How to choose the right apprentice for your business


Apprenticeships are a win-win for employers and apprentices alike. One of the big wins for employers is being able to take-on passionate young people who can learn and grow under their guidance. But as an employer, how can you ensure that your new recruits will fit into your business? With contracts lasting between 12 months and 4 years it’s important you get the right candidate who can thrive in your workplace.

Let’s look at some ways to help you choose the right apprentice:

Offer a great apprenticeship

The best apprenticeships are going to attract the best apprentices. Good candidates are looking for a program that will allow them to learn the tools of their trade under expert guidance and gain experience that will set them up for a successful career. Building good links with trade schools, providing a structured training schedule and offering flexible time to make way for study will make your program more appealing. Think about how you can tailor your scheme to make it attractive to hardworking aspiring apprentices.

Creating a thorough and well supervised apprenticeship program will encourage more applicants.Putting together a high quality apprenticeship program, supported by a government recommended support service, will be attractive to the best candidates.

It’s also worth noting, that while the best candidates are not in it solely for the cash, offering higher than average wages will increase the interest in your scheme and attract more applicants for you to select from.

Define what your needs are

To find an apprentice that’s right for your business you first have to understand exactly what you are looking for. Having only a vague idea or assuming you will know what right is when you see it will make distinguishing between candidates much more difficult – and you could even miss the traits you want to find!

Before starting the hiring process try to plan out:

  • What does the apprenticeship position entail?
  • What skills are required for the job?
  • Are you are offering a full-time or part-time position?
  • What traits are need to fit into your team?

Advertise your position far and wide

You know exactly what you are looking for and you’ve set up a great apprenticeship program, now the applicants need to know about it! Advertising your position will increase the number of candidates and give you a greater chance of hiring the right apprentice.

Have a think about what sort of candidate you are looking for and where they are most likely to be looking for jobs. For example if you want to target school leavers then getting in contact with school career advisors or setting up a pitch at a career fair could be a good option. More traditional job listings like newspapers and job centres are also a great way to reach a large number of people.

Plan out your interview process

You can do a certain amount of screening for your perfect apprentice on paper, but it’s during the interview that you will be able to get a true impression. Having a face to face interview allows you to assess candidate’s personality and get a feel for how they will fit into your workplace. Planning out your questions, expected responses and the character traits that you are looking for is essential for establishing a clear idea of who will fit in best with your business needs.

Apprentices are less likely to have industry experience so it’s important to look for traits which will allow them to succeed and learn in your environment, rather than straightforward workplace skills. Some of the top qualities for apprentices are:

  • Passion: You are looking for someone who will be hardworking and an asset to your team. A passion for the role ensures they will be both.
  • Willingness to learn: An apprenticeship is all about learning new skills. When talking to your candidates think about who it would be most enjoyable to teach and who would get the most out of it.
  • Team player: The best apprentices provide a spare pair of hands for your whole team, helping out where they can.
Knowing what you are looking for in you apprentice will make selecting at interview easier.Understanding the skills you need in your workplace will make hiring the best apprentice more straightforward.

Bear in mind that there are tools available to make the pre-screening and interview process more straightforward for apprentice employers. A range of pre-interview tests can help you to determine everything from basic skills levels to commitment. To learn more about these tools talk to your Australian Apprenticeship Support Service provider.

Request and check references

References are essential to round up your process and get a final character assessment. Even if you feel you got a full picture in the interview, it’s always worth verifying your impressions with those of a previous manager or other contact. If possible seek references from past employers to give an idea of how your apprentice behaves in a work environment.For younger applicants this may not always be possible and school based referees will be offered instead.

How can Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) Services help you?

The amount of preparation required to hire the right apprentice can be daunting – but don’t worry there is help out there. An AASN provider such as MAS National offer ongoing support throughout an apprenticeship and the recruitment process, providing employers with:

  • Assistance with the paperwork required by Australian and state/ territory regulatory bodies.
  • Recruitment services.
  • Selection of training organisations/packages.
  • Workplace checks.
  • Health and safety support.
  • Advice to help choose an apprentice.
  • Advice on apprentice supervision.
  • Help with Industrial Relations issues with apprentices.
  • Advice for apprentice training options.
  • They offer face-to-face, web-based and phone support.

If your looking to perfect your apprentice hiring methods to remove the strain or improve your intake, get in touch with MAS National to see how their services could assist you.