Hiring an apprentice? Here are five things you need to knowStuart Taverner
Whatever stage your business is in, an apprentice or trainee could be what you need – particularly if you’re expecting to grow soon, or are simply looking for an employee that’s enthusiastic about knowing the industry inside out. Before hiring an apprentice, here are five things to keep in mind.
1. Know exactly what an apprentice is – and where to find one
For a worker to be considered an apprentice, there must be learning involved on the job. This learning must be directly relevant to them becoming qualified in the trade or vocation they are undertaking, and means that you as an employer willenter into a contract with the employee, while the employee simultaneously enters into a contract with a training provider. Apprenticeships can be full-time or part-time. In South Australia, you can register to employ apprentices via Skills SA.
2. Consider what an apprentice can add to your business
There are many potential benefits of hiring an apprentice: increased workforce flexibility and capability, greater efficiency, an improvement of business reputation, smoother succession planning and more. Plus, if you’re in South Australia, government support is available to help you employ an apprentice (this also applies to other states in Australia, as well as in some countries overseas).
But you’ll need to invest in the apprentice, too. This involves having a suitably qualified supervisor on-hand (whether yourself or someone else from your business) to be responsible for training the apprentice, acting as their mentor and providing practical guidance on the job. This training is expected to be more extensive than it would be for other types of employees you may hire. You know best what your company has the capability to offer at any time, so you need to do what works best for you.
3. Find out the process for hiring an apprentice
Based on where you are in Australia or the world, there are different requirements for hiring an apprentice. For example, in South Australia, you’ll need to follow the state government’s step-by-step guide that includes registering as an employer of apprentices and selecting an Apprenticeship Network Provider. Search ‘employ an apprentice in (your location)’ to identify the rules in your location.
4. Be aware of pay and penalty rates
Like any other employee, apprentices are entitled to worker’s compensation, leave entitlements, protection under health and safety laws, and any other conditions of employment that those working in similar occupations might have. In Australia, they must be paid according to the Fair Work Commission’s awards and agreements.
5. Consider a school-based apprentice
School-based arrangements might work well for your business, particularly if you believe that growth is on the horizon. This means a student could work part-time for you while studying towards a nationally recognised qualification, then convert to a full-time employee once they finish school. Keep in mind that the same conditions apply to school-based apprenticeships as they do with other apprenticeships.
For more information about apprenticeships in your state, please see below: