When recruiting, you’re looking for the person who best meets your needs. Apprentices have a similar mindset, they want a company that matches their needs. Australian Plumbing surveyed a group of budding apprentices to find out what they’re looking for in an employer when on the lookout for a place to start their apprenticeship.

Here are the top five responses

The first is a bit of a no-brainer, everyone wants to work for a business that has a good name in the industry. As you’ll be aware, good news travel fast… bad news travels faster! People in the industry tend to operate in tight circles and news of someone who doesn’t pay on time or is recruiting apprentices to only dig trenches rather than teach them about plumbing will spread like wildfire and have the best applicants avoiding you like the plague. Reputation counts!

Your reputation extends beyond you as an operator as well, your ability to provide a quality working environment is essential to selling your business as a desirable place for apprentices to begin building their futures. When people go to work, they have every right to feel safe and respected in the workplace. If you’re going to turn a blind eye to unsafe working conditions on your sites or expect complex jobs to be completed without the right tools and materials, you’re not going to have people knocking down your door to work for you.

In support of this, a great working knowledge and understanding of the industry goes a long way to making an apprentice feel confident that they’re going to learn from someone who knows what they’re talking about. Any gap in your knowledge is most certainly going to be a gap in theirs.

Just like what you’re looking for in an apprentice, they’re looking for an employer with a good attitude, someone that’s going to show interest in them as a person as well as a professional. When you consider that over the course of a day, most people are going to spend more time with the people that they work with than their family, it’s very important that you’re able to maintain good relationships.

And lastly, one of the most common responses from the apprentices we spoke to was patience, and the ability to teach. Now, while apprentices will need to learn to understand that you’re a tradesperson, not a qualified teacher like they’ll have access to at trade school, there still needs to be a good balance of knowledge sharing and support on the job. Being prepared to help your apprentice learn on the job is only going to benefit your business in the long run with a more confident and capable plumber in your team.


With thanks to the members of Master Plumbers who were most generous with their time.