I can’t find a smart young apprentice. Help!

Hi Aunty B


I am writing to you with some deep seated concerns as I don’t know anyone else I can speak to about this. My field of endeavour lays in the esoteric trades. One of those trades no one knows about unless you need it, and everyone expects it to happen as if by magic. Not exactly glamorous or high profile.


I am becoming increasingly concerned by staff trends. I run an ad for staff and get little response (no great surprise in this market) and frankly I am not concerned so much by the lack of response as to what the lack of response means.


While I know you are not a fan of Gen-Y, on the other hand this is where the fresh blood must come from to replace us Gen-Xs, and I have set in motion a plan to spin off the business in chunks to the next generation so I can carry on and build the business to a new level. Implementation of this plan is going well, however the recruitment and attracting of staff in the right kind of age group area is not.


From speaking with the few Gen-Ys I know, I get the impression they are technologically savvy, aggressive (generally) and want to set the world on fire. This is a great set of qualities for the roles I am looking to fill. However I get the impression Hollywood has for the last decade or so portrayed trades as some sort of menial servants and that I will never be able to attract these people. I really do not know what to do. Can you make some suggestions on how I might make some inroads in this area?


Ballarat, Victoria



Hi David,


I got quite excited trying to work out what esoteric trade you are talking about! OK, OK; I know you are not in the mood for bad jokes as you need to find some fantastic young trade apprentices.


I contacted my friends who pick up apprentices with ease and they had a great suggestion. Contact your local footy teams. Apparently if you are endowed with brawn, then you may be well suited for trades and it’s not just the ability to stride around in tiny shorts carrying huge things!


You can also contact a local training association. And your state government will have a program that can help. I see you are in Victoria, and the Victorian Government for example has a great program, so if you are employing more than five staff, the My Business My People program may be able to help even more.

Now David, you also have to work at your offer. Sell the positives. Say something like who wants a boring office job pushing paper around when they can be outdoors, learning a trade and then run their own business?


Trades are highly desirable professions and just the sort of thing a smart Gen-Y will consider if you present opportunities, training and the right money!


If anyone else can help David or some Gen-Y is looking for a great career, email me and I’ll pass your details on.

Good luck,

Your Aunty B



Chris Gallagher writes: What the heck is an “esoteric trade”?!! I am not really sure of David’s reason for being so vague; is he the only one of his kind in Ballarat?


My only suggestion for David of Ballarat is also to look at the young people in school, completing VET courses and have a real interest in his “esoteric trade”. When these kids complete the work experience component, in his work place, he will get a real look at how they perform and he will get the opportunity to gauge their interest – whether it is real or not – and capabilities.


It is a win-win situation when the students get to see what the trade they have chosen for work experience is really like and it gives employers the opportunity to really advertise their potential as a trainer.

Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch

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