Be a cut above
Group training takes the kinks out of being an apprentice, Lauren Ahwan writes
APPRENTICES and trainees registered with a group training provider can receive a much broader learning experience than those signed with a single employer, experts say.
Group Training Australia, the nation’s largest employer network for apprentices and trainees, says the benefits of being able to change host businesses during training are significant.
‘‘ The rotation of apprentices and trainees is a unique feature of the group training structure,’’ says GTA South Australian operations manager Lauren Kimm.
‘‘ With a group training organisation, you have access to a wide variety of host businesses instead of applying for a single position.
‘‘ This provides a wide range of employment opportunities across a range of employer types, from small to large companies, domestic to industrial applications, regional or metropolitan applications.’’
Group training began in the late 1970s in response to the needs of small employers who were unable to commit or afford a full four-year indenture for an apprentice.
It allowed them to take on an apprentice knowing they could be rotated to another employer if work was no longer available.
In South Australia in the second quarter of 2012 alone, 79 apprentices were ‘‘ reengaged’’ or moved from one host business to another.
GTOs organised all aspects of the changeovers as well as off-the-job training with TAFE or another registered training organisation. ‘‘ Group training has a unique niche in Australia’s apprenticeship and traineeship system,’’ Kimm says.
‘‘ By applying to a group training organisation, you are listing your details to a limitless number of potential employers, as opposed to applying for one specific position, with one specific company, in direct competition with every other entry-level budding apprentice or trainee.’’
Jennifer Taylor, head of beauty at the Australasian College, says group training allows apprentices and train- ees to access a wealth of industry knowledge.
‘‘ The group training environment is a nurtured one,’’ Taylor says.
‘‘ Students are exposed to a range of industry practices, with highly experienced educators who want to help them achieve their goals.’’
She says GTOs, such as the Australasian College, encourage students to participate in simulated salon environments and do work experience and industry placement.
Ashleigh Azar, 17, is expecting to finish her hairdressing apprenticeship with the Australasian College mid-next year and says one of the benefits of choosing a GTO is the networking opportunities it has given her.
‘‘ The Australasian College regularly invites inspiring and high-profile guest speakers so we can gain insight from leading hairdressing salons,’’ Azar says.
‘‘ And by studying in a group environment in one location, my skills can progress faster.’’
IN TRAIN: Hairdressing apprentice Ashleigh Azar.