Be a cut above

Group train­ing takes the kinks out of be­ing an ap­pren­tice, Lauren Ah­wan writes

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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.’’

Pic­ture: Bob Barker

IN TRAIN: Hair­dress­ing ap­pren­tice Ashleigh Azar.

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