We’re nearing the end of National Apprenticeship week and there is only 1 more installment remaining from our Top 5 Strategies for Apprenticeship Success series. This post is dedicated to effective support strategies for apprentices, which is something that as a training provider we excel at; as such we believe we are more than qualified to discuss.
From the very start of the apprenticeship programme it is essential that the business makes the apprentice feel welcome, and like an integral part of the team. Apprentices should be issued with the same uniforms and name badges as other members of staff, and have their profiles displayed on the same notice boards. All too often, businesses employing apprentices overlook these subtleties and the apprentice starts to feel like an outsider from the off – a bit of a spare part!
Mentoring schemes are especially effective at helping apprentices to feel valued and welcome. A workplace mentor can provide support, guidance and advice as it is required, and often in a more informal tone than a line manager or workplace supervisor. This is a great way to help apprentice settle in and build confidence.
From the start of their employment, apprentices should have a clearly defined role that extends beyond simply cleaning – if the apprentice feels that they are essentially a member of the housekeeping team, or that their duties are literally just being made up along the way, they will inevitably feel undervalued. In these circumstances, there is an increased risk that they will disengage with the apprenticeship programme and seek pastures new.
Giving an apprentice full or partial responsibility over an area of the business, no matter how small this may seem, can really help the apprentice to focus on their role and its associated duties. This responsibility will make them feel valued, important and above all, that they are trusted. Increased focus, productivity and job satisfaction are just some of the benefits of this trust.
Apprenticeships may not be academic programmes but there is still plenty of written and practical coursework to be completed along the way. Employers that take an active interest in this work, and who offer apprentices time and support during the core working day are much more likely to develop strong working relationships with their apprentices, and reap higher levels of productivity, loyalty and workplace performance.
For more information about apprenticeship programmes and support strategies, contact our apprenticeship team today on 01772 641 091.