7 things you can do to get ready for your first, second or third apprentice

Now you’ve your new apprentice on board, here are 7 things to get the best out of your apprentice. 

1. Get your team on board

It’s important everyone understands the value of having apprentices.

Share the rationale behind hiring them and get everyone excited for what they can do for the organisation.

In particular, make sure line managers are fully behind their apprentice’s development (including the time they’ll need away from work). If you can, give apprentices mentors and buddies, too.

It’s great for the apprentice, but it’s more than that. It’s also an ideal opportunity to develop your existing team’s skills.

2. Tailor your inductions

Your apprentices need to know what’s expected of them as soon as they join. And that might mean they need a little more guidance than ordinary new starters. 

An induction that’s specific to the apprenticeship programme will help your apprentice hit the ground running. 

Explain things like how much time they’ll get for off-the-job learning and how you’ll support them to do well in their assessments, as well as who their line manager (and mentor) will be and where they can find extra support.

3. Set objectives

People tend to progress faster if there’s something to work towards.

Set your apprentice objectives that are both job-related and programme specific. Do this right at the start and have regular reviews.

But first, listen. You need to understand who your apprentice is, what they already know, and where they’re heading.  If you can, keep this process as collaborative as possible – encourage them to set their own goals.  

4. Commit to their development

Apprenticeships are first and foremost about learning. And the more your apprentice learns, the more you get out of it too.

Give your apprentice time to study, opportunity to practise new skills, and flexibility to fit their work around their training and assessments.

5. Build a close relationship with the training provider

You’re jointly responsible for supporting your apprentice to get the most out of their programme, so you’ll need to work together.

Schedule regular catchups to talk about your apprentice’s progress. If the course content’s missing something, raise it. If there’s a problem, acknowledge it – then work together to resolve it. The fastest way to success is with easy, open communication.

6. Put their wellbeing first

Apprentices are on a journey to self-improvement, and that’s not easy. They’re juggling work with study and assessments. Some may be returning to education for the first time in a long time, others may have just left school. Most of us have responsibilities beyond work and study, too – which can add extra pressure.

Make sure they know where to turn to for support. 

7. Shout about a job well done

An apprenticeship isn’t an easy feat. So, when they shine at a work task or get a good mark or reach a milestone in their programme, recognise it, and celebrate with them.

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