Apprenticeships are an excellent way to learn a trade, build your career and start earning money immediately. Plenty of people opt for apprenticeships instead of university as a great way of entering the job market without the costs and time commitment of full-time study. For those who enjoy using their hands and dream of a future in construction a TAFE apprenticeship can be a great opportunity!
Whether you’re just at the beginning of your journey to find an opportunity or you’ve already started, we've got a few tips to help you make the most of your apprenticeship in construction.
1. Commit to learning as much as possible
While apprenticeships work to serve as both an educational and work opportunity, plenty of apprentices treat it as just a job. To get the most out of it you need to approach it as your alternative to full time study. Make a habit of writing down some of the things you’ve learned during the day, sometimes this is good to do at lunch or as a habit to close out your day before you go home. Regardless of your method it’s essential you’re present and paying attention to what you’re being shown. Soak up as much information as you possibly can. TAFE has a set curriculum that you’ll be working alongside - but the experience, skills, tips and tricks you can learn from experienced teammates is worth gold for your development.
2. Make time for your formal study and reviews
Just because it’s TAFE it doesn’t mean there is no formal study. So, make sure you schedule your study time into your week and avoid it piling up. Work-life balance will always be tricky and learning early on how to manage your work life, study responsibilities and social life is a big part of learning how to function efficiently and healthily in the workforce.
3. Practice communication
Communication skills are hands down one of the most important skills you’ll need in any job. On a construction site good communication can mean the difference between a job well done and disaster, or even injury. It can be a little daunting at first to speak openly and build confidence on your worksite, especially if you’re much younger than your work mates. But trust us, practicing your communication skills will pay off big time in the long run. Make a habit of clarifying instructions if you’re unclear, asking questions if you’re unsure about something and voicing any issues you’re having in a clear and respectful manner.
4. Know what’s expected of you
Going into an apprenticeship can feel really exciting but remember that you’re there to learn a wide variety of skills, plus how to be a good team player. For most apprentices to start off this will mean doing a bunch of grunt work and all-rounder jobs, not just hands on building, plumbing or electrical work etc. Be prepared to be cleaning, picking up materials, doing lunch and coffee runs and a long list of other very unglamorous tasks you’d rather not be doing - but remember, being a business owner or supervisor always comes with jobs you don’t want to do. So as long as the jobs are appropriate to your work and don’t put you or anyone else in danger try to do it with a good attitude!
5. Have a good attitude!
Ok this bit deserves a little extra airtime. No matter what area of construction you’re in it’s essential to have a good attitude on a work site. Be polite and respectful to everyone on the worksite, have a sense of humour and work hard. In the future you never know where your next job will come from, so making good contacts is an important step in creating a path to your future success.