Many organisations are already aware of the clear benefits that apprentices bring to the workplace, but in case you’re not, here’s just a few that have been identified by the National Apprenticeship Service...
- Improve staff morale
- Reduce staff turnover
- Increases diversity in the workplace
- Improve productivity
- Create a talent pipeline
- Improve an organisation’s image
It’s therefore essential that businesses better understand how to support and nurture apprentices and keep them engaged and committed to the cause. To support you, I've identified 5 top tips…
1. Understand what the apprenticeship involves
The line managers of apprentices should fully understand what the apprenticeship actually is (and isn’t!). If they don’t understand what the apprenticeship is, how can they support the apprentice? Making time to actively participate in the apprentices’ enrolment, induction and one-to-ones with their Tutor is a must.
Pairing the apprentice with someone who has previously completed the same/similar apprenticeship or another member of staff who can benefit the apprentice’s development by sharing their wealth of experience is an excellent way of supporting apprentices. Regular meetings between the mentor and mentee (the apprentice) can help them develop their interpersonal skills and boost both confidence and competence. Hawk Training offers an incredibly popular Mentoring an Apprentice course which equips line managers and mentors with the skills needed to support apprentices in their workplace and apprenticeship programmes.
3. Keep the apprentice engaged
Sadly, not all apprentices will go on to complete their programme. Drop out typically occurs within the first few months of commencing their training. Regularly ‘touch base’ with the apprentice and check how they are feeling and getting on and whether they need any additional support.
4. Stretch and challenge
Apprentices are eager to learn. Ensure you and others avoid temptation to constantly give them basic and menial tasks to complete. If apprentices don’t feel sufficiently challenged they can become disengaged and at risk of dropping out of the programme and leaving your organisation. By engaging with the apprentice and their Tutor you will have a better understanding of where they are in terms of their training and development and identify additional work tasks/projects they can get involved with which will complement their development.
Depending on the apprenticeship, durations can vary from 12 months through to two years. Success isn’t just about the apprentice completing their apprenticeship programme at the very end. There will be key milestones reached throughout their learning journey such as achieving their Functional Skills qualifications, completing a unit/module of learning or achieving a personal learning goal. When these occur be sure to recognise and publicise the apprentices’ efforts and hard work – consider celebration events, including details in your organisation newsletters, and so on.
About the author:
Paul Estall is the Head of Programmes at Hawk Training and has worked in the further education sector for over 11 years, having supported hundreds of apprentices and employers to achieve success during this time. He has combined his experience of apprenticeships along with his passion for coaching and mentoring and devised one of Hawk Training's most popular short courses ‘Mentoring an Apprentice’ which allows line managers and others to better understand how coaching and mentoring principles can be applied in the workplace to support apprentices.