Home' Border Enterprise : Winter-Spring 2010 Contents 14 enterprise
apprentice and trainee
issues with employers,
the most common
reaction heard is --- "I just
don't understand these young kids today. Why
won't they stay?"
Teenagers can sometimes seem like aliens and,
when we --- as employers, are faced with the
prospect of recruiting from this strange race and
placing one of them into our workplace --- it can
really seem a challenge worthy of Doctor Who.
The generation gap is not new. Our parents
didn't understand us, their parents didn't
fully understand them and, as technology,
globalization and social change are now pushing
cultural shifts in very short rotations, this gap is
now less than a generational one. Siblings within
families are often seen with such completely
different perspectives that we may soon need
translators for the family dinner table!
Nowhere has this shift been more evident than
in the workplace. Expectations of employers and
young employees are quite different to that of
20 or even 10 years ago. Some studies have
further revealed that work is not even in the top
three priorities of Generation Y. How then are
we going to attract, train and keep young people
into the jobs needed to support our industry
and manufacturing into the next generation
Manufacturing has come a long way since
the 60s and 70s when many of the supervisors
and trades people of today were trained. It is
a technologically advanced, clean, safe and
modern workplace yet there are still many out
dated employment cultures limiting successful
training and skills transition outcomes.
The team at Australian Industry Group
Training Services (AIGTS ) has been involved in
many studies and has vast experience in the
successful completion of apprenticeships and
traineeships across the manufacturing sector.
The key to success lies somewhere in the middle
--- between traditional values and modern
The AIGTS recruitment process is structured
to ensure a good match of culture, personality
and expectations. Successful apprentices come
into a workplace with 'exposure' rather than
experience. A significant effort is then made
to ensure expectations are matched, for both
employer and employee.
Setting up the apprenticeship from the
recruitment stage is the key to achieving
'stickability' of your new employee: a satisfying
outcome for your supervisors and, ultimately,
the securing of a positive business future for
Pre-employment must haves
• Allow for a tour of the workplace at the
interview stage. Let your potential employee
see and feel what the business is about.
• If the candidate is under 18, invite a parent to
accompany the tour.
• Involve the direct supervisor in the selection
process. Matching personalities is important.
• Use aptitude testing and medicals to ensure
there are no uncomfortable surprises in the
first few weeks.
• Clearly set out employment conditions and
wages at the interview.
First day Induction mistakes
• Using industry jargon too soon. You may find
out a week later that your new apprentice
was too scared to say they didn't actually
understand what you were saying.
• Sitting your new apprentice in front of a
computer for hours to go through the safety
training. Young people supposedly love
computers and technology -- but they also
need human interaction and something
positive to actually do.
• Not allocating time for the supervisor to get
to know his/her new apprentice. Starting
an apprentice on the day your thousands
of widgets have to go out does not foster
positive engagement. If you need extra
hands, try labour hire.
• Forgetting to 'toddler proof' your work
place. Assuming everyone knows what
you can and cannot do leads to mistakes,
embarrassment and lack of confidence and,
in the worst case scenario, an accident
Yes, in 'your day', kids knew what a good
day's work was, understood that a lathe or drill
press is dangerous, did not go out on a work
night, and didn't feel the need to talk to their
friends all day on a mobile phone. They knew
Your future workforce of 2010 comes with
confidence, ambition, a strong sense of right
and wrong and a sincere desire to succeed.
They do know their place --- it's just not the
same one you knew.
The trick for both groups is to meld those two
Industry needs a fresh, young work force and
the effort to work with the alien generation will
be repaid ten-fold in loyalty, innovation and
If your space and time travel skills are a little
rusty, contact Cheryl Arnott from Australian
Industry Group Training at firstname.lastname@example.org.
au or visit the www.aigts.com.au
Alien translation is a speciality.
The generation gap isn't new --- just ask your
parents --- but there are some techniques you
need to know in dealing with Gen Y employees.
FROM PLANET Y
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