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Taking charge of your apprenticeship

Andrew Kear, Karen Vaughan and Ben Gardiner
PDF icon Taking charge of your apprenticeship2.81 MB

This guide Taking Charge of Your Apprenticeship, which is being used by BCITO apprentices but can be adapted for other ITOs under the Creative Commons Licence as long as you credit the author/s and license your new creations under identical terms. 

Transforming Industry-Led Assessment of On-Job Learning is a collaborative project between the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) and the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO). The project illustrates effective systems of on-job assessment and shows how these systems can build organisational capability and improve outcomes for learners.

The project is based on four previously identified principles of good practice (Vaughan & Cameron, 2010):

  • ITOs and workplaces should have a clear purpose for assessment and work together
  • The ITO’s assessment structures and systems must support the learning process
  • Good assessment systems require appropriately recruited, trained and professionally developed people
  • Moderation contributes to reliability and validity

This project provides an example of how these principles can be implemented into practice.

In this study we observed assessment events and interviewed those involved - the “assessment team” of assessors, carpentry apprentices, moderators, and trainer/evaluators. By taking the previous study a step further, ITOs and tertiary providers and stakeholders can learn about both the process of assessment system change and the interim and likely learning outcomes from such a change.

"It’s a big deal to become an apprentice. You’ve decided you’d like to get trade qualified and your boss thinks you’re worth the time and effort. That’s why they signed you into a training agreement. While on the surface things might seem a little overwhelming, it’s not out of control. In fact it’s really under your control. So now is a good time for you to take charge of your apprenticeship because let’s face it – it’s your apprenticeship, your qualification and your career!

Being an apprentice involves more than just turning up to work and doing a job. Being an apprentice means constantly learning from those more experienced so that one day you will be able to do everything that they do (and hopefully more) to a standard considered to be that of a tradesperson.

Everything you have to learn to do is written in your manual. But how you work your way through that long list of skills and knowledge is the key. Your employer and co-workers will expect you to look, listen, fetch, carry, do as you’re told, and work your butt off. But they’ll also be impressed by you questioning “why?”, sussing out the best way to do it, and showing initiative. This is the taking charge bit and it’s what becoming a professional tradesperson is all about."



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Professional learning resource
Ako Aotearoa
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Karen Vaughan