Many people reflect on their career choice at one time or another. Understandable considering the average person now has far more career changes in their life than any generation before it.
Whether through fear of the unknown or of being able to meet financial and family commitments, a mature age apprenticeship might seem a risky option but if you are thinking of switching careers it is worth considering.
Being able to get paid while you learn new skills to use in jobs with strong employment prospects are pretty big motivators but there are some downsides too.
If you want to know all the pros and cons and find out if a mature age apprenticeship is for you, read on.
Mature age apprenticeships: Pros and Cons
Pro: You get paid
While you undertake your apprenticeship, you will be paid including the time spent studying at TAFE or training.
For many attempting a career switch, additional study is something they have to juggle while working or going without a wage.
Obviously, this can make things very stressful trying to manage all your commitments.
Thankfully as a mature age apprentice this won’t be an issue and once qualified the pay rates can be quite good with many high paying jobs that don't require a degree.
Con: You might have to take a pay cut
While you will get paid while you are learning your trade, you may still need to look at your budget.
As you are in training, you wouldn’t be earning the same wage as qualified tradespeople so it is important to think about how much you may have to budget.
You can find the most up to date pay rates on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
Pro: Lack of experience doesn’t matter
We are sure you have heard the stories of entry-level positions being advertised requiring several years of experience.
As an apprentice, you are expected to not have the knowledge and employers are far more interested in things like work ethic, attitude, and team fit.
As long as you can show you are keen and willing to get stuck in your resume shouldn’t hold you back.
Con: The basic tasks might not be easy or exciting.
The first few months you will likely spend a lot of time watching how things get done or performing simple tasks.
If you are undertaking a more complex trade those few months might even take up the first year. You have to be prepared to take a step back and be patient.
While the more menial tasks may not be the most fulfilling it all contributes to your understanding of the job.
Pro: There is a lot of work available
Employers are crying out for more staff in certain skilled and semi-skilled trades. While it’s hard to predict, based on long term trends this demand doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
You may be surprised just what industries are having difficulties hiring.
If you are wanting to change up your career but are not exactly settled on a new path it might be worth checking out the Governments skills shortage list
Con: It may be less secure or require a longer commute
While the demand for workers is strong sometimes the consistency of that work is not. Companies expand and contract their workforce depending on work in their pipeline, for example, the availability of big construction jobs.
You may already be used to this depending on your career experience however if you have come from quite stable and secure employment previously you will have to ready yourself for this.
It’s also worth pointing out that a lot of the demand for these jobs are in more regional and rural areas. While in inner cities the competition is tough.
That’s not to say there are no mature age apprenticeships available in bigger cities just that you may have to search a little harder.
Pro: There can be a lot of variety in your work
Depending on the trade you work your day can be filled with jobs that require a range of skills.
You may have to employ a range of creative and analytical think skills as well as carry out more physical tasks to do your job.
For some, this is the most fulfilling part of working in the trades. Even if the trade you work in or the jobs you tend to work on might be similar, no two work sites are ever the same.
Con: The work can be tough
Working in the elements and being on your feet, knees or in awkward positions for long stretches may be a part of your job.
It will depend on the apprenticeship you get as some trades are more physical than others.
However, as we mentioned earlier, the menial tasks that you may be doing at the beginning of your new career tend to be the more physically tough jobs.
It is best to have a chat with people in the industry first about what the job entails. Particularly if you have some physical limitations or injuries.
There are lots of things to consider when thinking of signing on to a mature age apprenticeship. The first step is to talk to your consultant at MAX to see how they can assist you.
Either through possible training and upskilling, finding the right opportunities or guiding you through the application and interview process.