The issue of apprentice and trainee retention is a complex one. That’s because the ability to retain a worker can be influenced by a number of unique and complex factors that will differ from employee to employee.
In order to encourage retention, businesses are recommended to consider a mentoring program that can work closely with the apprentice or trainee to address the specific factors in play.
The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) General Manager of Statistics Sandra Pattison said “completion of an apprenticeship or traineeship is not only influenced by the employer’s economic circumstances but also by the individual’s personal circumstances and their choices during training”.
In July, the NCVER released a report detailing the completion and attrition rates for apprentices and trainees in Australia during 2012.
According to the data, apprentices’ completion rates have decreased slightly from 56.3 per cent for apprentices who started their courses in 2007, to 55.8 per cent for those who began in 2008.
With apprenticeship retention at such low levels, the Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) suggests businesses assess their training system to ensure there is adequate communication and apprentice support.
According to the DETE, retention needs to be seen as the collective responsibility of all stakeholders in the apprenticeship and traineeship program, meaning the employer and employee should work together to ensure all needs are being met.
Unfortunately, many organisations do not have the time, experience or manpower necessary to effectively manage issues that can arise for young people in apprenticeships in Queensland.
For those businesses struggling to offer adequate mentorship, DETE offers some quick and easy tips to address retention issues in the workplace.
Address why apprentices left in the past
Identifying the reasons that cause employees to consider leaving is a good starting point for overcoming these factors and improving retention.
A positive workplace can boost productivity and commitment. Morale can increase an apprentice’s enjoyment of their position.
Motivation contributes significantly to retention and is also helpful in increasing productivity. Motivation can be improved by providing supervision, tangible rewards for work and by offering clear, constructive feedback.
Offer a range of tasks
To prevent boredom and encourage work satisfaction, try to offer apprentices a variety of tasks to tackle. This can also benefit the apprentices overall competence, as they learn a wide range of skills relevant to their training.