We often hear the complaint from store owners that it’s hard to find suitable recruits to employ and train up as apprentice installers. Where are all the keen, hard-working job seekers?
Unfortunately for our industry, flooring installation does not spring to mind for most school leavers thinking about doing a building or furnishing trade. Unless they have some connection with floor coverings, potential applicants are more likely to gravitate towards electrical, plumbing, carpentry and other high profile trades.
1. For employers, we have produced a questionnaire and aptitude test that they can use with job applicants. This will help them to screen out less suitable contenders and narrow down their selection to the most promising apprentices.
2. For prospective recruits, we are developing brochures and website information that provide facts and figures on the floor covering industry. We will advise them that qualified installers are in high demand, and if they wish to pursue a career path they can step up to supervisory, management or business ownership positions. We can also dispel the myth that installers don’t earn as much as other tradespeople – in fact, given the current shortage of skilled personnel, subcontract flooring installers are amongst the highest paid of all the trades.
In time, we will take this information directly to schools and provide careers advisors with information kits and targeted brochures. We will also offer selected units from the qualification to students under the school-based
If the store owner or contractor has already employed an apprentice, we can transfer them to the Academy at any time from the TAFE institute or RTO they are currently enrolled with. The apprentice will receive a ‘credit transfer’ for the units already completed, and may continue with their existing training plan or modify their selection of units if they wish. Even if there is no refund for prepaid fees, the Newfurn Training Academy will cover all their training fees. The employer incentives will also be unaffected by a transfer.
Prospective apprentices who are worried about their literacy skills shouldn’t be too concerned. As long as they have good practical aptitude and are keen to learn, we will help them where needed with their literacy and numeracy. We recognise the fact that some of the best tradespeople in the industry have great hands-on skills but are not so strong in reading and writing skills.