Written on: 20 July 2022
Written by: Frances Hardcastle
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Managing an apprentice effectively is key to helping them grow and develop into a permanent member of your team. From mentoring approaches to setting appropriate goals, this guide will help you navigate the apprenticeship journey and get the most from your apprentice as they learn and grow.
Every apprentice should have a workplace mentor to guide and support them through their apprenticeship. Typically a line manager, a workplace mentor is someone who can manage your apprentice, delegating tasks, sharing knowledge, and providing guidance on a daily basis.
Creating the opportunity to mentor an apprentice can be a fantastic way to help members of your team hone leadership skills and develop management experience as part of a professional development programme.
At Baltic Apprenticeships, our apprentices will also have the support of a personal coach. This is a member of our team who will support your apprentice throughout their programme, delivering training courses, monitoring progress, and providing personal one-to-one support.
Having an effective onboarding plan in place from day one can help your apprentice comfortably settle into their new job role.
From the beginning, make sure you are communicating effectively with your apprentice, helping them visualise where their contributions fit into your wider business goals and objectives.
To get started, we recommend office tours, a meet the team session, and an induction to other relevant departments of your organisation. A key thing to bear in mind is that for many apprentices, this could be their first experience of the workplace – so it’s important not to assume knowledge, and help them feel confident as they start their journey with you.
Implementing an effective onboarding plan can lead to higher employee retention, increased productivity, and better job satisfaction for your apprentice.
For first-time apprentice employers, one of the most common questions we receive is “what kinds of responsibilities can an apprentice take on?”
An apprenticeship programme is designed to teach someone to become fully competent in the knowledge, skills and behaviours required within their job role. With a little support and guidance, an apprentice can learn to take on any task you’d expect of any other employee within a similar role.
Initially, an apprentice can help with small tasks that often take up a lot of your more senior employee’s time, delivering an immediate productivity boost. As they move through their apprenticeship, don’t be afraid to trust your apprentice with more in depth projects as their confidence and expertise grows.
It’s important to set learners up for success by scheduling regular check-ins, providing the information and tools they need, and giving them ownership of the work they’re doing to allow them to flourish.
An apprentice holds the same employment rights as every other employee in your organisation, including holiday entitlement, sick leave, and benefits. You must provide your apprentice with a contact of employment, which outlines their rights and your responsibilities toward them.
Apprentices thrive with clearly defined expectations, goals and milestones.
Setting short and long-term objectives will give your apprentice something to work towards alongside their training schedule, helping them to put their skills into practice and make a difference in the team.
Objectives should be manageable, measurable, and relevant to both their job role and development goals. Short term objectives can relate to specific tasks, projects or skills, while longer term objectives could be more aligned to personal and professional development areas.
Throughout the apprenticeship, your learner will have a required number of off-the-job training hours. This is dedicated time during normal working hours that your apprentice is free to focus on their learning and development.
Off-The-Job apprenticeship training hours can include attending technical training courses, completing workplace projects for their portfolio, shadowing other members of the team, reading and research, independent learning, and taking part in relevant training set up by your organisation.
We encourage our employers to help their apprentices book out time to work on their apprenticeship programme each week to build a regular routine and ensure that learners can stay on track with their Off-The-Job training.
Setting up your apprentice for success is a team effort. You’ll work in partnership with your apprenticeship training provider to help your learner move smoothly between each milestone of their journey.
At Baltic, we have a whole team behind each of our employers, supporting you to balancing your business needs against the requirements of the apprenticeship standard. Our team of Coordinators, Account Managers, and Coaches are always on hand to help ensure your learner can maximise their experience on programme.
It is important to check in with your apprentice regularly, whether that’s through formal performance reviews or more relaxed catch ups and one-to-one meetings.
With a Baltic apprenticeship, you’ll also be invited to regular review sessions with your learner’s Coach. Approximately every 12 weeks, these review sessions present an opportunity to provide feedback on your apprentice’s strengths and development areas, as well as keep in touch with your learner’s training outcomes, portfolio projects and deadlines.
While it isn’t compulsory for managers to attend each review, joining the call can have a positive effect on your apprentice’s motivation, progress and development.
As an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure that your apprentice is safe and supported within their working environment, and take reasonable action to minimise risks to your employees.
If a safeguarding issue is identified, it should be acted upon without delay. At Baltic Apprenticeships, our safeguarding team are on hand to support our employers with any concerns.
Baltic apprentices also have access to a range of community and wellbeing resources, including Baltic Live events, free access to meditations and workouts via the Headspace app, and access to our Mindful Employer helpline.
As a manager, it can be helpful to familiarise yourself with support tools available to apprentices and ensure that your learner is able to access them as and when they may be needed.
The goal of an apprenticeship is to provide an individual with the training and experience they need to thrive within a specific job role. As a result of their training, many apprentices are taken on as full-time, permanent members of staff after completing their programme.
For many, a popular option is to continue your apprentice’s professional development through a higher level apprenticeship, such as a Level 4 counterpart to the Level 3 qualification. This will give your apprentice the opportunity to advance their skills and deepen their understanding, bringing further insights and expertise into your company.
However, if it is not possible for an apprentice to continue within your organisation after completing their training programme, it’s important to offer information and support where possible to help them transition into a new role.
Leveraging your professional network for opportunities, reviewing CVs and cover letters, and conducting practice interviews are all practical forms of support that your learner will appreciate as they plan their next step.
To hear from others who have successfully mentored apprentices, why not head over to our Case Studies for additional inspiration, advice, and guidance?