Carpenter or cabinet maker in his wood workshop

Getting an apprenticeship is no easy feat. It takes a lot of dedication for an employer to commit to train you for the duration of your apprenticeship. I tried plenty of different avenues before I found my love for carpentry. I worked with a lot of different people, tried lots of different trades, and it took me a few years to get to where I am today.

Here are seven quick tips to help you secure yourself an apprenticeship.

1. Know you want it

This probably sound obvious, but it’s really important that you choose the right trade. This might mean you have to trial different industries (ask for one-week trials, do pre-apprenticeships), but it will be worth it in the end knowing you’re happy with what you’ve picked. Do prior research, ask family and friends, speak to tradies you know, Google things.

2. Finish high school

This isn’t a must, but if you’re willing, it’s a really good idea to complete year 12. This will open up your options in case you change your mind about the trade, plus your potential employer will look upon it favourably. Don’t forget, there are also options to complete VCAL or VET studies too.

3. Be confident and adaptable

The image you may have in your mind before you begin your apprenticeship can quickly change when you start your new job. So be prepared to adapt to different circumstances you may not have expected.

4. Get fit before you start

 Trades can be VERY physically demanding. You’re sometimes expected to work in extreme weather, and you’re constantly on your feet. The more you work, the fitter you will get, but it’s a good idea to prepare yourself before you start. There are also support options available for people with disabilities.

5. Consider doing a pre-apprenticeship

 This will take off about six months worth of TAFE when you begin your Certificate III (apprenticeship). This will also give you a taste for the job, and will help you figure out if you’ve picked the right industry.

6. Get your name out there

 Getting an apprenticeship often comes down to who you know, so it can be helpful to network and get your name out there. Your friend’s dad might be a carpenter, or your aunt’s friend could be a plumber. The more people you know, the better your chance of finding an apprenticeship.

7. Starting is the hardest part

Starting out with a new employer can be rough. You’ve got to learn their way of doing things, and they’ve got to learn yours. Don’t let your boss intimidate you; they’re there to teach you the trade, not to make you feel worthless. If you’re unhappy with your employer, don’t be afraid to leave the position and find another employer. It’ll be worth it for your sanity.

– Zeb Walshe

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