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How to Prepare for a Trade Apprenticeship While at School

How to Prepare for a Trade Apprenticeship While at School

If you’re a high school student considering a trade apprenticeship after graduation, there are several steps you can take to prepare yourself while still at school. An Australian Apprenticeship is a great way to gain practical skills and experience in a specific trade while earning a wage.

Here’s a guide to help you make the most out of your high school years and transition smoothly into a trade apprenticeship.

Why Choose a Trade Apprenticeship?

Before diving into preparation strategies, it’s important to understand why a trade apprenticeship is an excellent option for a long-term, rewarding career.

  • Hands-on learning: Apprenticeships provide practical, on-the-job training that is often more engaging than traditional classroom learning.
  • Earn while you learn: Apprentices receive a wage while developing their skills, which means you’ll become trade qualified without accruing debt like many university attendees.
  • High demand: Skilled trades are in demand across Australia, providing job security.
  • Nationally recognised training: Completion of an apprenticeship leads to a qualification that is recognised across Australia.

How to Prepare for Your Apprenticeship

1. Research the trade you’re interested in

Start by researching the trade you’re interested in. Find out what the job involves, what the working conditions are like, and what the career prospects are. This will help you determine if the trade is a good fit for you and your interests.

You can do this by exploring online resources to gain insights into different trades, attending career expos to talk to industry representatives, and reaching out people working in the trade you’re interested in and ask for their advice.

2. Talk to your school’s career adviser

Your school’s career adviser can provide you with valuable information and advice on trade apprenticeships. They can help you understand the application process, the requirements, and the benefits of an apprenticeship. They can also help you find apprenticeship and work experience opportunities in your area.

3. Choose relevant school subjects

Selecting the right high school subjects can help build foundational knowledge for your future apprenticeship. Key subjects for many different trades include maths (especially for electrical apprenticeships), science, and technical subjects such as woodwork, metalwork, design and technology.

4. Consider a School-based Apprenticeship or trade qualification

Some schools offer the option to undertake a part-time School-based Apprenticeship or Traineeship (SBATs) or trade qualification (such as a Certificate I or II) as part of your course curriculum. This allows you to start your apprenticeship while still in school, gain real-word experience and foundational skills, and gives you a head start on your career. Talk to your school to see if an SBAT or pre-apprenticeship is available to you.

5. Get some work experience

Getting some work experience in the trade you’re interested in can be a great way to prepare for an apprenticeship. This can help you gain practical skills and experience, and it can also help you stand out when applying for an apprenticeship. Look for part-time or casual work in the trade, or consider doing some volunteer work.

6. Develop your soft skills

In addition to practical skills, employers also value soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. These skills are essential for success in any trade. You can develop your soft skills by participating in extracurricular activities, taking on leadership roles, and working on group projects.

Start Your Trade Career Journey

Preparing for a trade apprenticeship while still in high school can significantly enhance your chances of success. Take advantage of every opportunity, from school-based apprenticeships to pre-apprenticeship courses. Get advice from career advisers, explore different trades, and immerse yourself in practical experiences. By the time you graduate, you’ll be well on your way to a rewarding career in a trade of your choice.

If you’re still uncertain about your next steps, MIGAS can help with advice to help you kickstart your apprenticeship journey. Start with our trade apprenticeship specialisation pages to research job options, or learn more about our Future Apprentice Career Service – a personalised career consultation designed for secondary school students.


Published 10/05/2024

In the spirit of reconciliation, MIGAS Apprentices & Trainees acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.