Response to a post in the CPSISC Forum about apprentices.

The following is my response to a post that says we need to change apprenticeships and training to cater for the school leavers that say a 12 months course is too long.  That have to look at it differently for today’s instant gratification generation.  See the rest of the post by  d:”john kirk.doc John Kirk, Representative at both state and national levels as a Director of ACFIPS Industry Training Advisory Board, contributor to Open 


“Interesting concepts, though I do think that we have catered enough for the so called new instant gratification generation.  That fact is, to be a qualified competent tradesperson is not and never will be an instant gratification career. 

Untrained trade building workers as seen in other countries, build structures that fall down and kill people, they are unsafe and use unsafe work practices.  How can we expect a trade’s person to undertake structural work on an instant gratification basis, it is not possible. 

As far as I can see, and I train apprentices we have removed barriers from Training and Education to a point where even basic math, literacy and communication skills are not the norm for people entering the work force.  People can’t spell correctly; they have trouble calculating the simplest things and have limited hand skills. 

Schools have tried this easy way and are heading back towards basic skills to prepare students for life, employment and the work force (or as it is termed to make students work ready).  Universities, Tafe and Schools are recognising the problems that are discussed here. Employability Skills are recognised in the training package, these skills take time to gain competency in. 

A change in the way training is delivered, is needed not the length of that training as well as the wages of apprentices. I have seen articles that say, low wages are not the reasons for low retention and completion rates in apprentice areas. 

Though this seems to overlook the fact that over the years the age of apprentices has climbed as Governments sought to keep students at school for longer, for whatever reasons. 

The age of people taking up apprenticeships was 15 – 16 years and at that age a person can afford to live on low wages.

1) They still live at home

2) They can’t drive so have no vehicle expenses

3) They don’t have serious girlfriends or an expensive social life

4) They can’t drink and that make things cheaper too.


Now the apprentices are 18 – 20 years old with a year 12 certificate or completion.


They have


1) Girlfriends,

2) Cars,

3) A social life

4) Can drink,

5) They tend not to live at home

6) The have mobile phones (Expensive ones)


They run cars and have to travel sometimes great distances to get to work, this surely, has to reflect a need for a reasonable wage for apprentice workers. Even at the level of the basic minimum wage; which is what the Trade’s Assistant/Labourers on their job site is getting.

Their employers get large payments from the Government to sign them up, at completion and yearly to have apprentices, up to $20,000 in some construction industries, yet they pay their apprentices less than the minimum wage. 

These payments are meant to make up for apprentices being away at training and not initially being profitable on-site workers. Though this changes rapidly after the first 2 years.

As a lot of training is assessed on-site, RPL is given for prior learning and training is restructured to accommodate fast tracking, surely it is time for apprentices (or would be apprentices) to learn their craft or occupation, put in the effort needed to be a trade’s person and reap the benefits of a trade qualified career. 

They also have the opportunity of running your own business with minimal set up costs and earning a very good living in the skills shortage area of the construction industry. 

Oh and that should include a reasonable wage for apprentices, what about supporting the apprentices and the employers, not just the employers.

Well they are my thoughts and I have been training building apprentices for almost 7 years.”

About wallandceiling

I currently design, create and administer over 180 Moodle online courses as part of a project in tafeSA with the BJIT Business Services Team. This project has highlighted a need for training in Moodle and how to implement and maintain courses online. I have been a lecturer in Wall & Ceiling Lining (Drywall for Americans) in Adelaide South Australia involved in the CPSISC validation of the CPC08 National Training packages and the CBA Program to build capacity in assessment through the use of Action Learning and Assessment for Learning principles.
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