The power of learning a trade – but which apprenticeship is right for you?

Published 4 August 2015

There has never been a better time to consider starting an apprenticeship to kick-start your career!

An apprenticeship offers you hands-on training that leads to a nationally recognised qualification. What’s more, you earn as you learn in your industry of choice.

But how do you decide which apprenticeship is right for you?

You can choose an apprenticeship in more than 100 different areas, including agriculture, automotive, building and construction, civil construction, community services, engineering and hairdressing.

With such a big decision, it is critical that you choose the right apprenticeship for you.  You will need to have passion for the industry and be keen to learn.

Here are some tips to help you decide which apprenticeship is perfect for you and how to maximise your chances to build your career:

  • Get stuck into research

Think about where your skills and interests lie. Does a career in the health services industry appeal to you? Do you have a passion for food? Do you enjoy working outdoors in a practical setting? Talk to friends and family members in the industries you would like to work in and ask them what a typical day in their job involves. Depending on the programs available, there may be different entry requirements. Research online to find out more. You can also email or call us at Skillinvest with any questions. Check out the Skillinvest website or the Australian Apprenticeships website to read the stories of people from all walks of life who have found an apprenticeship worked for them.

  • Diverse types of apprenticeships
    • You can get a head start on your apprenticeship by selecting a School-Based Apprenticeship, which allows you to enter the workforce while completing secondary school.
    • Pre-apprenticeships blend hands-on experience and theory and provide a stepping stone to an apprenticeship in the industry of your choice.
    • You can also undertake Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses as part of your school studies.
    • In a traditional apprenticeship, you combine hands-on workplace learning with trade school.
  • Get your CV up to date
    • Creating a CV that showcases your strength is critical.
    • You may have limited experience or some past experience in the industry of your choice: focus on your skills, interests and passion!
  • Understanding what employers expect
    • Employers love reliability. As an apprentice, you need to show up on time and focus on the tasks presented. Having strong people skills is also beneficial, to allow you to communicate with customers, your employer and work colleagues.
    • At Skillinvest, apprentices and trainees are employed and are placed with host employers which include a mix of small and large businesses, local government, not for profit organisations, national and multi-national companies.  With more than 30,000 apprentices and trainees employed in this way by Group Training Organisations such as Skillinvest, it is little wonder why so many Australians are choosing to go down the apprenticeship path.

One young person who has chosen to go down the apprenticeship path is Thomas Horvath.

Here, Thomas shares his apprenticeship journey so far.

What is your apprenticeship you are completing?

I am completing a Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology.

Where are you completing your apprenticeship?

I am completing this course at a Jaguar and Land Rover dealership located in Doncaster, Victoria.

When will you complete your apprenticeship?

I will complete my fourth and final year of this course in May next year.

What drew you to become an apprentice automotive technician?

Since a child, I always enjoyed taking things apart to find out how they worked and putting them back together again.

I thought why not find a way to get paid to do what I like doing and to learn how to do it properly.

Why did you decide to take on an apprenticeship rather than a university degree?

I was never very good with writing and didn’t enjoy a lot of the curriculum.

I decided early on that TAFE and an apprenticeship with hands on learning would give me the best opportunity to find a job that I enjoy working in.

What are the top three tips you would give to someone who is considering to apply for an apprenticeship?

1) Complete a Pre-Apprenticeship (Certificate II) in a trade that interests you, it will give you a good basis on what’s involved and if you will enjoy it.

2) Good presentation for your interview

3) Go through a training and employment company like Skillinvest

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I cannot really say, completing an apprenticeship opens up quite a few doors in related jobs.

I could stay in my current work place or I could move on to heavy diesel or plant machinery like earthmoving equipment.

You’re not tied down to one specific place. That said, I really like working where I am now.

They have been encouraging and supportive throughout my time here.

I still have a lot to learn and where I am now would provide the opportunity to improve my skills in troubleshooting and other specialist areas.

What does a typical day entail?

A typical day entails arriving at 8:00am for an 8:30am start but after that anything can happen.

That’s why I enjoy this job so much every day is something different and you cannot predict what might come in, ranging from a simple service to diagnosing problems.

Tell me about how you do your theory?

Theory is completed at TAFE.  My employer uses Vantage Automotive College in Sydney, and is a mix of book work with practical exercises in the workshop to back up the books work.

I complete one week per month at Vantage and prefer it to a local TAFE due to Vantage being more specialised to the vehicles I work on.

Tell me about what role Senior Automotive Technicians play with your learning and training?

A senior Technician in the work shop is always around to lend a hand when some jobs become a bit difficult.  They were apprentices as well at one point and as such have a huge amount of experience to pass on.

What excites about being an apprentice?

The most exciting thing about being an apprentice is that I can take everything I have learnt in the workplace and apply it at home to my own needs and uses.  I enjoy diagnosing problems and helping people keep their cars on the road.

Where should you go if you have lots of questions about apprenticeships?

Your local TAFE, organisations like Skillinvest or even friends and family.  Asking questions and talking to people is always free.

To find out more on Skillinvest’s apprenticeships and traineeships on offer, visit