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Early training helps youth stay the distance


A young PEER apprentice at work. Picture: Supplied by PEER

Courtesy of The Advertiser.


Not-for-profit, industry-run PEER training group is convinced of the benefits of pre-apprenticeships for both apprentices and employers.


PEER chief executive officer Peter Nolan says the group was set up by industry 33 years ago to provide apprenticeship opportunities for young people in plumbing, electrical, data communications and airconditioning and refrigeration.


Nolan says running an eight-week Industry Ready Training Program for pre-apprentices for the past 12 months has proven the value for young people wanting to pursue a trade. Funded by the State Government’s Skilling South Australia initiative, the program was designed with employers to ensure apprentices are aware of the task ahead and have some basic skills for the work site, making them more likely to complete their apprenticeship and continue a career.


The program also gives pre-apprentices some broad experiences and life skills they can use to “hit the ground running”, Nolan says.


He says 70 young people have been through the program and nearly 80 per cent have moved into apprenticeships with a retention rate, to date, of close to 100 per cent. The average completion rate for apprenticeships in Australia is about 50 per cent across all trades. “Anything that adds to that completion rate is valuable,” Nolan says.


He says the training gives participants some confidence to go into the workplace and be able to learn, perform well and be comfortable.


Even having people decide not to pursue apprenticeships early on is also of value to industry. “It’s better to find out after six weeks than to start an apprenticeship and ... later, decide that’s not for me,” he says. “Because that becomes a very expensive, time consuming process.”


The funding means there is no cost to the applicants, who end up with a uniform, boots and personal protective equipment. “It’s an investment, because the more people who complete, that’s better value for money in the long term,” Nolan says.


For more information, visit PEER or call PEER on 8348 1200.

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