So you’ve taken a positive step by bringing a new apprentice
into your business or encouraging an existing employee to follow an
apprenticeship, but how do you support them through the learning process?
Whether you are employing an apprentice in accountancy, HR,
IT, business administration, personal training or any other sector, the more
support you offer, the more likely the apprenticeship will prove a success, both
for the apprentice and the employer.
Here are a few things you might like to consider.
Is your apprentice a new or existing employee?
If you’re supporting an existing employee who wants to
upskill and progress their career, one of the benefits is that they will
already be familiar with your business and the way it runs.
However, it’s important to give them additional support as
they follow the apprenticeship, as they are likely to be developing skills that
are new to them, taking on more responsibility and working in different areas
of the business from those they are familiar with. They might feel nervous
about putting themselves forward and about the specific challenges of the
apprenticeship, such as assessments and remote learning.
If your apprentice is new to your company, they may need
some time to settle in, get to know the other staff members and get used to the
working environment. You should also ensure that those employees responsible
for training the apprentice are aware of their role, and have the time,
knowledge and experience to help the apprentice on their journey.
What experience does your apprentice have?
Some apprentices come straight from school or college with
varying levels of existing qualifications and work experience. They may already
have experience of the workplace, for example from a Saturday job, or they may
be completely new to this kind of environment, which can mean a period of
adjustment as they learn what’s expected of them.
This can include such things as:
Other candidates may have already held down a job in a different
or related sector. This gives them the benefit of being familiar with the world
of work. However, if they are moving to a new sector – for example from a non-customer-facing
office role to working on the reception in a doctors’ surgery or gym – they
will require time and training to adjust to the change.
What are their ‘soft skills’?
Soft skills include interpersonal skills, communication,
problem solving, dependability and motivation (see our blog on: Personal Development Plans – the benefits for you and your organisation).
Each apprentice will arrive with
different levels of soft skills, but can learn how to develop these over time.
Another key issue is confidence. While one apprentice may be a
naturally confident person, another may need time to settle in and get to know
people. If an apprentice feels that they can ask for help and support as and
when they need it, they are more likely to grow in confidence.
Taking the time to get to know your apprentice will help you
understand their personality, which in turn will help you support them when it
comes to working out how they learn, communicate and handle criticism.
Apprenticeships – what to consider
An apprenticeship has a particular structure to it and it’s
important that you, as the employer, understand what this is and how it relates
to both your business and the individual apprentice you are taking on.
An apprentice should not be left to flounder, but will require
week-to-week management. This will include discussions around:
- Their role at the
company and how they are coping with the training
relationship with their colleagues and practicalities of the working
- What their agreed
targets are and whether they are meeting them
- Off the Job
learning (see our blog on: What is 20% Off-the-Job Learning Time?)
- When tutor visits
take place and what to expect
- What work needs
An apprenticeship should be tailored to the needs of the apprentice as well as the requirements of the employer. To ensure that the apprenticeship runs smoothly and benefits all parties involved, the apprentice should be supported from start to finish with regular feedback and recommendations.