Investors in People recently partnered with the Association of Apprentices in our mission to help hundreds of employers and training providers with their apprenticeship offers, prioritising apprentices’ needs from work skills to wellbeing and providing advice, news, and the opportunity to connect amongst peers.

In the build-up to our event ‘How do we give every apprentice the best chance of success?’, we spoke to Skills Development Co-Ordinator Hannah Payne and Apprentice Developer Christa Bridges about what they think a successful apprenticeship looks like.

We cover topics like business case, wellbeing, objective setting and management. Give the article a read and you can watch the event if you scroll to the bottom of the article.

Hannah Payne – Skills Development Co-Ordinator at WorldSkills UK

What is a successful/meaningful business case?

A successful business case provides the decision-makers with all the critical information they need to select the most appropriate action for their organisation, ensuring the required investment is justified and contributes to its performance and strategic direction. 

A meaningful business case will include an executive summary of the proposal and the recommendation, what the business need is, the possible options to address the business need, including key objectives, benefits, risks and financial investment required and finally, the recommendation of the business case the owner has suggested to take forward.

What does a successful induction look like?

A successful induction provides the employee with the necessary information, tools, and resources to comfortably start their role in their new organisation and understand what they need to do to meet their objectives and successfully contribute to their organisation’s goals.

It is imperative to provide a new starter with organisation policies and procedures, an introduction into the organisation’s missions, goals and values, a tour of the workplace, whether that is in the physical environment or online, introductions to their colleagues, including meetings with a relevant co-worker which may impact their role and an idea of what their next few days/weeks will look like to settle them in and welcome them into their employment. 

What does successful recruitment look like?

Successful recruitment is finding an individual who meets the desired outcomes, experience and skillset to carry out a particular role while also ensuring they fit into the culture and spirit of the organisation. 

This isn’t just a short term process; it is also long term because they need to continue contributing to the organisation throughout their employment and have made a positive impact on the company. 

However, to select an individual, the organisation must be committed to carrying out a fair and consistent recruitment process to select the most appropriate and deserving individual for the job.

What does a successful employer apprentice partnership look like?

A successful employer apprentice partnership is having a positive two-way relationship between the apprentice and the employer; this will include supporting each other, trusting each other, respecting each other, having open and transparent communication, both committing to the success of the organisation as well as the success of the apprentice’s development, providing opportunities to the apprentice as well as the apprentice utilising the opportunities that the employer offers.

It is essential to have a positive and open relationship as this fundamentally builds the trust of the partnership, which unifies the two parties to achieve common goals.

What does successful wellbeing look like?

Successful wellbeing to me is having an overall positive, happy and healthy lifestyle. This could mean something entirely different for each person. Still, it’s trying to live my life with happiness and fulfilment and retain a strong and healthy mental and physical state even when I face challenges and obstacles. 

Sometimes it’s a lot easier said than done. Still, people need to understand that a healthy work/life balance and well-being are among the most important things in life as it is fundamental to an individual’s overall health.

Christa Bridges – Apprentice Application Developer at PebblePad & West Midlands Young Apprentice Ambassador

These are my thoughts based on the experiences I’ve had in my apprenticeship over the last year and four months and independent learning outside of the apprenticeship.

What does a successful assessment look like?

Making learners feel prepared for their assessments by ensuring that they know what’s expected of them and what will be covered, ideally with plenty of time to prepare/work on the assessment. 

Employers should also keep in touch with their learners and let them know how to contact them if any concerns or help are needed. It’s also vital to ensure they feel cared for and valued and receive support to ease the stress that assessments can bring. 

What does successful apprentice management look like?

Feeling comfortable and supported, as well as believed in by your manager, is key to feeling happy and psychologically safe at work, helping to produce better results by raising issues that can then be solved (as opposed to building up and causing more stress), admitting mistakes being which leads to innovation. 

In regards to making mistakes, successful management (and teamwork) focuses on the error itself instead of who made it, going in with the attitude “there’s a problem, let’s fix it” because focusing on the problem helps you move forward. 

Successful management also looks like collaboration because you can work with those you’re managing to reach their potential and ensure they’re not getting overworked or stressed. 

Having trust in those you’re managing is also a big thing in successful management. It helps people have confidence in what they’re doing and take ownership, helping motivation and happiness at work instead of being micromanaged.

What does successful apprentice learning look like? 

Successful learning programmes are tailored to the learner, so they can learn in the way that best suits them, making them happier, while having a feedback loop, so the learner understands where they need to be heading next! 

Successful learning also celebrates mistakes as opposed to condemning them. You learn just as much, if not more, from the stumbles as the successes.

What does successful objective setting look like?

You are setting objectives that aren’t too easy or what you would be doing anyway. As otherwise, you’d never stumble, and in turn, not learn as much. Objectives shouldn’t be too challenging, as failing by a mile can feel highly demotivating and cause stress. 

It’s a difficult balance to hit but rewarding when it is. With successful objective setting, it’s also crucial that you have the time to work on them. I’ve set objectives before but not had time to progress on them, and then felt disappointed and defeated when I found that I was not where I wanted or needed to be. 

Collaboration with objectives can also be part of a successful objective setting, so there is someone else to learn from and accountability, and even generate opportunities. 

For instance, I set objectives with my manager around learning automated testing. I’ve gone from learning from someone else’s support via resources and practising tests to writing documentation and running workshops for other people.

Discover how you can provide the best experience for apprentices

We sat down with Emily Austin, Director at the Association of Apprentices and Investors in People CEO Paul Devoy, to deep dive into what employers can and should be doing to make every apprentice’s journey the best it can be.

We explore the problem apprentices are currently facing, what the cost of doing nothing will be and our top tips and advice for you to take back to your organisation.

Help your apprentices achieve success with the ‘We invest in apprentices’ accreditation

We’ve worked with the Department of Education, apprentices employers big and small, and with apprentices and their families, training providers and policymakers to create our apprentice assessment framework.

We invest in apprentices will help you do that by identifying your strengths and areas for improvement. We will evaluate your apprenticeships approach and help you attract the best talent and get the most out of them.

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