So your child has decided to take on an apprenticeship.
Embarking on a new career that combines on-the-job training, work and getting paid while you’re at it?
That’s certainly something to celebrate!
But as the initial excitement wears off and the reality of new responsibilities kick in – well that can be challenging.
And with many Australian apprentices starting out directly from school, the transition to full-time, often labour-intensive work can be a tough one.
Luckily, Apprenticeship Support Australia has some great advice on helping your child really understand what to expect as they embark on their apprenticeship journey – along with some tips on how you, as a parent, can help you guide your child through any ups and downs.
Clarify responsibilities & expectations
First off, it’s important to help your child fully understand what it means to be an apprentice and be aware of what challenges they can expect.
For example, as Apprenticeship Support Australia points out in their guide for parents your child needs to understand they’ve just “entered into a legal contract to work and study to develop the skills in a particular trade”.
And while learning can be the most exciting part, “some of the biggest frustrations young apprentices have when they start their apprenticeships are to do with pay, the hours, the people they work with and the tasks they are given.”
That being said, in order to help your child deal with these frustrations Apprenticeship Support Australia recommends to opening up honest communication about their experiences and concerns.
“It’s also important to help them to be realistic in their expectations.”
Because let’s be honest – work is hard. And that might be particularly challenging pill to swallow in the first six months of your child’s apprenticeship.
“(Remind your child) that work can be physically, emotionally and mentally tough. Explain to your child that if they are finding work hard, that everything they are feeling is totally normal. Remind them that there will be times when they feel like giving up and there will be days when they don’t want to go.”
“Help them to focus on the bigger picture – the value of the trade and what they can do once they have finished their apprenticeship.”
At some stage, low pay rates associated with apprenticeship positions are likely going to hit your child.
But this is actually a great opportunity to teach your child how to budget and make their money stretch, which is an incredibly valuable life skill,.
“(It’s important to remind them that) this is something outside of their control and is only temporary. Teach your child how to budget their earnings.”
(For more Apprenticeship Support Australia advice on setting budgets, check out their guide)
Setting (and kicking) goals
Helping your child set goals will also help them navigate the ups and downs of their apprenticeship journey and remain hopeful and optimistic about their apprenticeship when times get tough.
Asking your child where they want to be in a year or two’s time is a good place to start.
In terms of how they can get there, Apprenticeship Support Australia recommends employing the SMART method:
Source: A parent’s guide to helping their child through their apprenticeship (Apprenticeship Support Australia)
And finally, help your child see the bigger picture when times get tough.
“It’s important to remind your child that the journey they are on may feel like a long one, but it is indeed a short one. While many of their friends will still be at school, you child has started their career and there is a huge amount of value in sticking with the apprenticeship. If they complain that they can earn more money somewhere else, remind them about the great options they will have once they are fully qualified.”
Year13 would like to credit Apprenticeship Support Australia for providing such important information to help parents guide their children through apprenticeships. For more information about their work and support for young Australians, check out their website.