Top 10 Tips for Apprentice Employers
Being an apprentice employer can be just as daunting as being a new apprentice. Our top 10 tips for new apprentice employers below will help you to make the process of employing an apprentice as easy and enjoyable for both you and the apprentice as possible.
Encourage your apprentice when they are doing well, this will give them the confidence to continue working well and develop. Trust them with the responsibility of a small project, the apprentice will appreciate the opportunity and may come up with new ways of approaching problems.
2. Company Ethos
Different companies have different standards for the way they expect their staff to conduct themselves and the language and behaviour they tolerate.
Use your apprentice’s introduction to re-establish your company standards and make sure you and your team are aware that for many apprentices this may be their first ever job and may not have the experience or maturity to understand some of the office jokes and banter.
3. Take an Interest
Talk to your apprentice about their aspirations for the future. Is there anything you can do as their employer to help them achieve this? Is it possible for you to offer them additional training specialist in your industry or can you offer the apprentice the next level of apprenticeship when they finish their current one?
Investing in your apprentice will make them feel like a valued member of staff and will mean that they will become more loyal and committed to your company as well as the company benefitting from the apprentice’s new and improved skills.
Give your apprentice an induction when they first start with you. This will give you the opportunity to make your apprentice aware of company policies, procedures and what is expected of them whilst at work.
Get the whole team to create a friendly atmosphere for your apprentice and, as part of the induction, introduce the apprentice to their new colleagues. This will give the apprentice a feel for the company and feel more welcomed into their new team.
5. Assign a Mentor
Ask a reliable and trusted member of staff to be your apprentice’s mentor. They will act as extra support to the apprentice in addition to the apprentice’s supervisor. Having a mentor may give the apprentice the opportunity to ask questions or voice concerns that they may not be confident enough to discuss with their supervisor.
The mentor could be involved with the apprentice’s induction and can check in with the apprentice regularly. If you have had an apprentice previously that is now a permanent member of staff this would be an ideal role for them as they have direct experience of what the new apprentice is dealing with. However, you will need to ensure that the apprentice and their mentor are both aware that the mentor is not a replacement for the supervisor and that responsibility for the apprentice still lies with the supervisor.
6. Learn From Them
apprentices may have skills that your existing workforce don’t such as knowledge of recent technological advancements or how to use social media. As an employer don’t be afraid to take full advantage of their knowledge as not only will this help your business but will make the apprentice feel like a valued member of the team too.
Apprentices bring new energy, ideas and enthusiasm to the workplace, which has a knock-on effect on other employees, increasing productivity across the business.
Feedback is important in any role but especially with an apprentice who is likely new, not only to working life but also to the role. Remember; feedback works both ways. Make sure that you listen to what the apprentice has to say.
When giving feedback to the apprentice, guide and encourage them. When they have done good work make sure this is acknowledged with praise and where improvement is needed help the apprentice to understand what they need to do to develop and encourage them to do so.
It is important to have good communication with your apprentice to ensure they know how they are progressing and that they are completing their work as expected along with making sure that the company are also benefitting from the work of the apprentice. A good way of doing this is with regular reviews.
As part of the apprenticeship programme, the apprentice will be assigned an assessor who will guide them through their apprenticeship as well as supporting their employer with any questions. The Assessor will complete a review with the apprentice and their supervisor every 8 weeks, this will allow the apprentice and employer to see how the apprentice is progressing with their qualification and to discuss ways in which the apprentice and employer can help each other further.
Remember, we were all new to the world of work once. Empathise with your apprentice, they may feel daunted at the prospect of starting a new job, in a new environment with a lot of new people, especially if they have just left school.
By following these top ten tips you can ensure you support your apprentice in their transition into work. Also, don’t forget, if you have any concerns about your apprentice you can speak to their Assessor for information, advice and guidance.
Don’t let your experience of other young adults, or what you see in the media influence the way you treat your apprentice. It may be that this is the first time your apprentice has entered the workplace and they may not understand what is expected of them initially. Help them to understand your expectations and make the transition from the school/college way of life to a working one.
Try to avoid referring to your apprentice as ‘kid’ or ‘youngster’.Your apprentice is a member of staff, the same as anyone else, try to treat them as equally as possible but bear in mind that they are still developing and adjusting to a new way of life.