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KickstartMentoringFinalreport

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KickstartMentoringFinalreport

  1. 1. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative - Interim Report 1 Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative Final Report 16 November 2011
  2. 2. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 2 DISCLAIMER The information contained within this Report has been compiled from a variety of external sources and has not been subject to an internal independent verification. Although every care has been taken to ensure that the information and opinions are correct, Quantum Consulting Australia Pty Ltd specifically disclaim any responsibility for any errors, mistakes or incorrect facts or interpretation that may occur, and accept no liability on any basis for the findings and recommendations in this Report. Findings within this Report can be influenced by a number of unforeseen events that may occur outside of our control. Therefore, no assurance can be given that the findings contained within the Report will remain as such in the future.
  3. 3. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 3 Table of Contents Executive Summary ...................................................................................................................... 5 1. Key Findings ......................................................................................................................... 9 Recommendations ............................................................................................................................ 13 2. Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 17 3. Implementation of Kickstart Mentoring Initiative ................................................................ 21 4. Thematic Analysis ............................................................................................................... 22 5. Communication Strategies .................................................................................................. 23 6. Engagement and Support Methods and Strategies ............................................................... 36 7. Retention Rates .................................................................................................................. 55 8. Impact of Communication, Engagement and Support Methods on Retention: ...................... 66 9. Case Studies and Success Stories ......................................................................................... 86 Appendix A- Further Success Stories Provided by Mentors and AACs ......................................... 112
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  5. 5. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 5 Executive Summary Background On 17 May 2010, the Australian Government announced the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative. The Kickstart Mentoring Initiative was introduced to provide innovative and enhanced mentoring and support services to Australian Apprentices who commenced their Australian Apprenticeship under the Apprentice Kickstart Initiative1 and Apprentice Kickstart Extension2. The objective of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative was to obtain a measurable increase in the retention rate of Australian Apprentices who had commenced under the Apprentice Kickstart Initiative or the Apprentice Kickstart Extension. The Initiative had a focus on the delivery of services to Australian Apprentices from the following targeted cohorts:  Indigenous Australians  People with disability  Australian School-based Apprentices and  Priority employment areas. It was expected that the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative would reduce the attrition rate and contribute to increased completion rates for these apprentices. The Australian Government, through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), invited Australian Apprenticeship Centres (AACs) to provide a proposal that outlined how they would develop and implement the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative. The focus was on the provision of quality additional mentoring and support services that were supported by innovative strategies that deliver additional quality mentoring support. A total of 18 AACs were contracted by DEEWR to deliver the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative. AACs generally delivered the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative across a region and via a selection of office locations. 1 Kickstart Australian Apprentices are defined as Australian Apprentices who commenced an Australian Apprenticeship between 1 December 2009 and 28 February 2010 in a Certificate III or IV level qualification that leads to a trade on the National Skills Needs List, and who were aged 19 years or under at the commencement of their Australian Apprenticeship. 2 Apprentice Kickstart Extension Australian Apprentices are defined as Australian Apprentices who commenced an Australian Apprenticeship between 12 May 2010 and 12 November 2010 (inclusive) in a Certificate III or IV level qualification that leads to a trade on the National Skills Needs List and who were aged 19 years or under at the commencement of their Australian Apprenticeship. The Australian Apprentice’s employer must have fewer than 200 employees at the time the Australian Apprentice commences, or be an eligible Group Training Organisation.
  6. 6. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 6 AACs applied for additional funding within the scope of their current contracts so as to deliver additional mentoring and support services to Australian Apprentices within their areas. The Kickstart Mentoring Initiative delivered mentoring and support services from 1 July 2010 for a period of 12 months. Purpose of the Review Quantum Consulting Australia (in conjunction with Individual & Organisational Development, Nyaarla Projects and Dr. Irene Styles3) were engaged to conduct an independent review (the Review) of the impact of the mentoring and support services delivered through the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative on the retention of Australian Apprentices who have been mentored. The key issues reviewed included:  The overall impact of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative on the retention of Australian Apprentices who have been mentored together with a breakdown of the impact of the initiative on the target cohorts (Indigenous Australians, people with disability, Australian School-based Apprentices and Priority Employment Areas).  The impact of different models of mentoring and support services on the retention of Australian Apprentices who have been mentored, particularly where the Australian Apprentice is part of a targeted cohort.  The impact (if any) of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative on other stakeholders who have a direct relationship (with respect to an Australian Apprenticeship) with the Australian Apprentices who have been mentored.  An investigation of the aspects of the initiative that have had a negative impact on the retention of Australian Apprentices who have been mentored. The Review gathered qualitative data from a number of stakeholders who participated in the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative including, but not limited to:  Australian Apprentices  Mentors  Registered Training Organisations (RTOs)  AACs 3 Dr. Irene Styles provided statistical analysis in lieu of Dr. Stephen Humphry.
  7. 7. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 7 In addition the Review was informed by quantitative data provided by the AACs and DEEWR. Methodology The methodology for undertaking the Review included surveying and one-on-one interviews with AAC staff, Kickstart Australian Apprentices and Mentors at selected sites across Australia. Surveys The Project Team developed the following online surveys:  Kickstart Australian Apprentice Survey  Kickstart Australian Apprentice – Exit Survey (Kickstart Australian Apprentices who have exited the Apprenticeship system)  Kickstart Mentor Survey A web based hyperlink was provided to each Australian Apprenticeship Centre who then facilitated the dissemination and completion of the Kickstart Surveys. AACs provided the relevant link to each of their respective Kickstart Australian Apprentices and Mentors through online mediums such as email, website/portal, and Facebook. Three AACs also facilitated the completion of hard copy Kickstart surveys during face-to-face contact with Kickstart Apprentices. The surveys were conducted in two discrete time periods ((i) November/December 2010 and (ii) June/July 2011). This provided an opportunity to assess whether the views of stakeholders regarding the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative changed over time. Table 1 provides a summary of the type of surveys applied to each stakeholder cohort, the purpose of the survey and the total number of responses. Table 1: Surveys used in the Review Type of Survey Stakeholder Purpose of survey Total no. of survey responses Online survey Kickstart Australian Apprentice The survey contained questions relating to:  The effectiveness of mentoring and support strategies for Australian Apprentices.  The frequency and mode of communication between the Kickstart Apprentice and Mentor. Total number returned: 1600
  8. 8. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 8 Type of Survey Stakeholder Purpose of survey Total no. of survey responses Online survey Kickstart Australian Apprentices (those that exited their Apprenticeship) The survey contained questions relating to:  Key factors of attrition.  Mentoring/support strategies that could be enhanced. Total number returned: 108 Online survey Kickstart Mentor The survey contained questions on:  The appropriateness of the mentoring and support services (i.e. is the mentoring methodology considered to be adequate?).  Key success factors in mentoring that facilitates the retention of Australian Apprentices and conversely barriers which have a negative impact on retention.  Approaches that are working well. Total number returned: 170 AAC site visit consultations The Project Team conducted consultations with AAC offices in metropolitan and regional areas in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. This involved interviews with AAC staff, Kickstart Australian Apprentices and Mentors.
  9. 9. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 9 1. Key Findings This section provides a concluding summary on the key findings of the Review and examines options/recommendations on enhancing the effectiveness of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative. For the purposes of this Review, the Key Findings have been grouped into three categories:  Communication strategies  Methods and models used by AACs  Retention rates, and  Impact of strategies and models on retention rates. Communication Strategies  Face to face, telephone and SMS were the most frequently used methods of communication as reported by both mentors and apprentices and were also viewed as the most effective.  The communication modes rated least effective were Newsletter, Internet/blog and Twitter, and these were also the least used.  While regularly used by most AACs, Facebook and Twitter received mixed views on their effectiveness from Mentors and were not considered to be as effective as traditional methods of communication.  SMS is a quick and easy form of communication that Apprentices are likely to respond to and can provide an alternative communication method if they are not comfortable discussing a matter face to face or over the telephone.  Increased frequency of use of SMS and face-to-face appears to be associated with a more positive attitude to the Mentoring Initiative.  In summary, the modes and frequency of contact between apprentices and mentors regarded as most effective or beneficial are SMS, face-to-face and telephone contact on at a minimum basis of once a month. This was true as well for the four target cohorts.  Approximately 22% of Kickstart Australian Apprentices that responded to the survey reported not being aware of the Kickstart mentoring and support services. This indicates that opportunities exist to enhance the manner in which AACs communicate with Kickstart Australian Apprentices regarding the availability and nature of mentoring and support services.
  10. 10. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 10 Mentoring Methods/Models  Kickstart Australian Apprentices generally agreed that mentoring assisted them with understanding training requirements and that mentoring was accessible when they needed it.  The quality of the signup documentation differed at each AAC and data collection was not consistent between AACs.  In both the first and second rounds of surveying, only half of Australian Apprentice respondents indicated that they were currently “accessing” the mentoring or support services.  A majority (82%) of surveyed apprentices agreed that mentoring would help them to complete their apprenticeship.  Apprentices from the AACs with up to 150 Australian Apprentices per mentor have a significantly higher positive perception towards the mentoring Initiative than those from AACs with more than 300 apprentices. In general, the level of positive perception tends to diminish with increasing ratios of apprentices to mentors.  In all cases Apprentice views on the mentoring service were more positive for those AACs who had a planned formal risk assessment mechanism.  In all cases Apprentice views on the mentoring service were more positive for those AACs who had planned employer engagement strategies.  In relation to Group Training Organisations (GTOs), feedback indicates that in a number of instances, the provision of mentoring services via the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative was perceived as a “double up” given GTOs generally had in place staff that provided support services to Apprentices.  The services that were endorsed the most by apprentices were having mentors accessible, helping with resolving issues/conflicts at work, and helping to understand training requirements.  Mentors indicated that more mentors were needed in order to better allocate time to those apprentices who needed more help.  The overall structure of the mentoring service developed by AACs did not materially change when applied to the target cohort groups. In this regard, the model was generally consistent regardless of the target cohorts. What did differ were approaches regarding frequency of
  11. 11. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 11 contact, the undertaking of cultural awareness training by Mentors, transitional support for Australian School-based Apprentices and the referral to outside agencies for persons with disability.  The application of a flexible and ongoing risk assessment strategy was identified by Mentors as a key success factor in ensuring mentoring services were directed to those individuals who would benefit most from such a service. Retention Rates  The impact of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative has been positive and in some AACs, significant. Compared with previous years’ retention rates for non-mentored apprentices, there was an average retention rate improvement of 14.6% across all AACs. The reported rates of improvement for individual AACs ranged from 1.9% to 60.0%.  Members of the target cohorts are more at risk of exiting than other Australian Apprentices. In particular, Apprentices in the Indigenous Australians cohort exit their apprenticeships at twice the rate of those that are not a member of one of the target cohorts.  Approximately twice the proportion of females (11.2%) exited their apprenticeships than males (5.2%)  Of interest, the attrition rate increased during the second six months for both commencement periods (approximately 10% and 13%, respectively) compared with the first three months (approximately 2% and 6% respectively) and the first six months (approximately 5% and 6% respectively). This suggests that although apprentices may decide to exit at any time, it appears that the six to twelve month period has the same, if not more, apprentices exit than that in the first six months of an apprenticeship.  Of 105 Exited Australian Apprentices 53 (50.5%) said they had accessed mentoring services and 43 (41%) said they had not. (Nine did not respond to the question).  Greater proportions of the Indigenous Australians and Priority Employment Area group apprentices had accessed mentoring services, compared with the other target groups.  The main reasons that Australian Apprentices chose to exit the apprenticeships were because they decided to change to other work or study, or because of wages or employment conditions. Impact of Models on Retention Rates  The greatest attrition rate occurred in AACs with more than 300 apprentices per mentor.
  12. 12. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 12  Mentors did not regard the initiative very positively in regard to their evaluation of the Mentoring Initiative for Australian School Based Apprentices and, to a lesser extent, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander apprentices.  Target cohorts had more positive opinions about the Mentoring Initiative when they were from AACs with formal risk assessment strategies.  Statistically, there was no difference in retention rates between AACs who advocated employer engagement, however target cohort apprentices from those AACs who did, held more positive attitudes towards the Mentoring Initiative (qualitatively).  After consideration of the thematic analysis and survey responses (compared to the retention rates for AACs of various levels) the following six key attributes have been identified in regards to AAC models with the highest retention rates:  A formalised risk assessment tool  Active engagement of the employer in the mentoring model  A relatively low apprentice to mentor ratio  A flexible, risk management-based approach in the implementation of a communication/interaction protocol  The appointment of mentors that have highly developed engagement attributes and problem solving abilities  A network of resources and agencies to provide “wrap around” support to the apprentice. Further particulars on the above attributes are detailed in Section 7 of this Report.
  13. 13. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 13 Recommendations The following recommendations have been framed to provide guidance to DEEWR should a mentoring service such as the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative be continued into the future. Recommendation 1: That as a general rule, the ratio of apprentices per mentor should not exceed 150. Statistical analysis indicates that for all Kickstart Australian Apprentices, including the four target cohorts, as well as mentors, that positive perceptions were greatest where the ratio of apprentices per mentor did not exceed 150. Qualitative feedback also indicated a need for a lower apprentice per mentor ratio in order to appropriately distribute time and effort amongst those apprentices who may need a more intense level of support services (e.g. the retention rate for apprentices with disabilities was highest in those AACs with less than 100 apprentices per mentor). Recommendation 2: That greater differentiation/specialisation occurs in the mentoring model applied to the target cohort groups. The Review identified that the mentoring models developed by the AACs for the target cohort groups was not materially different from that applied to all apprentices. Consideration should be given to further tailoring the mentoring models in order to better address the requirements of the target cohort groups so as to achieve improved retention rates. Recommendation 3: That the Initiative adopts a ‘risk management approach’ wherein a formalised, evidence-based risk assessment tool is applied to assess the risk level of each apprentice and assign a category (high, medium, low), which would decide the level of support allocated to each apprentice. Whilst the majority of AACs applied some form of risk assessment, the efficacy of the tool differed significantly between AACs.
  14. 14. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 14 Recommendation 4: That DEEWR develop a customised pro-forma document that will facilitate all AACs to collect consistent information/data at signup and during the course of the Mentoring Initiative. This will facilitate the collection of standardised data by each AAC for reporting purposes. Consideration should also be given to the use of a Consent Form which has the benefit of formally committing the Employer and the Kickstart Australian Apprentice to active engagement in the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative. Recommendation 5: That a communication protocol be developed and linked with the risk assessment model with high risk apprentices being contacted more frequently and face-to- face rather than SMS. The minimum contact for all mentored apprentices should be SMS or telephone once a month. This will ensure that apprentices are regularly receiving the appropriate level of interaction necessary to help them complete their apprenticeship. This would be tailored in light of the ongoing risk assessment. Recommendation 6: That a mentoring service actively engage the employer of the apprentice during the establishment of the service. This helps to reduce confusion as to the role of the mentor and the services being offered, as well as encourages “buy in” from the employer as a key stakeholder in the apprenticeship. Recommendation 7: A more thorough marketing/awareness strategy be put in place in order to increase awareness of the Mentoring Initiative to apprentices and employers as well as to increase knowledge of services available and how to access them. Survey responses indicated, in a number of instances, a general lack of awareness on the part of Kickstart Australian Apprentices of the availability of mentoring and support services as well as some confusion as to the role of mentors. Having a strategy for marketing/awareness could help to increase knowledge and therefore encourage more active participation in the Mentoring Initiative.
  15. 15. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 15 Recommendation 8: In considering the model of any future mentoring service, that the following key attributes be embedded within the provision of the service:  A formalised risk assessment tool  Active engagement of the employer in the mentoring model  An apprentice to mentor ratio of no more than 150  A flexible, risk management-based approach in the implementation of a communication/interaction protocol  The appointment of mentors that have highly developed engagement attributes and problem solving abilities  A network of resources and agencies to provide “wrap around” support to the apprentice.
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  17. 17. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 17 2. Introduction Quantum Consulting Australia (in conjunction with Individual & Organisational Development, Nyaarla Projects and Dr. Irene Styles) were engaged to conduct an independent Review of the impact of the mentoring and support services delivered through the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative on the retention of Australian Apprentices who have been mentored. This Review provides an assessment of the impact and benefit of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative on the retention of Australian Apprentices who have been mentored, including:  A thematic analysis of the communication and support strategies used by AACs;  An AAC case study from each jurisdiction describing actions and strategies adopted and identification of approaches that worked well;  A summary of the data returned from each of the surveys undertaken and their responses;  High level statistical analysis of the survey data and data obtained from AACs regarding retention rates;  A discussion on the impact of the approaches and models used by AACs on the retention of Australian Apprentices;  Individual success stories provided by various AACs highlighting the impact the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative has had on individual Kickstart Australian Apprentices;  Key findings and recommendations for future initiatives based on the data obtained during the course of this Review. 2.1.1 Kickstart Mentoring Initiative On 17 May 2010, the Australian Government announced the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative. The Kickstart Mentoring Initiative was introduced to provide innovative and enhanced mentoring and support services to Australian Apprentices who commenced their Australian Apprenticeship under the Apprentice Kickstart Initiative4 and Apprentice Kickstart Extension5. The objective of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative was to obtain a measurable increase in the retention rate of Australian Apprentices who had commenced under the Apprentice Kickstart Initiative or the Apprentice Kickstart Extension. The Initiative had a focus on the delivery of services to Australian Apprentices from the following targeted cohorts:  Indigenous Australians 4 Kickstart Australian Apprentices are defined as Australian Apprentices who commenced an Australian Apprenticeship between 1 December 2009 and 28 February 2010 in a Certificate III or IV level qualification that leads to a trade on the National Skills Needs List, and who were aged 19 years or under at the commencement of their Australian Apprenticeship. 5 Apprentice Kickstart Extension Australian Apprentices are defined as Australian Apprentices who commenced an Australian Apprenticeship between 12 May 2010 and 12 November 2010 (inclusive) in a Certificate III or IV level qualification that leads to a trade on the National Skills Needs List and who were aged 19 years or under at the commencement of their Australian Apprenticeship. The Australian Apprentice’s employer must have fewer than 200 employees at the time the Australian Apprentice commences, or be an eligible Group Training Organisation.
  18. 18. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 18  People with disability  Australian School-based Apprentices and  Priority employment areas. It was expected that the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative would reduce the attrition rate and contribute to increased completion rates for these apprentices. The Australian Government, through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), invited Australian Apprenticeship Centres (AACs) to provide a proposal that outlined how they would develop and implement the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative. The focus was on the provision of quality additional mentoring and support services that were supported by innovative strategies that deliver additional quality mentoring support. A total of 18 AACs were contracted by DEEWR to deliver the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative. AACs generally delivered the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative across a region and throughout a selection of office locations. AACs applied for additional funding within the scope of their current contracts so as to deliver additional mentoring and support services to Australian Apprentices within their areas. The Kickstart Mentoring Initiative delivered mentoring and support services from 1 July 2010 for a period of 12 months. 2.1.2 Required services The Kickstart Mentoring Initiative delivered support services from 1 July 2010 for a period of 12 months. The required Services to be provided by successful AAC applicants were:  provide additional mentoring and support services to obtain a measurable increase in retention rates and contribute to an increase in completions of Kickstart Australian Apprentices and Apprentice Kickstart Extension Australian Apprentices, with a particular focus on Indigenous Australians, people with disability, Australian School-based Apprentices and those Kickstart Australian Apprentices and Apprentice Kickstart Extension Australian Apprentices in Priority Employment Areas6;  develop a cost-effective communications strategy to inform Kickstart Australian Apprentices and Apprentice Kickstart Extension Australian Apprentices of the additional comprehensive mentoring and support services available through the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative; and  provide accurate, current and comprehensive information, mentoring and support services and advice to Kickstart Australian Apprentices and Apprentice Kickstart Extension Australian Apprentices from 1 July 2010 until 30 June 2011. 6 http://www.deewr.gov.au/Employment/LMI/RegionalReports/Pages/PriorityEmployAreas.aspx
  19. 19. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 19 Successful Australian Apprenticeships Centres were required, as a minimum, to provide comprehensive information and advice to Kickstart Australian Apprentices and Apprentice Kickstart Extension Australian Apprentices, on:  The additional role of Australian Apprenticeships Centres in delivering the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative and the assistance they can expect, including support and assistance from 1 July 2010 until 30 June 2011; and  The availability of appropriate mentors to provide support, including expected response time when the Australian Apprentice cannot contact their mentor directly. Australian Apprenticeships Centres Mentors were also required to maintain ongoing contact with participating Kickstart Australian Apprentices and Apprentice Kickstart Extension Australian Apprentices for the duration of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative to address issues or problems that may arise which could impact on retention or successful completion. These contacts must be made in addition to the requirements outlined in the Australian Apprenticeships Support Services Operating Guidelines. 2.2 Methodology 2.2.1 AAC Consultation The methodology for undertaking the Review included surveying and one-on-one interviews with AAC staff, Kickstart Australian Apprentices and Mentors at selected sites across Australia. Surveys The Project Team developed the following online surveys:  Kickstart Australian Apprentice Survey  Kickstart Australian Apprentice – Exit Survey (Kickstart Australian Apprentices who have exited the Apprenticeship system)  Kickstart Mentor Survey A web based hyperlink was provided to each Australian Apprenticeship Centre who then facilitated the dissemination and completion of the Kickstart Surveys. AACs provided the relevant link to each of their respective Kickstart Australian Apprentices and Mentors through online mediums such as email, website/portal, and Facebook. Three AACs also facilitated the completion of hard copy Kickstart surveys during face-to-face contact with Kickstart Apprentices.
  20. 20. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 20 The surveys were conducted in two discrete time periods ((i) November/December 2010 and (ii) June/July 2011). This provided an opportunity to assess whether the views of stakeholders regarding the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative changed over time. Table 1 provides a summary of the type of surveys applied to each stakeholder cohort, the purpose of the survey and the total number of responses. Table 2: Surveys used in the Review Type of Survey Stakeholder Purpose of survey Total no. of survey responses Online survey Kickstart Australian Apprentice The survey contained questions relating to:  The effectiveness of mentoring and support strategies for Australian Apprentices.  The frequency and mode of communication between the Kickstart Apprentice and Mentor. Total number returned: 1600 Online survey Kickstart Australian Apprentices (those that exited their Apprenticeship) The survey contained questions relating to:  Key factors of attrition.  Mentoring/support strategies that could be enhanced. Total number returned: 108 Online survey Kickstart Mentor The survey contained questions on:  The appropriateness of the mentoring and support services (i.e. is the mentoring methodology considered to be adequate?).  Key success factors in mentoring that facilitates the retention of Australian Apprentices and conversely barriers which have a negative impact on retention.  Approaches that are working well. Total number returned: 170
  21. 21. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 21 AAC site visit consultations The Project Team conducted consultations with AAC offices in metropolitan and regional areas in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. This involved interviews with AAC staff, Kickstart Australian Apprentices and Mentors. 2.3 Data limitations Although attempts were made to obtain representative samples from the various stakeholder groups involved in the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative, in some instances sample sizes were small, limiting the inferences that can be drawn from them. The survey results must be viewed with some caution as the final sample size was relatively small (in light of the total number of Kickstart Apprentices) and may be biased towards Kickstart Australian Apprentices who are more positively disposed towards the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative as the program was entered into on a voluntary basis. Nevertheless, the analyses reported below provide a number of insights into the perceptions of participants. 3. Implementation of Kickstart Mentoring Initiative 3.1.1 Roll-out of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative Timing of the implementation of the Initiative Australian Apprenticeship Centres (AACs) indicated that the roll-out/implementation of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative from 1 July 2010 did not provide an adequate time frame for AAC staff to develop and implement the initiative. A number of AACs were of the view that the short timeframe of the request for proposals did not afford AAC staff the opportunity to develop a more comprehensive proposal for the delivery of innovative mentoring approaches/methodologies. In addition this provided only a short timeframe to recruit staff, develop policies/systems, including tailoring the job ready system for mentoring and developing promotional materials such as brochures, information sheets and websites, etc. Due to the timeframe of the launch of the initiative, in a number of cases, AACs did not have their full suite of services developed at the commencement of the initiative and had limited capacity to launch all services due to staffing constraints. Due to the timing in the implementation of the initiative, the Kickstart Australian Apprentices who commenced between 1 December 2009 and 28 February 2010 had passed the 6 month period of their apprenticeship. This meant that limited mentoring was provided that could influence the retention of those Kickstart Australian Apprentices in the first cohort of Kickstart Apprentices (December 2009 to February 2010).
  22. 22. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 22 This issue was seen less with the second cohort of Kickstart Extension Apprentices, as AACs had had time at that point to implement and adjust their approaches/methodologies based on their experiences with the previous cohort. 4. Thematic Analysis 4.1.1 Thematic analysis of AAC submissions There are a number of communication and support strategies used by AACs to engage Kickstart Apprentices and key stakeholders in the initiative. The main themes in the AAC proposals included the following: 1. Wide use of online and other interactive telecommunications and social media 2. Ongoing risk assessments of Kickstart Australian Apprentices 3. Personalised plans for Kickstart Australian Apprentices 4. Specific details of interventions for Kickstart Australian Apprentices (as distinct from no specific details) 5. Specific mentor features such as use of Youth Workers, etc. 6. Significant support to employer in areas such as recruitment, induction, training and management of Kickstart Australian Apprentices 7. Engagement and/or communication with parents, RTOs, etc 8. More contacts with Kickstart Australian Apprentices than the contract specifies 9. Multiple points of entry to program 10. Incentives for Kickstart Australian Apprentices to engage and remain engaged in the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative 11. Career development and guidance 12. Support for cancelled/failed Kickstart Australian Apprentices Elements that were difficult to determine from the information provided, and that may be relevant in the Review process were:  Quality of the various risk assessment tools  Some aspects of the various communication strategies  Selection criteria for mentors in some programs It was identified in the initial review of AAC submissions that most proposals did not distinguish specific and unique services that would be made available to the different targeted cohorts. As a result there were very few proposals that could be identified as offering anything specific to any one of the individual targeted cohorts with the exception of Indigenous Australians.
  23. 23. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 23 a) Indigenous Australians The main strategies for assisting Indigenous Australians to remain in their Kickstart Australian Apprenticeships were:  Cultural awareness training for mentors  Vetting of offered services by the organisation’s Indigenous Advisor  Risk analysis - often an assumption that all indigenous Apprentices are ‘at risk’ of failing to complete  Employment of Indigenous Mentor/s  Linkages with and referral to other Indigenous organisations b) Apprentices with a Disability Only three proposals had specific and unique reference to Kickstart Australian Apprentices with a Disability. Table 3.1 Approaches for mentoring Kickstart Australian Apprentices with a disability Name of ACC Proposal AAC 1  Arranging assistance for the employer so they can better support a particular Kickstart Australian Apprentice in the workplace, for example work place modifications for an apprentice with disability.  Specific strategies to support apprentices with disability will include linking to existing programs to access specialist expertise, such as the National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) and Disability Employment Service (DES) programs for those with disability. AAC 2 Facilitation of a connection with significant others such as a case manager at a disability services organisation, career teacher or parent. AAC 3 People with disability – Working with service providers to provide better access to employment as an Kickstart Australian Apprentice 5. Communication Strategies The section below provides a high level summary of the communication strategies used by the participating Australian Apprenticeship Centres to engage Kickstart Australian Apprentices in mentoring, and the perceptions of Kickstart Australian Mentors and Apprentices regarding the different communication strategies used in the initiative. Mentor survey responses are summarised first, followed by Apprentice survey responses and then a statistical analysis of survey responses from both rounds of surveying.
  24. 24. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 24 0 20 40 60 Figure 1. Methods of Communication Used by Mentors to Interact with Australian Apprentices (Round 1) Kickstart Mentor Survey Responses Methods of Communication Used by Mentors Figures 1 and 2 highlight the methods of communication used my Kickstart Mentors to interact with their Kickstart Apprentices. Figure 1 represents the communications methods in the first round of surveying and Figure 2 represents the communication methods in the second round of surveying. In the first round of surveying, approximately 78% of Mentors indicated that they use telephone and Face-to-Face contact. The next popular method of communication used by Mentors was SMS, which represents 78% of all Mentors who responded to the survey. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter were used approximately 20% and 12% respectively. Face-to-face visits were considered to be effective and enabled the ability to build a rapport with the Australian Apprentice. In the instances were face-to-face visits were made at the work place, the mentor was also able to see the working environment first hand as well as consult with the employer (where appropriate) to discuss any issues the Apprentice or employer may be experiencing.
  25. 25. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 25 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Figure 2. Methods of Communication Used by Mentors to Interact with Kickstart Australian Apprentices (Round 2) In the second round of surveying, the most frequently used type of contact was Face-to-Face contact, with approximately 92% of mentors using this form of communication. The telephone was the next most use mode with approximately 90% of mentors using it, and SMS was the next with approximately 70%. Email was the next most use form of communication with 56% of mentors using it and Facebook was next with 23%. Effectiveness of Communication Methods Mentors were asked to provide feedback on how effective they thought the different methods of communication were in delivering mentoring services to Kickstart Australian Apprentices. In both rounds of surveying, mentors responded strongly that face-to-face contact is a highly effective method of communicating with the apprentices. SMS and telephone contact were also viewed strongly as being either highly effective or effective. Email appears to vary in effectiveness according to mentor views. Methods deemed by mentors to be ineffective include Internet/Blog, Twitter, Facebook and a Newsletter. Figures 3 and 4 represent these responses from rounds 1 and 2 of surveying, respectively.
  26. 26. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 26 There are mixed views from Mentors on the effectiveness of popular communication tools such as Facebook and Twitter. Whilst these social media are considered to be regularly used by the Kickstart Australian Apprentice Cohort, they are not considered to be as effective as traditional methods of contact such as face-to-face contact and Telephone contact. Consultation with AACs also suggests that the roll-out of Facebook/Twitter by AACs/Mentors may have been ad-hoc. As a result Kickstart Australian Apprentices were slow in taking up this mode of communication. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Figure 3. Mentors Views on Effectiveness of Communication Methods (Round 1) Highly Effective Effective Somewhat Effective Not Effective 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Figure 4. Mentors Views on Effectiveness of Communication Methods (Round 2) Highly Effective Effective Somewhat Effective Not Effective
  27. 27. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 27 A number of Mentors were of the view that SMS communication is likely to be more effective where rapport had been built with the Kickstart Australian Apprentice. In this scenario the SMS was used to maintain contact and see how things were progressing in their Apprenticeship. Being a quick and easy form of communication Kickstart Australian Apprentices are likely to respond to Mentors and can use this method of communication to ask questions or advice on matters that they may not feel comfortable speaking about with their Mentor on the phone or face-to-face. Some AACs reported that employers have also indicated a preference for this method as it is less disruptive during work hours. Frequency of Contact Mentors were asked to specify the approximate number of Kickstart Australian Apprentices that they communicated or interacted with for the following categories of frequency:  Daily  More than once a week  Weekly  Monthly  Every 2 months  Every 3 months  Every 6 months  Not applicable (meaning that the number range of apprentices was not applicable to them) A large majority of those Mentors that responded to the survey in the first round indicated that they had at least 1-10 Australian Apprentices that they communicated with on a daily basis. This was also the same for the number of Mentors communicating with Australian Apprentices more than once a week. Compared with the second round of surveying, the other contact frequency options provided in the survey were indicated with much less frequency. The second round showed a much broader distribution between the contact frequencies. This could be due to the fact that more mentors responded to the second round of surveying or possibly because communication strategies at the AACs had been altered to better suit the needs of the Australian Apprentices. These responses can be seen in Figures 5 and 6, and are discussed at further length in the statistical analysis discussion below. The effectiveness of the contact frequencies is discussed below regarding retention rates.
  28. 28. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 28 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Figure 5. Number of Australian Apprentices Contacted by Category of Frequency (Round 1) 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51+ 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Figure 6. Number of Australian Apprentices Contacted by Category of Frequency (Round 2) 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51+
  29. 29. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 29 Kickstart Australian Apprentice Survey Responses Awareness of Mentoring Services Overall, the majority of Kickstart Australian Apprentices (1192 out of 1600, 75%) that responded to the survey were aware of the Kickstart mentoring and support services that are available (Figures 7 and 8). Kickstart Australian Apprentices became aware of the mentoring initiative through a range of communication methods. Figures 9 and 10 below show that brochures, telephone contact and employers were frequently reported methods amongst Kickstart Australian Apprentices. 77% 23% Figure 7. Whether Kickstart Australian Apprentices Are Aware of Available Mentoring and Support Services (Round 1) Yes No 79% 21% Figure 8. Whether Kickstart Australian Apprentices Are Aware of Available Mentoring and Support Services (Round 2) Yes No
  30. 30. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 30 A common theme from Kickstart Australian Apprentices who answered ‘other’ to this survey question was that they found out about the mentoring initiative via a face-to-face contact or site visit from a Mentor in the first round of surveying. The responses to this question in the second round of surveying also pen pointed a face-to-face contact or site visit from Mentor or field officer, as well as via letter or at sign up. This is congruent with many of the AACs proposals relating to the first term of the mentoring initiative and the extension. Many AACs proposed sending a letter or a field officer to apprentices who had already started the Kickstart Program when the mentoring initiative began, and for those who started with the extension they were told of the mentoring opportunity when they signed up for their apprenticeships. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 Figure 9. How Kickstart Australian Apprentices Became Aware of Mentoring and Support Services (Round 1)
  31. 31. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 31 Frequency of Contact from Mentors Kickstart Australian Apprentices were asked to identify the frequency with which they were receiving mentoring and/or support services (Figures 11 and 12). Where Apprentices were not receiving a specific type of mentoring or support service, they were asked to check “Not Applicable.” What is noteworthy from Figures 11 and 12 is that in both rounds of surveying, social media, newsletter and email contact were all strongly underrepresented as means of being contacted by a Mentor. Despite a popular belief in the majority of proposals that social media communication methods such as Facebook and Twitter would be a valuable tool in the mentoring initiative, very few apprentices reported being contacted with these methods. Email and newsletter were also not frequently used methods of communication. The most often reported method of receiving communication from mentors was monthly face-to-face contact in the first round as well as the second round. Weekly and monthly telephone and SMS contact were frequent in the first round while the second round of survey responses reflected less weekly telephone and SMS contacts and more monthly contacts. 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Figure 10. How Kickstart Australian Apprentices Became Aware of Mentoring and Support Services (Round 2)
  32. 32. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 32 Statistical Analysis of Communication Strategies A high level statistical analysis has been done to compare communication strategies as well as the frequency of communications in order to determine good practice for communication strategies. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 Figure 11. Frequency with which Kickstart Australian Apprentices Report Receiving Mentoring or Support Services (Round 1) Daily More than once a week Weekly Monthly Every 2 months Every 3 months Every 6 months Not Applicable 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 Figure 12. Frequency with which Kickstart Australian Apprentices Report Receiving Mentoring or Support Services (Round 2) Daily More than once a week Weekly Monthly Every 2 months Every 3 months Every 6 months Not Applicable
  33. 33. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 33 For the purposes of this Report, both the first and second round survey results were combined in order to produce a reliable number of responses for analysis. As addressed above, a rant of modes of communication were available to mentors and apprentices to keep in touch with each other. Initially, the possibility of the items (relating to frequency of use) of communication modes forming a single scale was considered. If this were possible, then responses to each item could be added to give a single score on frequency of contact for each apprentice, however, a Rasch analysis of these data showed they did not form a single construct or latent trait and hence the modes were, rather, treated as being separate categories. Table 5.1 shows the numbers of apprentices who received mentoring services via these different modes and how regularly this was done. Table 5.1 Numbers of apprentices receiving mentoring services via different modes and different frequency of contact Number of apprentices reporting frequency of contact (total % of full sample) Mode of contact (total % of full sample) Daily More than once /week Wkly Mthly Every 2 months Every 3 months Every 6 months Not applicable or no response Face-to-face 442 (27.7) 7 (0.4) 7 (0.4) 36 (2.3) 257 (16.1) 46 (2.9) 38 (2.4) 51 (3.2) 1155 (72.4) Newsletter 105 (6.6) 3 (0.2) 0 (0) 5 (0.3) 63 (3.9) 12 (0.8) 8 (0.5) 14 (0.9) 1492 (93.5) Telephone 367 (22.9) 2 (0.1) 11 (0.7) 67 (4.2) 193 (12.1) 41 (2.6) 34 (2.1) 19 (1.2) 1230 (77.1) SMS 307 (19.2) 2 (0.1) 9 (0.6) 72 (4.5) 199 (12.5) 11 (0.7) 5 (0.3) 9 (0.6) 1290 (80.8) Email 117 (6.3) 3 (0.2) 1 (0.1) 12 (0.8) 63 (3.9) 15 (0.9) 10 (0.6) 13 (0.8) 1480 (92.7) Facebook 52 (3.3) 4 (0.3) 5 (0.3) 5 (0.3) 30 (1.9) 3 (0.2) 2 (0.1) 3 (0.2) 1545 (96.7)
  34. 34. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 34 Twitter 28 (1.8) 2 (0.1) 1 (0.1) 0 (0) 22 (1.4) 2 (0.1) 0 (0) 1 (0.1) 1569 (98.2) Internet/blog 31 (1.9) 2 (0.1) 2 (0.1) 0 (0) 25 (1.6) 0 (0) 1 (0.1) 1 (0.1) 1566 (98.1) Clearly, the most often use mode was that of face-to-face contact with 27.6% of the Apprentices reporting this mode. This was followed by telephone (22.9%) then SMS (19.2%). The other modes were used less often (each by less than 12% of the sample). In every mode, the highest reported frequency of contact was once per month, with face-to-face, telephone and SMS contact of this frequency being the most often reported (between 12% and 16%). Table 5.2 shows the number of mentors reporting their use of different modes of contact with their apprentices and their mean ratings on the effectiveness of the modes for communicating with their mentees (N=137). Table 5.2 Numbers of mentors, use of modes of communication, and mean effectiveness ratings Mode of contact Number of mentors using the mode (%) Mean effectiveness rating – score range of 1 to 4 (standard deviation) Newsletter 19 (11.2) 1.77 (0.84) Telephone 124 (73.4) 3.33 (0.67) Face-to-face 126 (74.6) 3.81 (0.55) SMS 104 (61.5) 3.01 (1.00) Email 82 (48.5) 2.48 (0.95) Facebook 32 (18.9) 2.15 (1.05) Twitter 15 (8.9) 1.62 (0.80) Internet/blog 12 (7.1) 1.68 (0.92) Other 13 (7.7) 0.59 (0.93) As is evident from Table 5.2, the largest numbers of mentors reported using face-to-face, telephone and SMS contact and these were also the modes of contact that mentors rated the highest in regard to effectiveness. These modes were used by significantly more mentors and were rated significantly higher in effectiveness than any other mode. The modes rated least effective (apart from the ‘other’
  35. 35. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 35 category) were newsletter, internet/blog and Twitter. These were also the least used forms of communication. Correlational and regression analyses The Table 5.3 shows the correlation matrix of attitude towards the Mentoring Initiative and mentors’ ratings of how effective different modes of communication are. The results indicate that views on the effectiveness of SMS, face-to-face, email and telephone are significantly associated with attitude to Mentoring Initiative. Thus if a mentor has a positive attitude towards the effectiveness of these modes, then they are also likely to hold a positive opinion on the Mentoring Initiative, and vice versa. Other correlations are not significant, and hence there is no association in those cases. Table 5.3 Correlations between views on Effectiveness of Mentoring and Mentor ratings of effectiveness of Modes of Communication Mode of Communication Newsletter Pearson Correlation 0.075 Sig. (2-tailed) .380 N 139 Telephone Pearson Correlation 0.231 Sig. (2-tailed) .006 N 139 Face-to-face Pearson Correlation 0.269 Sig. (2-tailed) .001 N 139 SMS Pearson Correlation 0.314 Sig. (2-tailed) .000 N 139 Email Pearson Correlation 0.267 Sig. (2-tailed) .002 N 139 Facebook Pearson Correlation 0.113 Sig. (2-tailed) .185 N 139 Twitter Pearson Correlation -0.005 Sig. (2-tailed) .949 N 139 Internet//blog Pearson Correlation -0.059 Sig. (2-tailed) .490 N 139 Other modes Pearson Correlation -0.069 Sig. (2-tailed) .419 N 139
  36. 36. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 36 According to these results, the communications modes most used were face-to-face, telephone and SMS contact. The most reported frequency of contact was once per month. This is true across all cohorts. Also, according to Table 5.3, increased frequency of use of SMS and face-to-face appears to be associated with a more positive attitude to the Mentoring Initiative. Table 5.4 shows the numbers of apprentices from all of the three AAC APM categories reporting use of different communication modes. Clearly, there is the same pattern of use in this sample as in the full sample of apprentices who completed the survey, with most reporting use of face-to-face, telephone and SMS contact. Table 5.4 Numbers of apprentices (and proportions) in the AACs (where known) using different Communication modes Therefore, the modes and frequency of contact between apprentices and mentors regarded as most effective or beneficial are SMS, face-to-face and telephone contact on at a minimum basis of once a month. This was true as well for the four target cohorts. 6. Engagement and Support Methods and Strategies Survey Responses As summarised by the thematic analysis, each AAC had a different approach for engaging and supporting Kickstart Australian Apprentices. The responses from apprentices and mentors alike in the Kickstart Surveys identified methodologies that they believed appear to be working. Below is a summary of the survey responses from both rounds of surveying. Apprentice per Mentor Ratio Mentors were asked in both rounds of surveying how many Australian Apprentices they were in charge of mentoring. Figures 13 and 14 below reflect the first and second round responses, respectively. As can be seen from these figures, of the respondents in the first round, most were mentoring at least 51 apprentices. The second round response shows a greater number of mentors having 1-10 apprentices, with the over 50 apprentices per mentor group still having a large Communication Mode Used N Not used or Missing Percent Total N Percent N Percent Face-to-face 400 25.0% 1197 75.0% 1597 100% Newsletter 80 5.0% 1517 95.0% 1597 100% Telephone 337 21.1% 1260 78.9% 1597 100% SMS 279 17.5% 1318 82.5% 1597 100% Email 97 6.1% 1500 93.9% 1597 100% Facebook 40 2.5% 1557 97.5% 1597 100% Twitter 24 1.5% 1573 98.5% 1597 100% Internet/Blog 25 1.6% 1572 98.4% 1597 100%
  37. 37. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 37 representation. The variance between rounds could be due to some mentors indicating the number of apprentices they were currently actively engaged with, rather than the total number of apprentices in their group, as indicated by the comments to this question. It could also be due in part to the increased number of mentors that responded to the survey in the second round. Figures 15 and 16 reflect the reported number of Australian Apprentices from each target cohort that mentors were providing mentoring and/or support services to. Most mentors reported having between one and ten apprentices in their group that were a member of one of these cohorts. Further details on these numbers are given in the statistical analysis below. 0 10 20 30 40 50 1-10 11-20 21-50 51+ Figure 13. Number of Australian Apprentices Mentors are Currently Providing with Mentoring and Support Services (Round 1) 0 10 20 30 40 50 1-10 11-20 21-50 51+ Figure 14. Number of Australian Apprentices Mentors are Currently Providing with Mentoring and Support Services (Round 2)
  38. 38. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 38 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 Indigenous Australians People with disability Australian School-based Apprentices Priority employment areas Figure 15. Number of Target Cohort Australian Apprentices Being Mentored (Round 1) 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51+ Not Applicable 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Indigenous Australians People with disability Australian School-based Apprentices Priority employment areas Figure 16. Number of Target Cohort Australian Apprentices Being Mentored (Round 2) 1-10 11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51+ Not Applicable
  39. 39. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 39 Mentors Views on Effectiveness of AAC Approach/Methodology Throughout both rounds of survey responses the overall majority of mentors thought that their AAC’s model for the mentoring initiative was working highly effectively or effectively. Very few rated their model as somewhat effective and only in the second round did any mentors respond that their AACs model was ineffective. This is reflective of the overall positive attitude that mentors had of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative and the positive support the Initiative has received. 0 5 10 15 20 25 Highly Effective Effective Somewhat Effective Not Effective Figure 17. How Effective Mentors Found their AAC's Approach/Methodology in Assisting Mentees through their Australian Apprenticeship (Round 1) 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 Highly Effective Effective Somewhat Effective Not Effective Figure 18. How Effective Mentors Found their AAC's Approach/Methodology in Assisting Mentees through their Australian Apprenticeship (Round 2)
  40. 40. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 40 In order to support the above qualitatively, Mentors were asked to provide qualitative feedback on actions that they believed significantly assisted mentees through their Australian Apprenticeships. The following is a summary of the responses that were most frequently given in various forms: For Australian Apprentices in General:  Regular, consistent and frequent contact with the Apprentice, especially:  Face-to-face contact  SMS contact  Intervene or mediate with employers to resolve issues at work  Referral to other support programs or information on assistance should a personal issue arise  Helping with paperwork/forms  Establishing a relationship with/involvement of other stakeholders to the apprenticeship such as parents or guardians, RTOs, TAFE, etc.  Pastoral care/holistic approach (i.e. being actively involved with the Apprentice, teaching them a skill for work, working on better communication with others, etc.) The methods adopted by AACs that mentors identified as having a positive impact on retention for the four Target Cohorts include: Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Cohort:  Increased face-to-face contact  Cultural awareness training for mentors  Links with Indigenous service providers and/or Elders Persons with Disability:  Referral to other support services (i.e. OzHelp, DAAWS, DES, etc.)  Increased face-to-face contact Australian School-Based Apprentices:  Frequent contact (face-to-face & SMS)  Liaising with all stakeholders to the apprenticeship (family, school, teachers, employer)  Encouragement and increased support through the transition from school-based apprentice to full time apprentice Priority Employment Areas:  Increased face-to-face contact  Help with incentives/subsidies available to them  Consulting/regular contact with the employer
  41. 41. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 41 When Kickstart Australian Apprentices were asked whether they currently access any form of mentoring or support services, a total of 262 from 459 survey respondents (57%) in the first round and 391 from 707 (55%) in the second round indicated that they were not currently accessing mentoring or support services. It should be noted however that 198 out of the 657 Kickstart Australian Apprentices who completed the survey in the first round and 236 out of 943 in the second round did not provide a response to this question in the survey. This could be due to the fact that the question specifically asks for current access rather than access in general or past access to mentoring services. However, if this response is taken as indicative, it shows that possibly half of those apprentices signed up for the Mentoring Initiative had not needed to access the mentor at the time of surveying. 57% 43% Figure 19. Apprentices Currently Accessing Mentoring or Support Services (Round 1) Yes No
  42. 42. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 42 Apprentices were asked to indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statements:  Mentoring provided me with practical tips for surviving the initial months of my Australian Apprenticeship  Mentoring has assisted me with understanding my training requirements (i.e. for my Registered Training Organisation)  I am able to rely on mentoring for advice on resolving conflict/issues at my workplace  Mentoring has provided me with advice on teamwork, preparing and coping with work, time management and career aspirations/planning  Mentoring has assisted me with filling out paperwork relating to my Australian Apprenticeship  Mentoring is accessible when I need advice or support  Mentoring is motivating me to stay on and complete my Australian Apprenticeship Overall response was very positive, with an even stronger positive response in the second round of surveying. The largest response in the first round appears to be that Apprentices agreed that mentoring assisted them with understanding training requirements. The largest response in the second round of surveying was that Apprentices strongly agreed that mentoring was accessible when they needed advice or support. 45% 55% Figure 20. Australian Apprentices Currently Accessing Mentoring or Support Services (Round 2) Yes No
  43. 43. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 43 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 Figure 21. Kickstart Australian Apprentices' Opinions on Mentoring and Support Services (Round 1) Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Not applicable 0 50 100 150 200 Figure 22. Kickstart Australian Apprentices' Opinion on Mentoring and Support Services (Round 2) Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Not applicable
  44. 44. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 44 Overall Australian Apprentices agreed that advice and support from a mentor would increase the chances of completing their Australian Apprenticeship. Of the total number of Australian Apprentices that responded from both rounds of surveying, 67% agreed to this statement and 15% strongly agreed, therefore 82% considered it possible that a mentor would help them to complete their apprenticeship. This kind of positive response from apprentices to the mentoring initiative is likely help the possibility of increasing retention rates as they are more likely to access support should an issue arise if they feel it will have a positive effect. 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Figure 23. Kickstart Australian Apprentices' Belief that Mentor Support will Increase Chances of Completing Apprenticeship (Round 1)
  45. 45. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 45 Qualitative Suggestions from Mentors for Future Initiatives Mentors were asked in both rounds of surveying to identify two aspects of the program they would do differently if they could plan the project again. Their responses fell into broad categories:  Timing issues  Contact schedules  Employer Engagement  Administrative issues Mentors had a strong response to the timing of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative. The following statements represent the key timing aspects of the program that they would change:  Better timing for the start-up/roll out of the program (this was seen more so in the responses to the first round of surveying rather than after the Kickstart extension)  Engage apprentices in the Mentoring Initiative from the beginning of their apprenticeship, i.e. at the time of sign up  Put more effort into helping an Apprentice quickly recommence in a new apprenticeship should they cancel or leave their position There was a large showing of responses with regard to the schedule for contacting apprentices. Most of the responses centred on the following themes:  Have a risk assessment strategy in place for identifying those apprentices that are more at risk 0.00% 10.00% 20.00% 30.00% 40.00% 50.00% 60.00% 70.00% Strongly Agree Agree Disagree Strongly Disagree Figure 24. Kickstart Australian Apprentices' Belief that Mentor Support will Increase Chances of Completing Apprenticeship (Round 2)
  46. 46. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 46  Assign more time/effort to those apprentices who are at a higher level of risk of leaving their apprenticeship than to those who are not experiencing any issues rather than having a set contact schedule for all apprentices  More flexibility in the contact schedule, being able to adjust the risk level and therefore the amount of contact in order to more properly address the individual needs of apprentices  Employ more mentors in order to ensure that all apprentices are getting the proper amount of attention and support Mentors also felt strongly about engaging the employer as part of the Mentoring Initiative. Samples of responses under this area include:  Early engagement of the employer in the program so that they are able to assist the apprentice should issues arise (i.e. engaging the employer from the on-set of the apprenticeship in order to encourage buy-in)  More communication with the employer, including regular meetings with the employer, providing support to the employer, involving the employer in meetings with the apprentice where appropriate to identify and mediate issues There were a broad range of other aspects of the program that mentors felt needed to be changed, they have been grouped together here as ‘administrative issues.’  Extend the program to include all Australian Apprentices, rather than the selected age group and targeted occupations  Better identifying the role of the mentor where multiple stakeholders are involved, i.e. where the apprenticeship is with a GTO or mining company that already has a Mentoring Initiative. This would help to reduce confusion on the part of the employers and apprentices as to the support services being offered by the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative.  Better marketing/heavier promotion, both to apprentices and employers, from the outset of the program in order to increase awareness of the program. This also includes increased market research where time and budget allows. o This also included using the information from workshops conducted to make flyers or reference sheets for apprentices and employers and not having workshops at all as they were seen as impinging on time  Reduce the amount of administration that mentors have to do in order to free up more time for addressing apprentice needs  Use of a more thorough risk assessment/questionnaire form in order to collect more information and in turn better identify risk issues As part of the Australian Apprentice Survey, apprentices who currently receive mentoring and support services were asked for suggestions that would improve the mentoring experience for them (including additional areas where they might require advice or assistance that current mentoring and support service may not be providing to them). The overall response was very positive, with many respondents commenting that that they had no suggestions and that the program was going very
  47. 47. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 47 well. The most recurring suggestions were those that had to do with the communication strategies and how often they were being contacted. Out of these suggestions, many commented that they would like to receive more frequent and regular contacts. Some commented that they had reached a milestone in their apprenticeship (i.e. changing jobs within their current organisation or moving from school to a full time apprenticeship) without having received contact from their mentor. Relatively few comments regarded having fewer contacts, but those that did indicated that they did not need to be contacted as frequently as they were not experiencing any problems with their apprenticeships and were not in need of support services. Another comment made was that the phone calls they did receive were not very thorough and should involve more than “yes or no” questions. A large number of apprentices commented that though they had yet to need the service, it was good to know that they had someone to contact anytime they needed help with anything. Other themes noted in these comments include:  Mentors and support services being available outside of work hours  SMS is a good method of contact  Face-to-face visits are a good contact method, would like to have more face-to-face or onsite visits  Would like for the service to continue longer than six months  Would like to have the service available throughout the entire apprenticeship  Would like more help with/information on paperwork (e.g. required TAFE documents, Tools for Your Trade paperwork, etc.)  Speaking/mediating with employer  Facebook would be a good means of communication/private messaging with Mentor These themes were consistent throughout the general respondent population as well as within the four target cohort groups. Statistical Analysis of Engagement and Support Strategies In order to better understand the methods and models used by AACs that appear to be the most beneficial for Australian Apprentices, a statistical analysis was conducted in order to determine good practice approaches to the engagement and support of Australian Apprentices. Statistical Analysis of Apprentices per Mentor Ratios For the purposes of statistical analysis an average of apprentices per mentor for each AAC was found by dividing the total number of Kickstart Apprentices mentored at that AAC by the reported number of mentors employed. This data was then analysed against mentor and apprentice attitudes in an attempt to find an optimum mentee group size. Table 6.1 shows the numbers of mentors reporting looking after specific numbers of apprentices from each of the four Target cohorts. Thus 94 mentors reported having one to 10 apprentices with Indigenous backgrounds and 30 mentors report having 51 or more people undertaking apprenticeships in Priority Employment Areas. Thus most mentors have 1 to10 apprentices in one of
  48. 48. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 48 the Target groups; quite a large number of mentors (20) have 11 to 20 apprentices in Australian School-based Apprenticeships and 30 mentors have at least 51 Apprentices in Priority Employment Areas. Table 6.1 Number of Mentors looking after the specified number of Apprentices in each Target group Number of Apprentices Target Group Indigenous Australians Disability Australian School-based Apprentices Priority Employment Areas 1-10 94 80 68 33 11-20 6 4 20 6 21-30 1 2 7 4 31-40 1 1 4 6 41-50 1 1 2 5 51 or more 3 0 11 30 Table 6.2 Mean locations (std. dev) on Effectiveness Scale (mentors), together with F statistics and p values comparing means of sub-groups Group Sub-group N Mean location in logits (std dev) F statistic Prob. value Whole sample 139 2.30 (2.75) Commencement Period First 59 2.70 (2.09) 2.098 0.150 Second 80 2.02 (3.14) Region Metro 71 2.43 (2.82) 1.491 0.229 Regional 60 2.33 (2.77) Remote 7 0.558 (1.31) Number of apprentices being mentored 1-10 35 -0.07 (3.14) 17.077 <0.0001 11-20 32 1.09 (1.76) 21-50 23 3.44 (1.92) 51 or more 76 3.14 (2.09) Table 6.3 shows that apprentices from the AACs with up to 150 apprentices per mentor have significantly higher attitudes towards the mentoring Initiative than those from AACs with more than
  49. 49. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 49 300 apprentices per mentor. In general, the level of attitude tends to decrease with increasing ratios of apprentices to mentors. These results are shown graphically in Figure 25. Table 6.3 Differences in Apprentices’ Attitudes to mentoring scale according to AACs of different apprentice per mentor (APM) categories Attitudes to mentoring APM category N Mean/logits Std Dev F p 1 (1-150) 351 3.48 2.48 4.511 0.012 2 (151-300) 74 3.13 2.46 3(>300) 12 1.40 2.56 Total 437 3.36 2.49 Belief in efficacy of mentoring Initiative APM category N Mean/logits Std Dev F p 1 (1-150) 161 3.03 0.575 4.281 0.014 2 (151-300) 411 2.93 0.548 3 (>300) 110 2.83 0.619 Total 682 2.94 0.569
  50. 50. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 50 Figure 25. Levels of Attitudes towards Mentoring Initiative of apprentices from AACs of three different APM categories Table 6.4 shows the mean Attitudes to mentoring of target cohort apprentices by AAC Apprentices per mentor category. Note that the most reliable result is that for Priority Employment Areas and ‘other’ (that is, apprentices from none of the four cohorts) because of their larger numbers of respondents for whom data is available. Hence conclusions need to be interpreted and used with caution. Overall, the means are very high, indicating good support from all groups. Compared with other cohorts, Apprentices in Priority Employment Areas hold lower levels of attitudes (that is, are least supportive of mentoring), followed by Australian School-based Apprentices and Indigenous Australian Apprentices. The very few with Disabilities for whom data exists, are the most supportive.
  51. 51. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 51 Table 6.4 Attitudes to mentoring of four Target group apprentices according to three different AAC Apps per mentor (AMP) categories Apps per mentor Total 1 (1-150) 2 (151-300) 3 (300+) N Mean (std dev) N Mean (std dev) N Mean (std dev) F p N Mean (std dev) Indigenous Australians 18 3.91 (2.66) 2 4.70 (2.56) - - 0.157 0.696 20 3.99 (2.59) Disability 3 6.00 (0.69) 2 3.91 (3.70) - - 5 5.16 (2.23) Australian School-based Apprentices 47 3.86 (2.58) 10 2.99 (2.06) - - 1.015 0.317 57 3.71 (2.50) Priority Employment Areas 158 2.76 (2.19) 48 2.78 92.43) 1 1.29 0.215 0.807 207 2.76 (2.24) Other 147 4.01 (2.51) 21 3.88 (2.58) 11 1.41 (2.37) 5.514 0.005 179 3.83 (2.57) In the survey data, most mentors had more than 51 apprentices. The next most numerous category was 1-10 apprentices. Usually 1-10 Apprentices within these groups belonged to one or more of the target cohorts. Mentors with the most positive attitudes reported having 21 or more apprentices. The AACs were put in categories of Apprentice to Mentor Ratios (AMR) of small, medium and large. Small AACs had 1-150 apprentices per mentor, the medium category had 151-300 and the large had 301+ apprentices per mentor. Apprentices from those AACs in the small category had a more positive attitude and more approval of the mentoring initiative. This is likely due to the fact that the number of apprentices was more manageable and the mentor could divide their time within a risk management approach and apply more time to those high risk apprentices, rather than being ‘spread too thin’ to make an appropriate amount of contact with their apprentices. This is complementary to the findings for the communication methods that work best as stated above. Risk Assessment Strategies Most of the AACs had some form of risk assessment strategy, whether it was formal or informal. Apprentices from those AACs with formal risk assessment strategies had much more positive opinions about the Mentoring Initiative. This was true of all four target cohorts as well.
  52. 52. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 52 Table 6.5 shows the numbers of AACs advocating three different types of risk assessment strategies, namely, none reported, informal assessment procedures and formal assessment procedures. Those in the ‘none specified’ category did not include specific details of a risk assessment strategy in either their proposal or their final reports as submitted to DEEWR. Those considered to be informal consisted of procedures such as self-evaluation by the Apprentice, basing the assessment on the Mentor’s experience or instincts, and other such subjective approaches. AACs considered to have a formal risk assessment strategy were those that developed a formal risk profiling tool using either a pro-forma document or a computer generated formulaic assessment. Table 6.5 Numbers of AACs using one of three Risk assessment strategies Risk assessment strategies Number of Risk assessment Type of risk assessment Frequency (number of AACs) Percentage 1 None Specified 5 27.8% 2 Informal 7 38.9% 3 Formal 6 33.3% Total 18 100% Employer Support and/or Involvement Most AACs in their proposals advocated some level of employer support or involvement with the apprenticeship and its processes. The support or involvement included activities such as workshops for employers on workplace relations, assistance with better recruitment practices, cultural awareness and round table discussions between the mentor, apprentice and employer. The presence of a plan for employer support or involvement was measured against Apprentice attitude towards the program for both the general survey respondents and the respondents representing the four target cohorts. Apprentices from those AACs with some level of employer support or that advocated of employer engagement in the apprenticeship held a more positive attitude towards the Mentoring Initiative. This is also true of all target cohorts.
  53. 53. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 53 Table 6.6 Numbers of AACs inviting different levels of Employer Engagement Employer Engagement Employer Engagement Type Employer Engagement, Yes or No Frequency (Number of AACs) Percentage 1 No 3 16.7% 2 Yes 15 83.3% Total 18 100% Table 6.7 Retention rates and Apprentice attitudes to mentoring by Employer Engagement Employer Engagement Employer Engagement, Yes or No N Retention rate (%) F p N Mean Apprentice Attitude to Mentoring Initiative (std dev) F p No 3 86.5 0.408 0.532 42 1.85 (2.04) 17.556 <0.001 Yes 15 84.1 399 3.51 (2.48) Total 18 84.5 441 3.35 (2.48) Table 6.8 Attitudes to mentoring of Apprentices in the four target cohorts by employer engagement Employer Engagement Cohort Employer Engagement Type N Mean Locations Std. Dev. F P Indigenous Australians 1 1 0.087 2 19 4.16 2.56 Disability 1 1 1.29 2 4 6.13 0.62 Australian 1 2 1.69 2.58
  54. 54. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 54 School- based Apprentices 2 57 3.68 2.50 Priority Employment Areas 1 21 1.95 2.04 2.936 0.088 2 188 2.83 2.23 Services Endorsed by Apprentices As stated above, Australian Apprentices were asked in the Apprentice Survey to give their opinion on various support services offered by the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative. The services that were endorsed the most by apprentices were having mentors accessible, helping with resolving issues/conflicts at work, and helping to understand training requirements. Table 6.9 lists the items on a continuum in increasing order of Rasch scores which are known as locations. These locations are the Rasch-transformed scores with an equal-interval unit called a logit. Table 6.9 Locations of items and their content: Apprentices Item Location (logits) Content Q15f -0.756 Mentoring is accessible when I need support Q15c -0.375 Able to rely on mentoring for advice on resolving conflict/issues at my work Q15b -0.265 Mentoring has assisted me in understanding training requirements Q15g 0.113 Mentoring is motivating me to stay on and complete apprenticeship Q15e 0.249 Mentoring has assisted me fill out paperwork relating to apprenticeship Q15a 0.275 Mentoring provided me with practical tips for surviving initial months of apprenticeship Q15d 0.759 Mentoring has provided me with advice on teamwork, preparation, coping with work, time management, career aspirations The items that appear first in Table 6.9 are ones that apprentices found easy to endorse, in other words, they strongly agreed these were helpful aspects of mentoring. So Australian Apprentices strongly agreed that Mentoring is accessible when I need support, for example. The items at the end of the table require a high opinion of mentoring in order to endorse them. Thus an apprentice would need to have a high overall opinion of mentoring to agree that Mentoring has provided me with advice on teamwork, preparation, coping with work, time management, and career aspirations.
  55. 55. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 55 7. Retention Rates The impact of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative has been positive and in some AACs, significant. Compared with previous years’ retention rates for non-mentored apprentices, there was an average retention rate improvement of 14.57% across all AACs. The rates of improvement for individual AACs ranged from 1.92% to 60%. This section of the report summarises the various retention rates reported by the AACs as well as the data obtained from the Exit Apprentice Survey in order to determine the reasons for attrition as reported by Australian Apprentices who have left their apprenticeship. Retention Rates Table 7.1 shows the number of Kickstart apprentices, the number in each of four Target groups, the number who exited in the period December 2009 to November 2010, and the retention rates for each of 18 Australian Apprenticeship Centres, together with totals or averages. For analysis purposes, each AAC was assigned a number in order to give it an individual identity for the codification and analysis processes. Table 7.1 Numbers of Apprentices and retention rates by Target cohort and Commencement period Number of Apprentices7 AAC Total Commenced Period 1 Commenced Period 2 Indigenous Australians Persons with Disability Australian School-based Apprentices Priority Employment Areas 1 3,564 2,307 1,257 122 57 132 NA 2 1,311 548 763 44 7 98 202 3 210 74 136 2 5 8 100 4 381 203 178 4 15 21 NA 5 2,227 1,307 920 53 43 114 791 6 429 262 167 27 3 14 258 7 1,770 955 815 66 63 337 354 8 513 302 211 38 5 10 NA 9 119 86 33 17 1 3 117 10 403 258 145 17 44 17 380 11 801 396 405 19 16 179 NA 12 1,864 1,132 732 60 38 106 NA 13 155 90 65 6 0 3 97 14 907 588 319 30 13 8 NA 7 The Apprentice numbers contained herein are based on the DEEWR database records for commencement periods 1 and 2. It is noted that there is a slight variation between these records and the Final Reports of some AACs as to the total number of Australian Apprentices as at 30 June 2011. However, this variation is slight (28 Australian Apprentices) and the numbers do not affect the overall data output substantially (<0.1%) and are not expected to affect any conclusions drawn herein.
  56. 56. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 56 15 1,169 655 514 126 26 228 1,169 16 2,303 945 1,358 67 43 323 647 17 569 323 246 16 9 10 117 18 1,480 730 750 26 26 92 NA Total 20,175 11,161 9,014 740 414 1,703 4,232 % 55.2 44.6 3.7 2.1 8.4 21.0 Numbers of Kickstart apprentices ranged from a minimum of 137 to a maximum of 3564 at any one AAC and most started in the first Commencement period of December 2009 to February 2010. The Priority Employment Areas cohort had the largest intake (20.9%) and the Disability cohort had the smallest (2.1%) retention rates. Table 7.2 shows the retention rates for the whole group of Kickstart Australian Apprentices and for the four target cohorts, and two commencement period groups. Table 7.2 Retention rates for four Target cohorts and two Commencement period groups Retention rates (percentages of total group) AAC Total Commencement Period 1 Commencement Period 2 Indigenous Australians Persons with Disability Australian School- Based Apprentices Priority Employment Areas 1 78.1% 79.5% 77.5% 74.1% 65.9% 80.9% NA 2 78.9% 78.3% 79.3% 65.6% 60.0% 56.8% 74.5% 3 79.0% 81.0% 76.0% 100.0% 58.0% 83.0% 80.6% 4 86.0% 88.0% 83.0% 116.7% 13.8% 35.1% NA 5 88.1% 91.8% 82.6% 38.0% 44.2% 43.9% 46.2% 6 92.0% 97.0% 84.0% 89.5% 100.0% 87.5% NA 7 90.8% 90.8% 90.9% 88.1% 83.5% 89.1% 91.4% 8 91.6% 94.3% 87.6% 55.2% 100.0% 100.0% NA 9 83.0% 79.0% 88.0% 82.0% 100.0% 100.0% 83.0% 10 91.5% 93.0% 88.3% 75.0% 40.0% 76.5% 89.0% 11 88.4% 88.6% 80.7% 68.0% 81.3% 87.0% NA 12 70.3% 68.3% 73.4% 58.6% 68.4% 53.8% NA 13 85.8% 87.8% 83.1% 100.0% NA 33.3% 90.7% 14 89.4% 91.6% 85.9% 82.2% 83.5% 100.0% NA 15 83.5% 83.1% 84.8% 75.4% 80.8% 74.6% 83.5% 16 82.0% 79.0% 81.5% 71.5% 85.0% 88.0% 89.0% 17 82.3% 81.4% 83.3% 68.8% 66.7% 100.0% 66.7% 18 79.8% 85.6% 74.1% 73.6% 77.4% 72.8% NA Avg. 84.5% 85.5% 82.4% 76.8% 71.1% 75.7% 79.5% The mean retention rate in the period December 2009 to November 2010 was 84.5%, that is, a loss of 15.5% of all apprentices. This rate is larger than that estimated from the survey completions where 1597 apprentices completed the survey and 105 apprentices completed exit surveys
  57. 57. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 57 (indicating a 6.2% loss, or a retention rate of 93.8%). This suggests the survey is less representative of the Exit Apprentices. The losses in the first and second commencement periods were very similar. Of the four target cohorts, the Priority Employment Areas cohort had the smallest percentage loss (an attrition rate of 20.6% or a retention rate of 79.5%) and the Disability cohort had the largest (an attrition rate of 28.9% or a retention rate of 71.1%). Thus the retention rates across all four target cohorts are very similar and less than that for the sample as a whole. Thus members of the target cohorts are more at risk of exiting than other apprentices. Table 7.3 Retention rates for all apprentices for three time periods within each of two Commencement periods Retention rates (percentages) Commencement Period 1 Commencement Period 2 AAC number 3 Months 6 Months 12 Months (Where Applicable) 3 Months 6 Months 12 Months (Where Applicable) 1 98.6% 95.6% 84.6% 92.1% 84.0% NA 2 90.3% 84.5% 77.2% 89.3% 80.3% 75.1% 3 98.7% 97.3% 82.4% 92.7% 86.0% 76.5% 4 100.0% 100.0% 97.0% 90.0% 85.0% 84.0% 5 99.7% 96.2% 87.2% 99.0% 89.5% 50.3% 6 99.0% 97.0% 92.0% 92.0% 84.0% 79.0% 7 100.0% 100.0% 98.8% 99.6% 94.6% 88.8% 8 99.6% 98.4% 68.6% NA NA NA 9 99.0% 89.5% 89.2% 97.0% 90.9% 87.9% 10 100.0% 100.0% 98.4% 97.2% 95.8% 93.7% 11 94.6% 90.4% 80.7% 88.9% 80.3% 70.1% 12 97.0% 91.0% 82.5% 93.6% 93.6% NA 13 100.0% 100.0% 87.8% 98.5% 92.3% 83.1% 14 99.5% 99.8% 96.8% 97.8% 91.9% 19.4% 15 100.0% 99.2% 85.5% 92.6% 86.0% 81.1% 16 90.0% 84.0% 70.0% 88.0% 80.0% 73.0% 17 106.0%8 100.9% 89.5% 98.4% 88.6% NA 18 99.3% 95.8% 85.6% 89.2% 80.1% 74.1% Avg. 98.4% 95.5% 86.3% 93.9% 87.2% 74.0% It may be seen that the retention rates decreased from 3 months to 12 months after the beginning of both commencement periods. This is as might be expected, however, the point of interest to note is that the attrition rate increases during the second six months for both commencement periods (approximately 10% and 13%, respectively) compared with the first three months 8 Where a percentage indicates higher than 100%, generally it indicates that more Apprentices had been added on in the first three months, thereby increasing the retention rate from the starting date.
  58. 58. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 58 (approximately 2% and 6% respectively) and the first six months (approximately 5.5% and 6% respectively). This suggests that although apprentices may decide to exit at any time, the crucial period for the majority of those who leave (at least in the first 12 months) is in the second six months after apprentices commence their apprenticeships. Analysis on the Exit Survey Data If an apprentice chose to withdraw from his or her apprenticeship, they were invited to complete a survey aimed at identifying the reasons for this action and their views on the Mentoring Initiative. Data were again collected on two occasions, though in this case no person responded twice. Characteristics of the sample (descriptive statistics) One hundred and five people withdrew from their apprenticeships and responded to the exit survey. Thirty-five apprentices who exited their apprenticeships completed the survey on Occasion 1 and 70 on Occasion 2 (again reflecting the different lengths of time of enrolment between the two occasions). Table 7.4 shows the characteristics of these Exit Apprentices with a breakdown of frequencies according to Gender, Region, Commencement period and Target Group membership. Table 7.4 Characteristics of the Exit Apprentice samples: frequencies by Occasion, Gender, Region, Period of Commencement and Target cohort Group Sub-group Occasion 1 Occasion 2 Total (%) Gender Male 19 55 74 (70.5) Female 16 15 31 (29.5) Region Metropolitan 10 43 53 (50.5) Regional 15 26 41 (39.0) Remote 7 1 8 (7.6) Commencement Period 1 23 10 62 (59.0) 2 39 24 34 (32.4) Target group membership Indigenous Australians 3 4 7 (6.7) Persons with Disability 0 1 1 (1.0) Australian School- based Apprentices 4 5 9 (8.6) Priority Employment Areas 8 29 37 (35.2) None of the above 20 31 51 (48.6) Total 105
  59. 59. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 59 Most of those Apprentices who chose to exit were male (70.5%), with only 29.5% being females. However, when compared to the total number apprentices, approximately twice the proportion of females (11.2%) exited their apprentices than males (5.2%). Half of all Exited Apprentices were located in metropolitan centres and 59 percent had commenced in the earlier period (December 2009 to February 2010), indicating that people take some time (at least several months) to decide to leave an apprenticeship. As in the sample of current Apprentices, most of the Exited Apprentices were not associated with any of the target cohorts. If they were, they tended to be in one of the Priority Employment Areas (35.2%). About 7% were of Indigenous background and just one person reported having a disability. These proportions are slightly different from those in the Australian Apprentice Survey sample in some instances: one notable difference is, the larger proportion of Indigenous Australian Apprentices tending to exit (11.5% of the total number of Australian Apprentice and Exited Apprentice Indigenous Australians compared with 5.2% of all Apprentices other than the Indigenous Australians Apprentice cohort). In other words, Indigenous Australians Apprentices appear to be overrepresented in the Exit Apprentice sample. Similar statistics for the other groups (proportion of total Exited Apprentices and Australian Apprentices) are 6.6%, 5%, 4.9% and 6.4% for Disability, Australian School-based Apprentices, Priority Employment Areas and the ‘none’ groups, respectively. This suggests Indigenous background Apprentices leave apprenticeships at twice the rate of other groups. Of the 105 Exited Apprentice respondents, 42 (40%) stated they were going to start, or had already started, a new Australian Apprenticeship in the future. Also, 26 (24.8% of the total sample of Exited Apprentices, or 61.9% of the 42 people) had received advice from a mentor in regard to doing this. In other words, despite leaving their Apprenticeship, approximately 62% of those Exited Apprentices that planned on moving into another apprenticeship sought a Mentor’s help in doing so. This speaks highly of a Mentor’s role in the Australian Apprenticeship even for those Apprentices who have left. Analysis of Access to mentoring Of 105 Exited Apprentices who responded to the question, 53 (50.5%) said they had accessed mentoring services and 43 (41%) said they had not. Table 7.5 shows the breakdown of numbers of Exited Apprentices accessing and not accessing mentors by Target group, Region and Commencement period. Greater proportions of the Indigenous Australian Apprentices and Priority Employment Areas group Apprentices had accessed mentoring services, compared with the other Target groups. Greater proportions of Metropolitan and Remote groups had accessed mentors rather than not and similarly for both commencement periods.
  60. 60. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 60 Table 7.5 Frequencies of Exited Apprentices who had (Yes) and had not (No) accessed mentoring, by Region, Commencement period and Target group Group Sub-group Access: Yes (%) Access: No (%) Total (%) Region Metropolitan 28 (57.14) 21 (42.9) 49 (46.7) Regional 17 (46) 20 (54) 37 (35.2) Remote 5 (71.4) 2 (28.6) 7 (6.7) Commencement Period 1 37 (69.8) 16 (30.2) 53 (50.5) 2 25 (58.1) 18 (41.9) 43 (41) Target group membership Indigenous Australians 6 (85.7) 1 (14.3) 7 (6.7) Persons with Disability 0 (0) 1 (100) 1 (1) Australian School- based Apprentices 3 33.3) 6 (66.6) 9 (8.6) Priority Employment Areas 22 (59.5) 13 (35.1) 37 (35.2) None of the above 22 (50) 22 (50) 44 (41.9) Table 7.6 shows some of the reasons the Exited Apprentices agreed had underlain their decision not to access the help of a mentor, and the number of Exited Apprentices giving each reason. Not being aware of the Mentoring Initiative was (of the reasons listed in the survey) the main reason, though still only 18% of the Exited Apprentices surveyed chose it. The second two highest percentages of Exiting Apprentices indicated that they either did not need mentor support or were capable of doing the apprenticeship without mentor support. This indicates the need for ongoing risk analysis, which would allow the mentor to update the risk level of an apprentice and adjust the level of support being given accordingly. This would be an efficient use of resources. Also evident is the need for better marketing in order to increase awareness of the initiative as well as the number of apprentices volunteering to participate in it.
  61. 61. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 61 Table 7.6 Reasons for not accessing mentoring and number of exit apprentices giving each reason Target groups frequency / number of Exit Apprentices (percentage of total for each Target group) Reason for not accessing mentor services Frequency / number of Exit Apprentices (% of total Exit group) Indigenous Australians (% of total N=7) Persons with Disability (% of total N=1) Australian School- based Apprentices (% of total N=9) Priority Employment Areas (% of total N=37) Not aware of mentoring and support services available 19 (18.1) 1 (14.3) 1 (100) 2 (22.2) 8 (21.6) Advice/support of mentor not needed 10 (9.5) 0 0 1 (11.1) 3 (8.1) Capable of doing apprenticeship without mentoring/support services 11 (10.5) 1 (14.3) 0 3 (33.3) 3 (8.1) Other 9 (8.6) 0 0 1 (11.1) 1 (2.7) Exited Apprentices were asked to identify what services or help they had accessed from mentors. Table 7.7 shows these numbers for a range of services, according to Gender, Region and Target group. The service most used was that of helping to resolve conflict/issues at work and the least used was tips for time management and preparation. This is consistent with qualitative feedback from the mentor survey wherein mentors were asked to identify at least two actions that significantly assisted mentees through their Australian Apprentices. Reponses were of a varied nature; however among the most reported actions were mediating conflicts at work and referral to services to assist with resolving any issues that might arise during the apprenticeship.
  62. 62. Review of the Kickstart Mentoring Initiative – Final Report 62 Table 7.7 Numbers of Exited Apprentices accessing different types of mentoring services (out of a total of 105), according to Gender, Region and Target group Types of mentoring services accessed Group Sub group (total number) Tips in initial months Under- standing requirements Advice on resolving issues Tips on time management Career advice Paperwork assistance Other Total/ 105 18 20 27 14 19 17 9 Gender Male (74) 15 15 19 13 16 11 7 Female (31) 3 5 8 1 3 6 2 Region Metro (53) 10 12 14 9 9 8 5 Regional (41) 6 6 8 3 5 6 3 Remote (8) 1 2 4 1 4 3 1 Group Indigenous Australians (7) 1 3 4 1 2 1 0 Disability (1) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Australian School- based Apprentices (9) 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 Priority Employment Areas (37) 9 11 11 7 11 7 6

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