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5 Tips for Hiring the Right Apprentice Builder

By: Grant King - IndustrySearch Writer
15 May, 2015

Do you tend to hire only qualified tradespeople for your construction site? Do you think the only people who can add value are those with proven track records?

Well, in some cases you'd be right. You obviously can't throw a complete novice into a pivotal role and expect things to go well. But there are all kinds of roles across your site ideal for rookies; career-minded apprentices at the start line of their professional lives.

The enthusiasm and determination they offer your site can be a real shot in the arm, not to mention the skill set they can ultimately bring to the table. So here are five things to look for in choosing the right apprentice.

Find an apprentice who appreciates

And yes, that means finding someone who appreciates you as an employer for providing them with the environment in which to hone their skills. It also means finding someone who appreciates in value.

Your apprentice will be far from the finished product. Think of them as a work in progress, quite possibly even a very green work in progress with undeveloped skills both personally and professionally. Those things will grow in time, but first you need to be sure they have the necessary attitude to want to grow. If they have real desire and a genuine thirst for information and advice, chances are you have a good prospect for the future.

Find the right foundations

Your apprentice is likely to be a teenager straight out of school. So who will they be working and mixing with on your site during their formative weeks? Are they predominantly domineering or accommodating types? What sort of basic personality traits will your apprentice need to survive in their company? Make sure you find someone with the necessary style and steel to succeed in your site's culture.

Find fresh eyes

A good apprentice will bring real energy to your site and a willingness to adapt their growing skills to a variety of roles. They'll also offer a fresh, unjaded perspective on how you operate. So encourage their opinions and insights. At worst they'll grow a foot taller knowing that their thoughts are important to you and, you never know, they may just come up with a gem that rejuvenates productivity.

Find a stayer, not just a student

One of the big benefits of hiring an apprentice is the assistance you get from outside. Your apprentice is required to attend training at a technical college (TAFE) while they work for you.

They'll get ongoing training and you'll get ongoing support and assistance with their development both as a person and employee, not to mention valuable assistance with any disputes.

An apprentice's short term goal is to get qualified. Your short term goal should be to create an environment that becomes part of their long term goal.

Find your inner teacher

Hiring a young, super keen apprentice is a great opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with someone who is ready to learn – you can't really do that with qualified tradespeople. This will quite likely be your new recruit's first job, so you have a great opportunity (and responsibility) to shape their professional persona for many years to come.

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