and guidance. Your attitude can have a powerful impact on your child’s career development, how they determine their goals and plan their program. Having a positive attitude, some knowledge and access to information can help you support your child to prepare for their future. The information provided about the options available and the recommended advice for parents or guardians can assist you as you encourage your child to make the most of their opportunities.
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Apprenticeships and Traineeships
Apprenticeships or traineeships are a great way to enter the workforce. Working and training on the job means being paid while learning skills and gaining experience. There is also scope to go on to further study or even start a business. Apprenticeships or traineeships can be full-time, part-time, or as part of a senior school program. Young people can start an apprenticeship or traineeship while still at school and complete it after finishing school.
What’s the difference between Apprenticeships and Traineeships?
An apprentice is trained in a skilled trade to become a qualified tradesperson. A full-time apprenticeship generally involves four days per week with an employer and one day per week at TAFE or other training organisation where you gain an industry recognised national qualification. Apprenticeships generally last four years and cover traditional trade areas such as: building and construction; cabinet making; hairdressing; cooking; electrical; automotive; engineering and manufacturing.
A trainee is someone who is being trained in a vocational area, such as office administration, information technology and hospitality. Traineeships are usually shorter than apprenticeships, lasting between one and two years. A number of higher level qualification traineeships have now been introduced which take longer to complete.
How it works
An apprentice or trainee works for an employer while training at a training organisation such as TAFE. The employer assists with the job training and supervises the apprentice or trainee. The training organisation, usually TAFE, delivers the training and provides support throughout the apprenticeship or traineeship.
A school-based apprentice or trainee combines a school program with a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship. The minimum age for entry into an apprenticeship or traineeship is generally 16 years. Young people under 18 years require their parent or legal guardian to sign their training contract.
What does it cost?
There is tuition fees associated with the training. However, some training organisations are funded by the Victorian Government to provide tuition at a reduced cost for some apprenticeships and traineeships. The apprentice and their employer have the option of selecting a government funded training organisation, or can choose to pay for training delivered by another training organisation. There may be other costs such as for clothing, equipment, books and transport. Training organisations have information on funded training and the costs that apply.
What does it pay?
Apprentices and trainees are generally covered by the same employment conditions as other employees under an industry award. However, they are also subject to the conditions of their training contract. The training contract with the employer outlines the workplace training that will be provided. It also confirms the training delivered by the TAFE or training organisation. The training organisation can provide details of the pay rates and conditions of the industry.
What do you do next?
The following links can help you find who to contact to inquire about looking for an apprenticeship or traineeship. Search by your postcode:
Work Experience and Volunteering
Work Experience for students ages 15-18
Young people between 15 and 18 undertaking work experience require their parent’s or carers consent. Parents/carers are required to complete the Work Experience Form with their child and the employer. Many employers are familiar with work experience guidelines. However, parents/carers should also ensure that the employer receives a copy of the Employer Guidelines and is aware of their responsibilities. Parent information about work experience can be found on the Department of Education’s website. It includes video examples of work experience and the Parent’s Guide to Work Experience in many languages.
Students in Volunteer Projects
Volunteering is a worthwhile experience as many volunteers have said in their stories about their volunteer work. Registered volunteer organisations are aware of their responsibilities for safety and supervision of young people. For this reason there are age restrictions on many volunteer projects. Young people new to the workplace may feel uncertain, and may not always know what is expected. Parents can support their child as they decide where to volunteer and in their adjustment to a workplace environment.
Being aware of potential hazards and encouraging communication ensures that activities are conducted safely making volunteer work a rewarding and safe experience. The following suggestions come from WorkSmart Ontario.
How can I help my child select a safe volunteer project?
Let your child determine the type of activities he or she would like to undertake to develop skills or gain practical experience. When it comes down to the final decision, play an active role in helping your child make his or her choice. Here are a few things you should consider:
1. The age and maturity of your child. Are they physically, socially and emotionally ready to handle the activity? If decision-making is required as part of the activity, does your child have good judgement skills? Few people know your child better than you. Your assessment is valuable.
2. Does the volunteer organisation regularly use young volunteers? Can you ask one of the current volunteers to talk to you and your child to find out more about the type of work they do? If they’ve never or rarely used young volunteers, ask about their procedures in inducting new volunteers. If you have doubts consider an organisation which has experience with young volunteers and can talk to you about their processes for inducting young volunteers.
3. Provision of safety instruction. Is your child expected to jump right in to helping, or will they receive training on what needs to be done, a demonstration and some safety instruction? The extent of orientation training may vary depending on the activity and organisation, and continue as new tasks are assigned.
4. Avoiding any activity that involves a hazardous process, biological or chemical hazard. As with any work experience, young volunteers should never operate power tools, work at heights or be exposed to other hazards including hazardous substances.
How can I ensure my child is safe in their volunteer project?
Choosing wisely in the first place will give you peace of mind. Periodically monitoring the types of activities your child is involved in will allow you the opportunity to ask more questions and continue assessing to see if he or she is receiving support and supervision. Encourage your child to ask their supervisor for help and ask questions when they’re not sure about how to perform a task safely. When they come home from spending time in their volunteer work, ask your child about the type of work they did. If it is something different than what they did on a previous day, ask if they received instruction on how to do the new job and if their supervisor was around to demonstrate and make sure they did it correctly and safely. If you spot any dangers from what they say, talk to them about these risks and what they should do to protect themselves. If there are aspects of the volunteer work that make you feel your child is at risk, you and your child should discuss it immediately and take action to discuss it with the organization. Stop the task until the concern is discussed and rectified or, you may decide it is better to find another volunteer project.
Guides to Download
The flyer Parents Talking Career Choices outlines ways to foster your child’s optimism and enthusiasm for their career development and their planning.
Work Experience Guide
The work experience guide assists parents and guardians to better understand work experience and what they can do to support their child to participate.
Apprenticeships and Traineeships
The following guides outline the benefits of apprenticeships, the steps involved in finding a position, areas of skills shortage and places to contact for more information and assistance.
Career Information flyers
Each flyer provides a collection of useful links for people at a particular phase of life or in particular circumstances. Choose from the four available: