Gary Cattermole offers his advice on how to get your apprentices inspired.
It’s a big leap from the world of school or unemployment to the 9-5 in the workplace. So here are some tips on how to get your apprentices engaged from the very start.
- Give a warm welcome: Everyone has first day nerves, and for a school leaver or someone who has been unemployed, this can be amplified as it is a real leap into the unknown. Make sure you and your team create a welcoming environment for your apprentice to feel a part of as soon as possible.
- Set-up a buddying scheme: School leavers work well with ‘work place friends/mentors.’ Many schools have already adopted similar schemes so they are very familiar with the concept. It also gives them a great chance to gain advice, meet new people and bring a fresh perspective to any issues encountered in the workplace.
- Set clear objectives: Be clear on your expectations. You may know what you expect from your apprentice, but unless it’s made clear, it is very unlikely they will guess what is expected of them.
- Give effective supervision: Some apprentices may find it hard to ask for help, so make sure you’re approachable and have the time to guide them appropriately.
- Track progress: Monitor their skills, knowledge and ambition from the beginning of the apprenticeship through to completion. Track any correlations and offer further advice or training where necessary.
- Be an effective communicator: Have an open ear and be a good communicator. Take the time to not only talk with your apprentices but be a good listener too!
- Open up opportunity: An apprenticeship should give a person a range of skills and insight into not just their own job and department, but also an understanding of the entire business. Link up with other departments to give your apprentice a fuller understanding of your business, it will really help them understand the processes and will help them develop fresh ideas.
- Practice what you preach: Set a good example, and don’t tell your apprentice to do something that you don’t do yourself!
- Developing your apprentice: An apprentice isn’t just for the apprenticeship. At the end of the programme you and your apprentice should have a good understanding of where their skills lie and where they want to develop their career. Offer them opportunity within your organisation. Research has often shown that apprentices remain one of the most loyal members of your workforce.
- Learn from the experience: Once you’ve been through the apprenticeship programme, think about what you’ve learnt from the experience and refine your apprenticeships to offer an even better opportunity for your new recruits.
About the author
Gary Cattermole is a director at The Survey Initiative.