Australian School Based Apprenticeships (ASBA)

What is an ASBA?
ASBA’s are part-time vocational apprenticeships or traineeships and are an option for students studying at Lake Ginninderra. Students combine the ASBA with regular studies (the ASBA generally equates to one course). They may do one to two days a week training (8-16 hours) depending on the ASBA and the certificate level. ASBAs are often an attractive option for students who may be lacking interest in academic school work and instead want to pursue a job.

“I’m not really a school person, so it was more of a chance for me to get out into the workplace, not have to be at school so much” Year 12 student, Lake G

ASBA is a chance to try a few hours of hands-on work per week, a chance to see what it’s like at a work place, to meet colleagues, take responsibility and be treated as an adult. We asked students why they decided to do an ASBA. Answers included: a chance to do something you enjoy, to get out of school, an opportunity to get into the industry, because I want to work in the public sector, it looks good on your CV and because you get points.

We asked students what skills they developed through doing their ASBA.
The main answers were communication skills, responsibility and maturity.

You get to practice communication in the workplace.” Year 12 student, Lake G

We also asked them how they thought they benefited by doing an ASBA. Some answers included: the contacts you make, pay, new experiences, a head start in industry and a chance to see if you like something. By doing ASBA you can start making contacts within the working area that you’re interested in and often increase your chance of employment:

“You get your certificates doing practical work – not just in a classroom doing everything on a computer. You’re actually out there, putting what you’re learning into practice. You get a head start.” Year 12 student, Lake G
“It’s been a really good experience. You can’t get that experience unless you do an ASBA. You get to do all different things. And training is free as you do it through school.” Year 12 student, Lake G
“You can turn it from an apprenticeship to a job.” Year 12 student, Lake G

“When I finish at Year 12 they might take me as a trainee.” Year 12 student, Lake G

We spoke to an ex-student, who completed an ASBA with Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) last year. He now works for the organisation, organising and taking part in sports, programs and paperwork.

“I knew one of the guys working at the PCYC. He offered me some work experience and it worked out I needed more points to pass school. So I did that, then I got nominated for awards for my work then they offered me more work experience. And that led on to where I am now, just finished school then they signed me on full time!” Ex-student, Lake G

It was great to see how much of an impact this opportunity has had on this individual:
“I Love it! It’s rewarding. When a kid opens up to you and will tell you about his life, it makes you feel good.” Ex-student, Lake G

ASBA students are supported by ASBA coordinators, who can offer more guidance to students who need it – for example, those who aren’t quite so sure what they want to do. They also help keep people on track.

“Bev [coordinator] did a lot of the organising, I just signed a few papers and away you go!” Year 12 student, Lake G

Pros and Cons of the ASBA program

The students were aware that doing an ASBA can sometimes affect your other school work, as you may have to miss some classes and catch up later.

“It is hard. Keeping your grades up in school and work. But if your committed...” Year 12 student, Lake G
However, the ASBA does contribute points towards the ACT Year 12 Certificate –and students also gain credits towards trade certificates (1,2 or 3). The students we spoke to advised us that: “Year 12 certificate is sort of the minimum. Employers really do look for it.” However, the students also told us that “most of us don’t actually do the ASBA for the points, we do it for the experience,” and “it’s still just as much work”. The ex-student we spoke to, now working with his previous ASBA-employers PCYC, attributes his ASBA to helping him pass through college and gain his Year 12 certificate:

“It helped me, very much so. I would come to school on Monday, and be motivated to come to school so I could leave school on Wednesday, then come back on Thursday Friday then it’s the weekend. So it got me going through all that. Knowing that I got to get out of school, go and play with all the kids, just motivated me to go to school.” Ex-student, Lake G
It’s interesting to see a school that regards vocational studies and academic studies as equals. With the ASBA, students have the opportunity to get points towards their certificate, just the same as if they only did academic subjects.