Kangan Institute Blog

Casual employees vs apprentices

Apprenticeship or Casual work?

If you are just starting your career, the number of choices available to you can be confusing to understand. There are literally countless options waiting, but where to start? Sadly leaping straight into a well-paid secure career immediately is unlikely to be available, but what are some of the best choices for what is? By looking at a comparison between two available options; apprenticeship programs and casual work, we will aim to unravel a bit of detail on the job and training opportunities that are available to you.

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship programs are structured training programs that allow you to get trained and paid – you effectively start your career from the moment you start your apprenticeship. From day one you will learn the basics of your chosen profession, growing in knowledge and skills every workday until you get qualified.

What are the advantages of apprenticeship programs?

Probably the most enticing part is the ability to study and earn money while training; apprenticeship programs offer a proper wage for trainees, however, it is significantly less than what you can earn once you get qualified. Even at a reduced wage though this may be far more appealing than incurring a HECS debt from studying at university. You may also be eligible for subsidised training, as the Government can cover a significant portion of costs for training young people.

You may be thinking, what jobs offer apprenticeships? Well, another advantage is the enormous selection of available courses – there’s literally something for everyone! We offer over 80 apprenticeships across thirteen different disciplines.

Possibly the greatest advantage of apprenticeship programs is the sheer variety of skills you will learn whilst you get trained and paid. Every day working with your employer will provide hands-on training and supported by theory in classroom training which can be translated into your career post-apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship training can also open other doors to build on your career. Some Universities recognise qualified apprentices and the enormous varied learning they can provide. Therefore you may be able to slice significant portions of time off of a Degree or other higher education should you wish to get qualified, like pathway courses to university.

What are the disadvantages of apprenticeships?

The main disadvantage is that; whilst you study and earn money, the starting wages are lower than average. Whilst this may seem unfair, it’s important to bear in mind that you are being trained and paid based on your experience, as your wages increase with your years as an apprentice prior to substantially increasing post qualification. It is something to be aware of that initially at least, your earnings will be limited.

Casual work

Casual work has two main draw cards, flexibility and money. Casual jobs are growing rapidly across many different industries. Its definition is fairly straightforward, a casual job is one that does not have a typical work structure; i.e the job and training opportunities are limited. As well as this, the number of hours worked per week and when are not fixed and generally vary, sometimes by quite a lot depending on the job.

Advantages of casual work

The ebb and flow of working hours inherent in casual work can be a huge benefit if you need flexibility in your working life.

  • Casual jobs can allow for an enormous variation if you have other interests you’re pursuing, making them ideal if you’re also studying.
  • There can be potential to cultivate working hours that complement your study load, reducing it during stressful study periods or exams, and then allowing it to peak during study breaks and holidays.
  • A flexible working arrangement is common if you demonstrate a good work ethic at your job and a sympathetic employer should be prepared to make such allowances if it means they can keep you as an employee.
  • Which brings us to the other flexible option of casual work – there’s generally no need to provide notice if your circumstances change or your job isn’t right for you.

The other notable advantage of casual work is money.

  • In lieu of other benefits, casual workers can earn an extra 20-25 percent over a base rate of pay (referred to as a casual loading depending on the agreement or award).

Disadvantages of casual work

It’s not surprising If a larger paycheck has sold you on the benefits of casual work, it’s certainly a big plus. However, there are a couple of catches:

  • The increased loading of casual work is offered as a financial compensation for a lack of benefits that come with a standard job.
  • Casual workers are not entitled to annual leave, carer’s leave or sick leave, which means no paid holidays and if you’re too sick to work – no pay either.
  • The flexibility drawcard is a double-edged sword too, as there is no guarantee of regular hours or pay with casual work either.
  • You can also be asked to work at short notice too which can put pressure on other aspects of your life.

Finally, your employment can be terminated without notice unless you have a specific agreement in place with your employer that prevents this – most casual workers will not.

If you really are unsure of what you’d like to do a casual job is a great stepping stone. In addition to a paycheck, you’ll learn valuable skills in everything from the importance of punctuality to teamwork and a good work ethic - all skills that can be transferred into your future career. However, if you are keen to make a start on your career, why not have a look at what Kangan Institute has to offer with apprenticeship training? Your career could be a few clicks away!

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