Copy of Website Blog Banner 1 v2
Data & Behavioural Insights

The drop out risk factors facing your apprentices

Apprentices face a relatively high risk of drop-out. We know from NCVER's completion statistics that individual completion rates for apprentices and trainees commencing their training in 2016 was just 56.1% for all occupations, for example.


There is no doubt we need to improve. Part of this will be a deeper understanding of risk factors. While many AASNs and GTOs will have a good understanding of risks, now ReadyTech is showing with data how just how much each of these impact completion.


Here are seven risks that are worth keeping front-of-mind when you are working with apprentices.


1. Age


How old an apprentice is will affect the likelihood of completion. As is  understandable, younger apprentices, who have had less time to mature, consider their decision or face choices between available options, will be less likely to carry through to the end.


With time, challenges and other options, they may quit. Older apprentices, on the other hand, may have more skills, be more developed socially to cope with work relationships, and be more adept at sticking it out when the going gets a little tougher.


2. Location


Where the apprenticeship is undertaken matters. While this may not necessarily be a choice, there is still more likelihood an apprentice in a less attractive location will leave their apprenticeship before they follow right through to completion.


There may be a variety of reasons for this. An apprentice may move to greener pastures somewhere else - like moving to the city from a country location - where they feel their employment and life opportunities may be better, just to name one example.


3. Distance from work


None of us really like travelling to work. In the world of apprenticeships, the distance an apprentice has to travel to a workplace has a direct impact on completion rates. Those who have to travel larger distances are more likely to discontinue their learning.


Distance forms a barrier between an apprentice and their training. The distance may feel too far after a time, even if it is a good opportunity, and the apprentice might drop out. They may find another opportunity to work or learn skills closer to home.


4. Size of company


Apprentices in small businesses are less likely to complete than those in larger businesses. While both may have the opportunity to learn their trade well, an apprentice at a business with two staff is less likely to complete than one with 200 staff.


Small businesses can be tougher on apprentices; maybe they don’t have as much experience with managing or as much time, they don’t have the same processes in place, or the apprentice relationship is reliant on a successful relationship with fewer people.


5. Number of peers


Apprentices part of larger businesses have the opportunity to develop a network of peers. They are also more likely to complete. Those who are the only apprentice, or one of few, often don’t have that opportunity, and face a higher risk of dropping out.


Lone apprentices need to face things alone, and may have no one to share challenges with. In contrast, those with colleagues can share the burden together, and will support each other to completion. They also benefit less better developed training pathways.


6. Motivational assessment


Have your apprentices undergone a behavioural science assessment before or during their apprenticeship? We offer this at Esher House, and the data shows those who have taken an Esher House assessment have more chance of reaching completion.


Those who have been assessed are likely to have been understood more clearly, and supported with individualised support to work with and overcome challenges. They have more to lean on when resilience is called for, and feel more understood on their journey.


7. Number of supervisors


NCVER has shown employment reasons (rather than offsite training) are the biggest factor in non-completion, including relationships. This includes supervisors; when that relationship deteriorates or is unsatisfactory, it can result in non-completion.


Data shows those with more supervisors are less likely to quit. With more supervisors apprentices have more chance of quality relationships, and will also be more likely to learn a variety of things from people with different styles, increasing satisfaction.


8. Employer bank account


Employers who do not have bank accounts are a good sign of non-completers. This is not a surprise; those without a bank account are likely to be less established small enterprises, with the least skill at managing apprentices through their entire learning journey.


Those without bank accounts are likely to be sole traders or small businesses that are less likely to become sustainable enterprises, and more likely to be affected by business ups and downs. Apprentices may learn fast, but the environment may be less nurturing.


Interested in finding out how Esher House can improve apprentice support with behavioural science? Learn more here.