Help young apprentices stay in the job

Apprentice mechanic holding a notepad looks at her trainer as he points to the muffler system of a car on a hoist above them.

Help young people get the skills they need to thrive at work.

It takes time and money for employers to find the right person for an apprenticeship and train them. If they leave without finishing their training, you risk wasting that time and money – and they could end up unemployed.

With the Apprenticeship Boost scheme helping you to take on apprentices, get the best outcome for you and your apprentice by encouraging them to stay at work.

Young people risk job hopping into unemployment

Research from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment shows that young people move between jobs often. This puts them at risk of not finishing apprenticeship training and ending up out of work.

Around 10% of young people will experience a period of not being in education, employment or training for six months or longer.

That makes it harder for you to find skilled staff and it costs New Zealand.

Why young people don't last in jobs

Employment New Zealand has highlighted some reasons why it’s difficult for young people to stay in work:

  • Lack of employability skills – skills such as communication and problem solving that are essential in a workplace
  • Lack of workplace experience – experience that helps them deal with conflict, come to work on time and interact with adults
  • Numeracy and literacy issues – issues that can cause trouble filling in forms, using computers or communicating clearly.

The Attitude Gap Challenge reported that employers got frustrated with young people’s lack of employability skills. Young people didn’t know they had to come to work at the same time every day. They didn’t use initiative when they saw a problem, and didn’t ask if they weren’t sure about something.

How to help young people stay at work

You can help young people stay in an apprenticeship or work by understanding the transition from school to work, and by offering mentoring.

Transitioning from school to work

School is a very different environment from work. Young people are not used to intense training with one person, or the seriousness of mistakes at work. They might not be used to criticism of their work, and some may have no positive experience of adults. They might not communicate well.

Young people without work experience may have no idea what they’re supposed to do. They may struggle to organise their time.

The adjustment to work can be tiring and stressful, so make sure your young workers take breaks, and be prepared to repeat instructions.


Including mentoring in your training programme will help your apprentice settle into their job. Mentoring could include:

  • an induction programme to introduce the new apprentice to the team and set clear expectations for their work
  • tips on problem solving and using initiative
  • role playing situations where there could be conflict
  • checking in with them regularly and encouraging them to ask questions.

Literacy and numeracy issues

These agencies can help with literacy and numeracy issues:

Find out more


  • Employment New Zealand, ‘Barriers to Youth Employment’, accessed 6 August 2020, (
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, ‘Youth Employment Action Plan: Setting our Young People on a Strong Pathway to Fulfilling Working Lives’, 19 August 2019, (
  • The Auckland Co-Design Lab, ‘The Attitude Gap Challenge’, accessed 6 August 2020, (

Updated 8 Jan 2021