My apprenticeship or traineehship - Balancing your work/study life

The combination of full-time work, study and a social/family life is a balancing act anyone would find challenging. While studying may not come naturally to you, with a little planning and self-discipline, you can find a way to do your best.

Plan for what's expected and unexpected

Discuss with your supervisor and or employer what’s involved in your job, the regular duties you need to schedule and what training you will be undertaking.  They will be able to tell you what your job entails and when the busiest times are at your workplace, which will help you organise your study schedule. You are entitled to paid time off to study. Incorporating your study into your workday can help take the pressure off completing your qualification. A good philosophy to live by during your apprenticeship/traineeship is “it’s much easier to keep up than to catch up".

You should also talk to your trainer about how much coursework you’ll have and when your deadlines will be so you can plan ahead. Your Training Plan provides details of the expected delivery dates for each of the Units of Competency that you need to complete for your qualification. You can use it to schedule and keep on track with your coursework.

Study tips

  • Clearly mark all your study and work deadlines on your calendar.
  • Work out your top priorities and how long you have. Divide up your tasks so you can avoid a last minute rush.
  • Start your assignments early in case unplanned events come up.
  • Discuss your assignments with your employer and or supervisor, they may be able to provide you with some assistance in helping with any questions or concerns you may have.
Work life balance image with coffee and pen
Young people on skateboards

Communication

Not everyone understands the demands of study and work. Let your supervisor, friends and family know about your training schedule. Ask for help when you need it, remember two heads are better than one.

Remember due to experience everyone looks at issues from a different point of view, which means they may have advice which will help with any problems you may have.

Studying at home

To help study some people create a dedicated study space at home, this may help  you to remain focused and work uninterrupted. If you find it difficult to study at home, you could go to a library or use a quiet place at work. You may also try setting aside certain time slots for home study so you’re used to a routine.

Create a realistic and flexible schedule

Parts of your schedule may be fixed, such as if you need to attend classes and undertake specific work hours. You’ll then need to add homework and study time.

Build a routine you can stick to, but can also remember you can this schedule if you have to  adapt to new assignments, unexpected errands and/or sudden work pressures. Plan for enough study time so if something comes up, you can shift your study to another time slot.

With so much on your plate, you won’t have time to do everything. Choose your priorities and accept that you may have to miss a few social outings or exercise sessions to stay on top of work.

Your licence is the most important tool in your toolbox

Most apprentices and trainees need a licence to do their job or to get to worksites and training. A crash or an infringement can cost your licence, jeopardise your employment or worse. The Roads and Maritime Services’ Geared website is full of useful information, including licensing information – how to get and keep your licence, driving skills and tips for staying safe. Check out the GEARED site today.

Learn how to manage stress

While stress is usually referred to as a negative experience, not all stress is bad. Some stress can be helpful as it can motivate you to finish a task or even help you perform better in the moment.

However, if stress continues over a long period, it can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.

Get around eight hours of sleep, take regular breaks, eat well, stretch, and take a walk. Allow yourself time to enjoy some of the good things life has to offer.

Young people on skateboards

Take time off

  • At the beginning of each week schedule a social activity with your friends for the weekend - it will give you something to look forward to
  • Take time out to do some kind of physical activity, whether it’s walking in your local park, doing weights at the gym or fitting in a swim, exercise helps you release stress and get out of your head
  • Avoid nights out during the week so you can get enough sleep and feel energised and focussed at work.
Young people on skateboards

Keep track of your progress

  • Save copies of your assignments and assessments so you can see what you’ve achieved so far
  • Keep a record of the competencies you've completed so you know which units you still need to complete to get your qualification
  • If your qualification is updated, your training organisation will explain the difference between the old and new qualification and if you need to study any new subjects.

Ask for help

If you’re finding your training too hard, talk to your lecturers or trainers about your workload. If work's getting to you, talk to a colleague, your supervisor or your employer. The first step to making the situation better is talking to someone about it.

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Page last updated: 4 September 2018