12 ways to support your employee during an apprenticeship
Posted on 18th November 2016 at 12:33
Whether you have hundreds of apprentices or are considering taking your first one, there are a number of ways you can make sure your apprentice is engaged, motivated and getting the most from their training programme.
1. Tell it as it is
When you’re recruiting for an apprentice, or an existing member of staff is joining a programme, make sure they are aware of all the elements involved - the on and off the job training, Maths and English training and the exams that will be involved. It’s important your employee (and you) know what to expect and the time commitment that it’s excepted before they start. Don’t forget that there will be self-study involved outside of the formal training – typically 1.5 – 3 hours per week. Your training provider will help you to communicate all of these things during your recruitment process.
2. Workplace mentors
Linking the apprentice with a workplace mentor will keep them motivated and engaged, and show them that you value their learning programme. A mentor can be a manager, supervisor, or an apprentice who has already completed the programme. To help keep them on track a mentor can spend an hour a week with the learner to discuss their units and progress and offer coaching and support.
3. Engage with the programme
Learners achieve faster when there is active involvement from their manager in their programme. This could mean discussing their progress with the employee and their assessor, providing constructive feedback, or providing a witness testimony that describes the skills your staff member has learnt and demonstrated. Being engaged early also means that you can provide feedback to your assessor and you can help shape the programme to the needs of your business.
4. Show your employee that you value their programme
We understand that priorities change and our assessors will always adapt as much as possible to suit your business needs. But wherever possible try to keep to any agreed meetings, appointments and commitments. By allowing your staff member time for training, it shows that you value their training programme.
5. Make the apprenticeship part of your appraisal process
Discuss their apprenticeship at company progress reviews and appraisals. Feedback from your assessor can be used to inform the strengths and development needs you discuss. And likewise, the findings from your progress reviews can identify new training needs that you’d like your assessor to cover.
6. Keep up momentum
We all take a little while to adjust to a new job and working environment. We find that drop outs often peak 2 to 3 months into the programme. This is the perfect time to engage with your employee to check they are happy and what additional support they might need. You might also organise a mentor or buddy meeting at this point.
7. Peer support is invaluable
As well as a buddy system, you could consider creating formal or informal get togethers for apprentices across your business to boost their engagement and motivation. This allows them to share experiences, learn from one another, and ensures they feel that they are part of something bigger. Peer support can include anything from a coffee morning to an online discussion forum or Whatsapp group.
8. Keep in touch
Your assessor and training provider are always on hand to answer any questions, or to address any problems or concerns. They want the programme to work for you and for your employees. Get in touch if you have any questions or want to provide feedback.
9. Challenging goals and work
By committing to the programme your staff member has shown that they are eager to learn and develop. Don’t be afraid to set challenging goals or add new responsibilities to their role as they progress through the programme. Meetings with your employee and their assessor can help you identify when they are ready for the next step.
10. A little bit of praise goes a long way
There is nothing like praise to develop and motivate! Ensure you are using praise during meetings with your staff, or giving a simple thank you for a job well done. Your assessor will also make sure they praise apprentices for their progress, learning and hard work
11. Difficult times
We understand that challenging times or personal circumstances sometimes make learning impossible. In these circumstances speak to your assessor about how they can support your employee, or the possibility of having a break from the programme for a period. We can also refer your employee to specialist support agencies if it’s needed.
12. Celebrate Success
Use different ways to celebrate the successes of your apprentice. This could be a celebration event, putting their certificates on display or creating a learner success story to put in your company newsletter or in the staff room.
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