How to get a plumbing apprenticeship in 2022Cat McCarthy
It’s the end of the school year for year 12’s, our future leaders. And what a year these guys have had with limited access to all of the good stuff about graduation year (learning to drive, friends, school formal) but all of the stressful stuff (study, exams, pressure, isolation, masks, uncertainty). The end of school coincides with an entrance into adulthood. Opportunity. Growth. Responsibility.
It is also the time many Apprenticeships become available as companies pounce on their future workforce.
When McCarthy Plumbing Group last advertised for an apprentice position, we received well over 100 resumes and pulled the job advertisement after only a few days due to the overwhelming response. Since the Victorian Government subsidized many TAFE courses, including the Pre-Apprenticeship in Plumbing (Certificate II), most of these applicants also had a qualification in plumbing, meaning they were serious about the career they were entering into. What this does to employers however is makes it really difficult to shortlist applicants for an interview! Many large plumbing companies will recruit a number of apprentices every year, throughout the year. However smaller companies, like us at McCarthy Plumbing Group, may only require apprentices once per year and they tend to stay on throughout their entire apprenticeship due to the variety of our projects. This means as an applicant you really need to stand out from the crowd!
Here are some tips for prospective plumbing apprentices (from someone who will be looking through all of the applications!):
We want to hear from you. The applicant. Not Mum or Dad. And I’m saying that, as a Mum, who still wipes her 4-year old’s bottom when really, he could be doing it himself… I get it, they are our babies, and we want what is best for them and we want to tell the world how amazing they are! But we will be employing your son or daughter, and we really need to get to know them and assess why they’d be the best fit for our team. By all means Mum and Dad, ask me about the position, screen us, quiz us about our values and our safety record, but let your son/daughter do the official application bit, its great practice for them.
Get some experience. Work experience in the industry you are applying for is best, but 2020 has thrown a spanner in the works for that to be a possibility for everyone. As I mentioned in a previous blog, work experience is one of the best ways to get an Apprenticeship as employers get to ‘try before they buy’. But if you haven’t had the opportunity this year, don’t despair. Get innovative. Raid the shed, create a project, learn how to use power tools (safely). Apprentices are always a bit ‘green’ but there are many different shades of green.
Do what the application asks of you. This is the very first test we give our future employees on whether they can follow instructions well. If a job advertisement asks for a resume and a cover letter, send a resume and a cover letter. If the advert asks for KPI’s to be addressed, or a specific question answered with your application, answer it. Remember if over 100 applicants are applying for the same position, you’re unlikely to progress very far if you haven’t completed the application appropriately.
First impressions count. If you’re invited in for an interview (or online via zoom) be on time, be polite, ask questions, do your research. Wow them so much that they will have no choice but to make you part of their team.
Finally, good luck! Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get selected for an interview, or you don’t get an Apprenticeship at the company that was your top pick. When you finally do land that Apprenticeship you will have 4 years to complete it and can always move companies later on. This can be particularly good if your current company only does one aspect of plumbing (say HVAC, roofing or new volume build homes) and you would like to complete a variety of different plumbing activities throughout your apprenticeship.