VETnetwork Australia (VA) was successful in gaining funding under the Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring Package to deliver two major projects: AuSkills – delivered in colloboration with WorldSkills Australia, under the Advisors Program stream; and the Mentoring Australia’s Apprentices Project [MAAP] under the Mentoring Program stream.
AuSkills involved the development of 8 major events across the capital cities and 16 smaller events across regional locations in each state and territory of Australia. Attendance at these events capped at 6400 Apprenticeship Advisors across Australia and engaged more than 500 young people from across Australia. AuSkills also incorporated an industry event for up to 300 individuals.
AuSkills was specifically designed to provide information and impart knowledge for targeted cohorts in regards to:
- Vocational Education and Training (VET).
- The world of work including work experience programs, work inspirations programs and structured workplace learning.
- Career pathways and career opportunities.
- Vocational skills including Employability Skills, the General Capabilities and the Core Skills Framework.
Topics for sessions were broad but specifically designed relative to the local education and training context including:
- Issues facing Australian Apprentices in rural and remote regions
- What the data is saying re: completion rates?
- How can existing young Australian Apprentices provide leadership in decision making?
- What profile do Australian Apprentices hold in 2013?
- Australian Apprentices in small to medium sized enterprises - what works, what does not work and what support do employers require?
- Australian Apprenticeships - how best to promote this opportunity to young people?
The Mentoring Australia’s Apprentices Project [MAAP]
The Mentoring Australia’s Apprentices Project [MAAP] is aimed at matching young Australian Apprentices with experienced mentors to increase workplace participation, and to support and raise apprenticeship completions across Australia
MAAP is an initiative of VETnetwork Australia and has been delivered in all Australian states and territories since 2012, in both metropolitan and regional areas. Utilising targeted mentoring, MAAP has been developed to help Australian Apprentices across all industry sectors to successfully progress through their apprenticeship and also supports their employers or supervisors to encourage a positive employment relationship and provide for better overall support and transitions. The Mentoring Australia’s Apprentices Project was specifically focused on the inclusion of participants from under-represented groups including:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian Apprentices;
- Australian Apprentices from regional and remote areas;
- Australian Apprentices with disability;
- Australian School-based Apprentices;
- Female and male Australian Apprentices in non-traditional occupations; and
- Australian Apprentices considered vulnerable youth.
MAAP concentrates on a ‘traditional’ mentoring model based on the establishment of a close mentor-apprentice relationship, generally on a 1:1 or 1:small group basis. The mentoring relationship is developed over time with initial quality screening and training of volunteer mentors, as well as ongoing support and monitoring for MAAP participants. Utilising this model (eg embedded training and 1:1 matching) increases the chance of long term program sustainability, as the knowledge and critical skills are imparted to participants. MAAP offers a mutually beneficial model in that it is supportive of Australian Apprentices/Trainees and also provides a valuable professional development opportunity for current business and employees. Project partners as well as individual employees participating in the program indicate that implementation of mentoring in the workplace has had a positive influence on workplace culture and interpersonal relationships amongst current staff and apprentices/trainees. Development of high quality resources to support mentoring relationships also equip participants (business, employers, schools) with the knowledge and ‘know how’ to embed mentoring into the workplace, and replicate the program in the future, with limited external support.
Since inception the project has enjoyed great success from as far north as Bamaga and Thursday Island down to Hobart, and has supported over 3000 Australian Apprentices and Trainees across Australia to date. This success would not have been possible if not for the support, perseverance and commitment of our project partners and participants. Overall feedback from participants in MAAP strongly suggests that engagement in quality mentoring can improve overall outcomes of Australian Apprentices, including retention. In addition, the outcome of the mentoring has had broad-ranging positive effects for employees (mentors), employers, and industry more broadly.
45% of surveyed Australian Apprentices identified that they had considered leaving their Apprenticeship.
58% of Australian Apprentices reported that the mentoring helped them with their decision to continue in their Apprenticeship ( 26% reported that the mentoring ‘partly’ helped in their decision).
98% of respondents felt having a mentor was a useful support for Apprentices / Trainees.
84% of respondents reported that their participation in MAAP (mentoring) has helped them see their long-term career options.
96% said they would recommend MAAP to other Australian Apprentices.
Working Safe = Living Safe
Working Safe = Living Safe [WSLS] is an initiative of VETnetwork Australia and is funded by the Australian Government under the ‘Living Safe Together’ strategy. Working Safe = Living Safe is a program specifically designed for Australian employers which aims to help build a positive workplace environment and support young employees through mentoring. WSLS will target all industry sectors with the overarching aim of early identification and prevention of marginalisation of ‘at risk’ employees through fostering positive workplace and relationships, building resilience and increasing engagement - through workplace mentoring.
VETnetwork Australia will be facilitating two Working Safe = Living Safe workshops in each state and territory. The program involves participation in a customised workshop which will provide the skills, knowledge and resources to better support the next generation of workforce and ensure their smooth transition into the workforce. Utilising targeted mentoring; WSLS has been developed to help ‘at risk’ employees integrate successfully into the workplace and may also involve support to their employers or supervisors to encourage a positive employment relationship and better overall support.
Working Safe = Living Safe is specifically designed to support Australian employers to:
- Build a positive workplace environment.
- Understand the characteristics or behaviours young people exhibit when they feel vulnerable or disengaged.
- How mentoring can be a tool or method to provide support and resilience for a young person.
- What it means to mentor a young person and help them achieve a better outcome.
The anticipated outcomes of the project include:
- Motivate and build the confidence of the young person to reach their full potential.
- Be a point of contact for the young person when issues or potential issues arise in relation to their professional work experience.
- Empower the young person with the knowledge and capacity to identify and resolve issues autonomously when they arise.
- Encourage the young person to develop their independence and self-reliance in the workplace.
- Identify and assist the young person to rectify problems at the earliest opportunity to ensure that they are resolved before they pose a threat.
- Be a positive role model for the young person and facilitate the development of their skills and capabilities to handle issues impacting on their lives, effectively.