All apprenticeship programmes require a workplace mentor to guide and support learners throughout their training programme. A good mentor is patient, considerate and genuinely invested in their apprentice’s progression.
In this blog, we’ll look at some small steps you can take to ensure you can become the best possible mentor for your new apprentice.
STEP 1: SHOW YOUR APPRENTICE AROUND
When a new apprentice starts, you should ensure that they feel welcomed and included by showing them round the office, introducing them to the rest of the team as you go. If possible, allow them to spend time shadowing other areas of the business so they can get an idea of the overall structure.
STEP 2: SHOW THEM HOW THINGS ARE DONE
The main function of a mentor is to build up an apprentice’s confidence, allowing them to become self-assured in their role. Therefore, you should provide a positive example and allow them to pick up as much as they can from you. Ideally, your apprentice should be working in a similar role to their mentor, meaning they can job shadow you and learn from your industry expertise. Always encourage questions, and wherever possible, let them learn by doing.
STEP 3: PROVIDE RESOURCES ON POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Just like any other member of staff, you will have expectations for how your apprentice should behave in the workplace. Many apprentices will not have had a job before, so a good mentor will help them get up to speed with office etiquette. Make them aware of any company policies and procedures, and set clear guidelines of expected conduct and timekeeping.
STEP 4: HELP YOUR APPRENTICE BUILD NETWORKS
Forming friendships with colleagues is an important part of settling in to a new workplace. There may be an age gap between your apprentice and their co-workers, so it is a good idea for you to encourage them to socialise with the rest of the team. You will find that apprentices can bring fresh ideas to the table, so this is beneficial not only for the new hire but for your existing staff as well.
STEP 5: ASSIST WITH ONGOING ON-THE-JOB TRAINING AND SUPPORT
Along with the training provided, another form of teaching will come from an apprentice’s mentor. You should take the time to provide comprehensive training on all of the duties that the apprentice will be responsible for. You can start them off on smaller tasks, and then support them in taking on higher level projects as their confidence grows. Asking them to keep a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) log will allow you both to keep track of their progress.
STEP 6: COMMUNIATE FEEDBACK ON YOUR APPRENTICE’S WORK AND PROGRESS
Ongoing evaluation is an excellent way for your apprentice to measure their own development. Remember to be fair when giving feedback; try not to focus too much on the negative aspects. Instead, you should provide constructive criticism with areas for improvement, as well as offering praise and credit where it is due.
STEP 7: PROVIDE FEEDBACK
During review calls, we clarify that learners are getting on well in all aspects of their role. This includes timekeeping, attitude and progress. If there are any areas of concern, you can mention this to your apprentice’s assessor, as this can help them in supporting both you and the learner.