3 Tips on Making the Most of Your Apprenticeship (With Lachlan Butler)


For many aspiring professionals, the path of apprenticeship remains shrouded in mystery. What exactly does an apprenticeship entail? How does one transition from training to assessments, and what opportunities can it unlock? These are common questions, often lost in a sea of informational booklets and online resources.

To demystify this journey and offer real-world insights, we had the privilege of sitting down with Lachlan Butler. His story is not just one of academic achievement, having completed Certificate III & Certificate IV in Engineering, but also of practical triumphs through apprenticeships. Today, Lachlan stands as a trainer, assessor, and in-house social media specialist at Gimbal Training, a testament to the rich, multifaceted career paths that apprenticeships can foster.

In our candid conversation, Lachlan shared the nuances of his journey – from his key principles when working in the field to how it allowed his rapid ascent to the role of an assessor at Gimbal Training. 
First, let’s dive right into the question on everyone’s mind – what exactly is an apprenticeship, and how can it help your career in the trade industry?

What Is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a dynamic program that combines practical, on-the-job training with formal education and study. It’s a structured way to learn a trade or skill directly in the workplace while earning a wage.  

Here’s how apprenticeships can benefit your career in the trade industry anywhere in Australia:

Earn While You Learn

Apprentices are paid employees, so you’ll earn a salary while gaining the skills and qualifications needed for your chosen trade. This makes apprenticeships a financially viable alternative to full-time study, where you might not earn an income.

Hands-On Experience

Unlike traditional classroom-based learning, trade apprenticeships offer the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a real work environment with trainers like Lachlan. Lachlan says that this practical approach is crucial in the trades, where skills are best learned through doing.

Mentorship and Guidance

Apprentices in Australia often work under the supervision of experienced tradespeople. This mentorship allows for the transfer of valuable, sometimes unspoken or nuanced, industry knowledge that you can’t always get from books or classrooms.

Lachlan pinpoints this as the main reason he was able to learn the most during his time as an apprentice. “Reach out to your trainers and ask them the questions that are on your mind. Even if your queries seem small, you might spark a conversation that teaches you more than expected.”

Nationally Recognised Qualifications

Upon completion of an apprenticeship, you’ll receive a nationally recognised qualification, such as a certificate or diploma, depending on the level and trade. These qualifications are highly regarded by employers across Australia.

Networking Opportunities

Working in a real job environment allows you to meet and network with professionals in the industry. These connections can be invaluable for future career opportunities.

During your apprenticeship, trainers like Lachlan will plan your work and study weeks, set up your training modules and material and release them when you’ve completed your quizzes and assessments from the previous months.

Why Should You Do an Apprenticeship?

By fully embracing his apprenticeship, Lachlan demonstrated an extraordinary level of dedication and resilience. His exceptional performance and commitment were recognised when he was honoured with the prestigious Apprentice of The Year Award for 2022 in the New South Wales region. This accolade opened doors to a wealth of opportunities that furthered his personal and professional growth. 

Lachlan delved into areas like mindfulness training, public speaking, and media training, including social media and radio interview techniques. These experiences not only honed his communication skills but also enabled him to champion the transformative power of vocational training, highlighting its benefits for the trade community.

Now, in his role as an assessor at Gimbal Training, Lachlan reflects on his journey with a sense of gratitude and fulfilment. He finds deep satisfaction in guiding new apprentices, sharing his knowledge, and inspiring them to excel in their craft. While he occasionally reminisces about his days ‘on the tools’, his current position allows him to make a broader impact, shaping the future of the trade through the apprentices he mentors.

Lachlan usually goes on on-site visits between Monday and Thursday to check on the progress of students in different workshops and businesses around Queensland. This usually happens for every site in three-month intervals, after which a new set of modules is released for students to absorb and practise new aspects of their skills. 

During these visits, Lachlan tests the apprentices on their progress. He does this by giving them a task to complete within a time frame and watching their process. “This is often the best way to see if they’ve been catching up on their lessons and paying attention to their mentors.. Quite often, you can tell who’s been studying and who hasn’t!”

How to Make the Most of Your Apprenticeship

Lachlan always recommends taking extra initiative to ensure that they are absorbing as much information as possible.

Here are a few tips from his experience on how you can smash your apprenticeship goals within the next few years.

Stay Organised 

Lachlan found success during his apprenticeship and even in his personal life by keeping track of all his assignments and study materials. By planning his time efficiently, he wasn’t just able to win Apprentice of The Year 2022 but was also able to find enough time to spend time with family and friends. 

Have a Goal in Mind

Lachlan emphasises the importance of setting clear goals. “If you have a goal in mind, then it’s easier to stay on your path and get into that training room,” he says. This philosophy extends beyond just showing up for training; it’s about having a clear vision for your future.

Having a specific goal gives you a clear direction and focus. It helps in mapping out the steps you need to take to achieve your aspirations, whether it’s mastering a particular skill, obtaining a certification, or aiming for a certain job role.

Find a Good Mentor

One of the pivotal elements in Lachlan’s apprenticeship journey was the guidance he received from his mentor, Bernard. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, Bernard provided invaluable insights and practical expertise crucial for Lachlan’s development.

An experienced mentor like Bernard imparts not just technical skills but also industry insights that can only be gained through years of experience.  

Overall, Lachlan emphasises that the cornerstone of success in an apprenticeship lies in the dedication to honing one’s skills through consistent practice. He advocates adopting a ‘training mindset’, a focused approach where daily, incremental progress towards your goals is key. 

“Immerse yourself in the learning process and diligently work on refining your skills bit by bit every day,” he advises. This mindset is not about overwhelming yourself with massive tasks but rather about steady, persistent improvement. By breaking down your larger objectives into manageable daily actions, you create a sustainable path to mastery and success in your apprenticeship.

If you’ve been asking yourself what is the best apprenticeship and how to get the process started, feel free to call us at Gimbal Training. We help you decide what career path works best for you based on your experience, whether you want to get into a boilermaker apprenticeship or a painting apprenticeship
With over 15 years of experience, Gimbal Training has a refined process that gives you the opportunity to make the most out of your apprenticeship. To learn more about it, fill in the form today.