The Trials and Tribulations of a Traineeship
Guest reporter Aaron shares his experiences as an office-based trainee, and offers some tips for finding a traineeship of your own.
8:10am: Get to office. 8:15am: Check and reply to emails. 8:30am: Still replying to emails. 8:45am: Give up on emails, gossip with B from Accounts about The Shire instead. 9:00am: Decide caffeine is needed after talking about The Shire.
Change up the gossip topic and mix and match the excuse for getting a coffee, and you've got the running sheet of my average morning. Welcome to the real-life version of The Office.
I've got my own desk, my own phone number, a schmancy corporate email address and access to the best-stocked stationery drawer I have ever seen in my life. My shoes are shiny, my shirt is ironed to perfection (thanks mum!) and my new skinny grey suit pants from ASOS are the perfect fit. And I only finished VCE last year. I know, right - what's the catch?
No catch, I'm just doing an office-based traineeship.
What's a Traineeship?
"Woah, what's that?" I hear you ask. Good question, grasshopper. A traineeship is a training contract with an organisation that sees you working for them while studying for a recognised qualification, like a Certificate III or IV.
As part of a traineeship the organisation is obliged to give you time during work hours to study, which means a) no homework and b) getting paid to read and answer questions. That's two massive wins in my book.
Traineeships vary in length, and are offered in most industries and through most organisations. Some of the more common types of traineeships are in business administration, tourism, information technology and retail, but you can also do them in travel agency, motorsport (that's right) and even wine-making (gee, that'd be a tough life).
My Traineeship Experience
My traineeship is in Human Resources at my local city council. It sounds a little boring, I know, but I actually really love it. I'm responsible for advertising vacant job positions, organising interviews and meetings, and managing company inductions. It beats selling phones for a year, which tragically, I did in fact turn down.
It was weird going into an office environment from a school environment, which is all I'd known for the past thirteen years. The average age of my fellow workers is on the riper age of 45 and the water cooler talk revolves around their kids and which country they're going to holiday in next.
Even now, six months into my contract, I still find that I'm adjusting to things, like the hours. For someone who used to wake up at 8:45am for a 9:00am school start, convincing my Sleep Cycle app to wake me up by 7:15am so I can be at work by 8:10am was not something I particularly enjoyed.
Having "Trainee" plastered on my name badge is kind of like having an L-plate stuck to my forehead. No one really knows how much responsibility and credibility I'm supposed to have, which means I often get left with the little jobs that no one else really wants to do. It isn't that bad, though - my scanner and I have developed a really close relationship (purely professional, I promise).
It's kind of a catch-22. Things like drudge work and the repetitive nature of my tasks might be the bad side, but there's also a really good side.
This traineeship has given me experience that not many people my age will get the chance to develop. I've also discovered that human resources is the industry I'd really like to work in. In fact, I changed my university enrolments so I can study it next year. It's given me a chance to earn and save money for my studies, and it's also given me something to do with my year instead of sitting around doing nothing.
How to Get a Traineeship
Getting into a traineeship is pretty easy. They're advertised through local newspapers and on job search websites throughout the year, especially towards November. Often larger companies will have a dedicated traineeship program that you can apply for directly. Even simply approaching organisations and asking if they offer traineeships can often land you one.
Government is often a good place to start looking for traineeships - the Victorian State Government offers a range of traineeships through the Employment Start Up - Youth Employment Scheme program, and there are similar ones running in local and Federal government too.
You can also find out more about traineeships (and apprenticeships) - including where to find them, how they work and what your rights as a trainee are - on Youth Central's Apprenticeship and Traineeships pages.
Once you start looking you'll be surprised at how many traineeships there are out there. And the best thing? They don't require you to have any experience.
Best. Gap year solution. Ever.
Tips for Taking on an Office-Based Traineeship
Having been in a traineeship for a while now, here's a few things I'd recommend to help make the experience as beneficial as possible.
- Find yourself a casual job to do on the side - traineeship base wages aren't great, but the experience makes up for it.
- Join a gym - working eight hours a day in front of a computer often means permanent winter weight (most large organisations offer discounted gym memberships, so check with your supervisor if that's something your work offers).
- Learn to manage your work/life balance - Make sure you put aside enough time for sleep, your friends and family and for yourself.
- Learn how to use a planner - As an office trainee, you'll be surprised at how many things you'll have to start remembering.
- Keep up with your coursework - Cramming an entire certificate's study into a month is not a smart option (it's actually a very dumb option).
- Use your traineeship as an opportunity to network - Network with as many people as you can. You never know what opportunities could come out of a good working relationship with colleagues.
So what are you waiting for? There's heaps of traineeships out there waiting for someone just like you.
Like this article? Want to write one like it? Check out our Get Published on Youth Central page!
Check out our Articles Archive for more articles about Work and Study.
The content of these stories and articles are provided for information and entertainment purposes only. The views expressed are those of our roving reporters/editorial team members and do not necessarily reflect those of the Victorian Government. While every endeavour is made to ensure the currency, accuracy and authenticity of content, it can not be guaranteed. The Victorian Government does not accept any liabilities for any loss, damage, cost or expense you or others might incur as a result of the information or advice (or the use of it) on this website or in the articles. People using the site should undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content.