258 apprentices have signed up to the Industry Specialist Mentoring for Australian Apprenticeships (ISMAA) program to date and only seven have dropped out, a remarkable achievement of 97.29% retention!
To assist in achieving our retention rates, we have been working closely with automotive businesses, training providers, State and Federal Government bodies to promote our services. These include:
We have delivered formal and in-formal presentations to these bodies, explaining how the ISMAA program and our services function, as well as how we can work with them to increase the retention of first and second year automotive apprentices.
To be able to effectively assist automotive apprentices, we have established relationships with various referral agencies and continue to add services to this list including:
Through our mentoring sessions, we have identified that there are serious issues around literacy and numeracy (LLN) which is impacting on identified apprentice ability to pass their theory testing at trade-school and in some cases affecting their confidence levels resulting in anxiety and a lack of confidence in the workplace.
As a result, we have engaged the services of the Support for VET Students (SVS) Program through Mission Australia, a 12-month pilot project supporting young people aged 17-24 years of age who are undertaking VET courses, apprenticeships or traineeships. The services are providing practical help with studies through LLN training and support. The program also offers ongoing case management support in the areas of mental health. Sessions are carried out either one on one or in small groups, either at the MTA’s RTO during training hours or off-site outside of working hours.
The LLN sessions that have been set up to work with apprentices have been focussed on the following:
- Reading questions, assisting apprentices to read and follow instructions carefully.
- Explore strategies for revising information for theory tests, such as doing so a few days ahead of time, rather than cramming in the morning prior to a test (to commit the knowledge into the long term memory), taking notes.
- Discuss strategies for retaining written information such as writing summaries, highlighting key words, and drawing flow charts and diagrams.
- Reading comprehension, using excerpts from training manuals, developing questions customised to the material (relating to understanding the written word in the excerpt, not from the knowledge that they are learning from the RTO trainers).
- Independent study skills, with the apprentices being introduced to a flashcard phone app, so that they can take their theory revision everywhere with them.
We are working together with Mission Australia on the SVS program to ensure that each referred apprentice is receiving the support they require to assist their learning both at trade-school and in the workplace.
Feedback from apprentices has been excellent with some examples of their comments below:
- ‘The program is helping as I have passed my last 2 theory assessments at trade-school’.
- ‘I have found the program helpful with my writing and I now understand the questions better in the tests’.
- ‘The support has improved my tests results and understanding’.
This program is also facilitating our Automotive Apprentice Mentors Melissa Clark and Tania Reval in providing specialist support to apprentices with their learning, confidence and mental health, which is resulting in increased retention.
As part of the intervention and education program that we introduced last quarter, we have organised the following workshops to be delivered by Headspace and ASCEND which has been well received by the apprentices who have attended:
- What is mental health and what services are available, with a focus on breaking down the stigma of depression and anxiety (Headspace)
- Suicide Prevention Workshop (ASCEND)
A major area of success has been in supporting apprentices who are suffering with mental health or issues at trade-school. As a result of the ISMAA Program, we are supporting them with the one on one assistance they need to remain healthy and happy in their trade.If you would like more information about how our Automotive Apprentice Mentors can assist your first or second year apprentice, click here to email Melissa Clark.