Mentoring Program Helps Thousands of Apprentices and Trainees Stay on Track
In March 2018, Skillset launched the Mentor Plus program to provide tailored mentoring to mining and construction apprentices and trainees in an effort to improve national completion rates. After more than 18 months mentoring over 1400 apprentices and trainees across the Central West, Far West and Orana, New England and Riverina regions of NSW, Mentor Plus is set to conclude in December 2019.
Skillset was one of 24 organisations selected nationally to deliver the Australian Government’s Industry Specialist Mentoring for Australian Apprentices (ISMAA) program. The ISMAA program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business and provides intensive support for over 40,000 Australian Apprentices in the first two years of their training in a wide range of industries undergoing structural change.
Over the duration of the program, Skillset mentored 1,456 mining and construction apprentices and trainees across regional NSW, with over 95% being retained in the first and second year of their training.
According to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) completion rates of apprentices and trainees who commenced in 2014 have decreased to 56.7%. Skillset CEO Craig Randazzo hopes to see additional mentoring programs introduced to increase completion rates.
Mr Randazzo said, “Mentoring is critical for apprentices and trainees for successful completions. We’ve identified some apprentices we engaged with would have cancelled had it not been for our mentors working with them to identify strategies to keep them on track. As completion rates continue to decrease, we need to ensure apprentices and trainees are given specialist support.”
One of the many success stories was working with electrical and carpentry apprentices who identified they were having difficulties understanding the content in their theory studies due to literacy and numeracy issues. Mentors were able to liaise with TAFE NSW to arrange extra support which included after-hours tutoring. This support was critical in enabling the apprentices to progress to the next stage of their apprenticeship.
The success of the Mentor Plus program would not have been possible without the support of TAFE NSW. Mr Randazzo said, “TAFE NSW has alleviated the challenge of getting access to students and has allowed Skillset to provide holistic support through liaising with teachers and connecting students with various support services.”
Skillset is currently offering apprenticeships and traineeships across western NSW. Apprentices and trainees receive specialist mentoring and support from Skillset Workforce Consultants. Visit the Skillset Job Vacancies page to see the opportunities on offer.
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