Agree the basics
Be clear of your expectations, ensure there are set standards that you expect from them and they understand these fully.
Ensure your apprentice is given a mentor
Apprentices can offer great benefits to an organisation, but they need an environment where they can flourish. A big part of this is having a mentor who is prepared to provide the necessary guidance and support and who is prepared to be patient. Often this is the young person's first time in a 'real work environment', and having a mentor will assist in the transition from school to work.
No-one is better placed to understand the needs of a new apprentice and offer support and advice than former apprentices themselves. Being mentored by someone who has done it themselves helps new recruits to see what they can aspire to.
Set targets and challenge them
You've agreed the basics, ensure you now set clear SMART targets, monitor and support them in the initial periods very closely. For some apprentices, this placement may well be their first job and it's important to schedule in regular meetings to feed back on their performance and set objectives. Apprentices need to know what they're doing well and where they need to improve in order to maximise their potential.
Support their training and get involved
It's no good taking on an apprentice as a quick fix. Apprentices can add real value and can become the managers of the future, but they need a structured progression pathway which offers the opportunity for them to grow with the organisation and learn the ropes. Work closely with their Training Provider.
Nurture their enthusiasm
Young people's enthusiasm should not be misjudged as "running before they can walk". Nurture this enthusiasm rather than close down or ignore, don't stifle your talent.
Apprentices can be very loyal and valuable employees, especially if they feel they are being invested in. Incentives, perks and benefits can be used as a motivational tool when apprentices reach certain milestones, whether hitting targets and achieving objectives or successfully completing their programme.
Look at the facts
80% of apprentice employers agree that their apprentices make their workplace more productive, and 88% believe apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce.
More information can be found at www.apprenticeships.gov.uk
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