Employing an apprentice or trainee is far more flexible than it used to be. This was the message from Skilling South Australia when representatives addressed the Murray Bridge lunch for the Women in Business Regional Network.
The network has partnered with the Department for Innovation and Skills to present information to women in business across the state on the opportunities available to upskill staff and to employ apprentices and trainees.
Skilling South Australia project officer Melanie Mazurek explained that apprenticeships, traineeships and skilling were no longer a rigid three or four year commitment that they once were.
And, she added, there were plenty of opportunities to tap into financial incentives and support, particularly in regional areas.
Options discussed included part-time trainees, traineeships for existing staff, school-based apprentices and group trainee schemes where small businesses could share the employment responsibilities with others.
Ms Mazurek said the government was committed to creating 20,800 apprenticeships and traineeships in South Australia over the next few years and had changed the way employers accessed information.
Among the changes is the need for employers of apprentices and trainees to be registered and screened by the Department prior to engaging an employee. A 1800 number had also been setup and businesses were urged to call 1800 673 097 if they had queries about upskilling, apprenticeships and traineeships. They could also visit the website skills.sa.gov.au.
Ms Mazurek provided some local statistics about apprentices and trainees.
“Last financial year (2018-19) Retail, Wine Operations and Engineering were the top three apprenticeship/traineeships commenced in the Murray and Mallee Region,” she said.
“Just over 34 per cent of apprentices and trainees that commenced last financial year in the Murray and Mallee region were female. This is higher than any other regional area in South Australia.”
She said this had been an ongoing trend for the past four years with over 37 per cent of apprentices and trainees in the region being female.
Ms Mazurek also gave details about a training project underway at Monarto Zoo focusing on construction in a joint initiative between Skilling SA and Zoos SA.
Network founder Carolyn Jeffrey said a recent survey of members and followers had revealed a surprisingly high number of businesswomen were considering employing an apprentice or trainee in the next 18 months.
“The final results of the survey are still being calculated, but initial results indicate potential for at least 70 new jobs across the state in regional areas just from within our followers,” Ms Jeffrey said.
“The partnership with the Department of Innovation and Skills is exciting as it will provide the women with the opportunity to not only learn about what’s available with regards to support and flexibility for employing apprentices and trainees, but to also provide feedback to those within the department at the decision-making level.”
The network will be returning to the Swanport Hotel in Murray Bridge on Monday, October 21 when the topic will be how to get noticed on Google even if you don’t have a website.