Consider what you will learn, not what you are paid, writes Lauren Ahwan
LOW apprentice wages paid in the first years of training should not deter would-be tradies from pursuing what can be a lucrative and indemand career.
Group training provider MIGAS NSW/Victoria state manager Nick Couper concedes apprentices and trainees do have it tough financially and it can be a hindrance for some to pursue an apprenticeship. But he says the pay improves when they reach their third year of training.
In the meantime, assistance is available for eligible apprentices who are struggling to make ends meet.
‘‘ There’s adult wage subsidies for adults who may have families to support, living away from home allowance and travel and accommodation allowances if you have to travel a certain distance for training,’’ he says.
‘‘ There’s also the tools for trade payment, where you can get up to $1000 a year. And there’s overtime available.
‘‘ Depending on your trade, things do start to get easier somewhere around the third or fourth year – you might go from earning $8 or $9 an hour to $13 to $15 an hour.’’
‘‘( After finishing an apprenticeship) you could be earning $70 to $80 an hour. ( An apprenticeship) is an investment in someone’s career.’’
Zack Cavanagh, 20, is a third-year electrical engineering apprentice with O’Donnell Griffin and is completing his training at TAFE SA, which is teaching students about cutting edge C-Bus technology.
It shows students how to install and program systems that control lighting and other electrical devices from the internet or a smart phone.
‘‘ Heaps of industrial warehouses are installing (C-Bus) now so learning all this is pretty important,’’ he says.
‘‘ And getting paid (to learn through an apprenticeship) is always better.’’
ON COURSE: Electrical engineer apprentice Zack Cavanagh.