8 things you should ask a GTO

For the businesses that rely on apprentices but don’t have the resources to manage the process, or need extra flexibility with the people they take on, finding the right Group Training Organisation (GTO) can be a godsend. GTOs not only leverage their recruitment know-how to find you the right apprentices, they also take on responsibility for the associated admin, training, study arrangements, mentoring and performance assessments until they become qualified.

So, where to start? With dozens of GTOs vying for your business, knowing which questions to ask up front can help you quickly decide on the organisation best placed to find and nurture one of your most precious assets. Here we reveal the eight questions we’d be asking a prospective GTO if we were in your shoes.

1. How transparent are your costs?

When shopping for a GTO, it is essential to understand exactly how the quoted hourly rate is calculated. In other words, what exactly are you paying for? The information may not proactively offered, but there is no reason you can’t ask the following questions to get the full picture:

  • Does the rate include GST?
  • What is the hourly breakdown charged for superannuation, workers’ compensation, personal protective equipment and training costs?
  • How do you calculate your GTO fee hourly?
  • Is the rate based on a 52-week year (the rate will always be cheaper this way), or based only on the weeks the apprentice will work on site?

This will also help you compare the costs with those quoted by other GTOs. At MIGAS we often help potential clients compare our costs with others to help them with their decision making – why not ask for the same support from other GTOs?

2. How do you keep your apprentices safe?

We all understand safety in the workplace is a top priority, but how will the GTO put this commitment into practice to protect your apprentices? The key questions here to ask is how they test for safety during the aptitude testing process, the type of safety training provided and whether they conduct regular site assessments and audits. Why not ask about their record on safety and whether they can share their latest data with you on accidents and fatalities of their apprentices on the job?

3. How do you support your apprentices once placed?

This is a really important question, as we know the type of care an apprentice is provided by their GTO has a direct correlation to their job satisfaction and the completion of their trade. How often could you and your apprentice expect to hear from their Field Officer? How often do they come in person to meet with each apprentice and can they tailor their modes of communication based on the apprentice’s preference? How quickly will they generally take to respond to queries? These answers will paint you a picture of the type of support you could expect.

4. What if we run out of work?

Part of the attraction of working with a GTO is knowing they can quickly take back your apprentice and find them an alternate position should your circumstances change. The important question here is how quickly would they be able to take them back and find them another job?

5. What are your completion rates?

This question is key as successful completion of an apprenticeship reflects strong recruitment processes and high quality support from the GTO. It is worth asking 'how many of their apprentices actually go on to complete their qualification?' If they don’t have the rate at hand ask them if it is below or above the national average, and factor that into your decision making.

6. Which industries do you specialise in?

Some GTOs specialise in servicing particular industries, while others take a more generalist approach. It is worth asking what runs on the board a potential GTO has in catering to your particular sector, as ideally you’d be looking for a specialist with strong industry contacts and an inside understanding of the environment you work within.

7. Do you have a bank of pre-screened candidates ready to go?

It is important to get a sense of the size of the GTOs candidate base in your particular location, particularly where a position needs to be quickly filled. Is it an area they work in frequently and do they have a strong existing pool of talent on their books, or will they need to undertake a major recruitment drive in order to fill the position?

8. What processes do you have in place to attract top candidates?

A successful hire begins with finding the right person, so it is worth understanding what techniques a GTO employs to bring in the top performers. For example, we’ve found paying slightly above the State Award is one way we attract higher calibre candidates. Does the GTO employ group interviews to widen the net further? How strong are their relationships with local schools to help them connect with bright up and comers?

Asking the tough questions up front can ensure you end up with the right GTO with the potential to become your valued business partner over the long-term.

About MIGAS

As an accredited GTO MIGAS is a one-stop shop for assistance and advice for young Australians seeking the right apprenticeship or traineeship. MIGAS has built extensive expertise sourcing talented apprentices and trainees, and currently manage a national workforce across the full spectrum of traditional trade specialisations.