You probably already know that now is a bloody perfect time to start an apprenticeship. Australia needs more tradies, so it’s a pretty solid choice to start training as an apprentice round about now. Our mates at AGA are the people to see if you’re interested in starting an apprenticeship and located in Victoria.

Once you’ve got all the logistics sorted, you’ll be ready to actually start your apprenticeship. Obviously, things are going to vary from job to job and industry to industry, but here’s what to expect before you start.

1. Pay

One of the massive perks of doing an apprenticeship is you’re literally being paid to learn- and the amount only goes up from your first year. While anyone studying at uni will have their debt piling higher and higher as they progress through their degree, apprentices will just see their pay going up as they become more and more qualified. Pay varies from industry to industry, so we can’t give you an exact number, but it’s definitely one of the major perks of being an apprentice.

2. You need to look after the tools

Starting out you’re going to be borrowing other people’s tools. Over time, you’ll gradually build up your own stock pile of tools that you can chuck around but when you’re borrowing someone else’s stuff, you need to respect it. Quality tools aren’t cheap, and when you get your own you’ll realise just how important they are.

Always ask before using someone else’s tools and be careful with them- don’t chuck them around like you did with your old school bag. You need to keep ‘em clean (as much as you can) and in working order. If there’s any issues with them, tell the person training you as soon as possible- don’t try to hide the damage and pretend it wasn’t you.

3. If you mess up, own it

Sometimes you’re going to make mistakes. You’re learning, so you’re not going to know everything there is to know about your trade straight away (that’s the whole point of doing an apprenticeship). It’s understandable if you make a genuine mistake, just own it. Don’t try and palm the responsibility off on someone else or make excuses for it- you’re an adult now and there’s no point acting like you belong in primary school when you’re working on a job site.

4. Stay off ya phone

There’s nothing worse than an apprentice that spends the whole day on their phone. Leave your phone in your esky and check it when you get a drink. You’re going to be learning a heap of new stuff and it’s just going to annoy your boss if you’re constantly on your phone instead of paying attention. Once you’ve put in the hard yards you’ll get a bit more freedom but to start with, put it away.

5. You’ll be putting in some hard yakka

As a first-year apprentice you’re going to be putting in some hard work, but it’s all worth it. Long gone will be the days of being stuck behind a school desk, itching for some fresh air or to stretch your legs.

As an apprentice there will be days when you’ll be tired, your shoulders will ache, and you’ll wish you could just crawl back into bed. It’ll all be worth it though: when you finish a job and knock off at the end of the day you’ll get to stand back and actually see all your handiwork, which is pretty damn satisfying.

On top of that, you’ll learning some practical, on the job skills that will actually come in handy in the long run (some of you will technically be able to build yourself a house when you’re finished).

6. Get used to some early starts

A lot of tradies start at 7 in the morning, sometimes earlier, which means you’ll need to get to the site at 6:45. Early wake ups can be rough when you’re just starting your apprenticeship and are coming from the 9am bell times of high school.

Eventually, you’ll get used to it and find other ways to get some extra sleep. Some tradies will leave for work early, beat all the traffic, and have a nap in the car before clocking on. Others will ride shotgun and sneak in a cheeky nap on the way to the job site. Early starts mean you’ll usually be heading to bed earlier than usual as well, but don’t freak out, you’ll still have plenty of time in the arvo when you knock off around 3:30.

Our mates over at AGA know everything there is to know about apprenticeships and traineeships and they want to help you out with starting one.