The Industry Specialist Mentoring for Australian Apprentices (ISMAA) program is funded by the Australian Government and provides intensive support to apprentices and trainees in the first two years of their training in industries that are undergoing structural change.

The program assists in meeting the long-held concerns of Ai Group and others regarding the enduringly low completion rates of apprentices. This issue along with ongoing low commencement rates continues to be a major problem at a time when industry has reported shortages in trades and technician workers and is re-focusing its workforce to meet the challenges arising through digitalization and other advanced manufacturing technologies.

Industry Specialist Mentoring for Australian Apprentices (ISMAA) is delivered by Service Providers across Australia in major cities as well as rural and regional areas. Ai Group has been contracted to deliver services to apprentices in the manufacturing industry under the Program. Ai Group’s apprentice mentors work across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland.

Services Provided

The tailored support to apprentices has the aim of assisting them to address any barriers they face; improve their retention and increase the likelihood that they will complete their apprenticeship.

An apprentice mentor develops an individual mentoring plan with the apprentice according to their needs. The apprentice and mentor then continue to be in contact either face-to-face or by email or phone until the areas specified in the plan have been addressed.

The issues to be supported will depend on the apprentice but may include:

  • support and advice to adapt to the demands of the workplace
  • referrals to other forms of support where the apprentice is facing personal issues that may cause barriers to retention/completion of training
  • advice on pathways and skills development requirements within the manufacturing industry and the changing nature of work in manufacturing
  • support with skills training.

In the case of a new apprentice, the mentor can be available to assist with any issues as the apprentice becomes established.

Industry Specialist Mentoring for Australian Apprentices (ISMAA) complements other Australian Government support for apprentices, trainees and their employers through the Australian Incentives Program, Trade Support Loans and the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network.

Benefits of involvement in the program

Benefits for employers

  • measurable increases in staff morale, satisfaction, motivation and loyalty;
  • improved productivity and improved achievement of performance targets;
  • the fostering of shared values and team work;
  • identification and development of leadership potential for future business continuity
  • improved communication of values, goals and plans;
  • demonstration of personal and professional standards;
  • achievement of service excellence;
  • enhancement of people management skills of supervisors;
  • promotion of a learning culture and improvement in skills, competencies, technical knowledge and know-how;
  • promotion of workplace diversity;
  • development of cross-organisational skills and networks;
  • improved apprentice retention rate and return on training investment through lower attrition; and
  • reinforcement of supervisor/employer information to apprentices.

Benefits for apprentices

  • develops of potential and knowledge about the organisation;
  • enhances self-directed learning
  • complements ongoing formal study and/or training and development activities;
  • leads to career mobility and more opportunities as a result of the mentor relationship;
  • develops communication skills – to give and receive feedback;
  • receives encouragement and support to achieve goals;
  • develops new networks;
  • develops new and/or different perspectives;
  • gets assistance with ideas on personal and professional development for personal goals;
  • can demonstrate strengths and explore potential;
  • develops visibility within or outside an organisation;
  • increases confidence and self-awareness;
  • challenges to use talents and share expertise;
  • can model good work practices and behaviours;
  • stimulates to act as a mentor to others; and
  • helps develop transferable generic and employability skills.

Further information

Please contact Peter Staley, Coordinator - Apprentice Mentor Program, for further information or to arrange for an Apprentice Mentor to visit your business and apprentices. Ph: 0419 830 729 or email:


Industry Specialist Mentoring for Australian Apprentices (ISMAA) is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

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Contact our Mentors

South Australia

Peter Staley

Tel: 0419 830 729

Shawn Matthews

Tel: 0404 019 298

New South Wales

Anne Farrah

Tel: 0403 525 689

Colin Pereira
Tel: 0466 175 334


Wayne Lee
Tel: 0419 841 852

Peter Jasch
Tel: 0407 544 523 


Melbourne Southern VIC & Tasmania
Lois Hunt
Tel: 0400 622 165

Taylor Strachan
Tel: 0448 913 923

Russell Gambling
Tel: 0412 885 018