In the year 2015/16, the Government recorded 131,000 apprenticeship starts in England for Health, Public Services and Care. This number has risen steadily every year from 2009/2010, when there were 44,000 apprenticeship starts.
Apprentices can provide a wealth of benefits to your business including enhanced productivity, a boost in team morale, and filling skill gaps in your workforce. Making sure they get the right amount of care, training and attention from all parties including their colleagues, the business itself, their training provider and assessor is paramount.
So, how can you ensure your apprentice settles in quickly, learns the ropes fast and develops within your organisation? Read on…
- Provide a thorough induction process
You should have an induction process which shows, at least, what the first week has in store for your apprentice. The induction schedule should include what training they’ll attend, the people they’ll spend time with, and how the rest of their time will be structured. It can help to timetable this out with your team and agree upon suitable times for activities to take place.
- Give them an overview of their role
Help the apprentice understand what duties they’ll be responsible for and who they’ll be reporting to as their line manager, especially if they need to report any problems they’re having. It can be helpful to give them an overview of where their role sits within the wider context of the business, too.
- Run through practical advice
On their first day, give the apprentice a tour of the workplace so they know from a practical perspective where everything’s located. They should also be given guidance in terms of when to take breaks, working time and dress code – plus any other necessary information they should be aware of such as your fire evacuation procedure.
- Beware that extra support may be needed
Your apprentice may be a recent school leaver with hardly any work experience, or they may have a specific learning disability. This should be considered as part of their training and extra support given accordingly – it could mean that one on one coaching is needed or that learning styles/materials are adapted to suit your apprentice’s needs.
- Match your apprentice with a buddy
Finding a colleague who can be your apprentice’s designated ‘buddy’ can work wonders for their integration into the team. The role of the buddy will be to provide help for any issues which may arise during the course of the apprentice’s day, as well as helping them feel less isolated as a new member of the team.
Many new apprentices will be school leavers and, therefore, relatively new to the workplace environment. The things your other staff members already know about how to behave and following the workplace rules will be unfamiliar territory for them. Therefore, good management and support of your apprentice is the key to helping them settle into the role and progress well.
You should capitalise on the fact that your apprentice has chosen this role for themselves and is committed to learning how to progress in the sector. With the right structure and supervision, they can become a real asset to the company and a very employable and well-rounded working professional.