Supporting your apprentice
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As well as providing ‘on-the-job’ training for your apprentice, you are encouraged to provide additional support to ensure your apprentice’s success.
Types of support can include:
- a comprehensive induction
- mentoring or regular one-to-one guidance
- social enrichment and networking opportunities
- performance reviews
- mental health and wellbeing support
Guidance on how you can support your apprentice is provided below. You can download the apprentice support guide, designed by the Learning and Work Institute on behalf of the Department for Education. You can also watch our webinar on onboarding and induction.
Most employers will offer an induction programme for new employees but as career starters or career changers, apprentices may need additional support to understand their role and responsibilities.
An induction could include:
- one-to-one meetings for the apprentice to meet or shadow key members of the team so that they understand how their role fits with the wider organisation
- information on what is expected of them, for example, dress code, time management and general work behaviours
- details of how the apprentice’s work fits with the wider team and where they can go to for support
- a clear outline of their job role and objectives to help the apprentice understand what is expected of them
- an introduction to company policies rather than asking the apprentice to read them
- regular one-to-one meetings with the apprentice’s line manager
- a welcome handbook which provides a useful glossary of key business terms, organisational charts and key tasks for them to complete in the first weeks
- an introduction to their workplace mentor and/or ‘buddy’
Assigning a workplace mentor/coach is a powerful tool which can ensure your apprentice settles into their role quickly and thrives in the workplace.
A mentor/coach is separate to a line manager and is someone who provides a support system for the apprentice. They can help your apprentice resolve issues quickly when they don’t feel comfortable talking to their line manager. You can watch our webinar to learn more about mentoring and support.
A workplace mentor may:
- share their knowledge and experiences
- provide advice, guidance and feedback
- act as a sounding board for ideas and action plans
- offer encouragement and support
- celebrate the apprentice’s success
- identify development opportunities
- build an apprentice’s confidence, independence, and self-belief
- set goals
- support personal development and wellbeing
"The mentoring I received was without a doubt one of the most valuable contributors in building the confidence I have now and developing me into the person I am today.” - Emma Beauchamp, Former Mentee/Apprentice, Gestamp
Apprentices may feel isolated when they first join your business. Many employers find that social enrichment or networking opportunities help their apprentice to settle in and ensure they enjoy their apprenticeship experience.
You may want to consider:
- arranging for your apprentice to meet current or previous apprentices in your business (where possible)
- organising networking opportunities with wider colleagues and relevant industry or professional bodies to support with the apprentice’s development
- organising regular team or company-wide social activities
- becoming part of the Apprentice Ambassador Network
- joining the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network
- promoting the Disabled Apprentice Network
Regular performance reviews are a great way to improve communication with your apprentice and contributes to their personal development.
Managing the apprentice's management will help your apprentice identify:
- what your business is trying to achieve and their role in achieving those goals
- what skills and knowledge they need for the role
- areas they need to develop
- how well they are doing
- if there are any performance problems and how to address them
There are typically 3 elements to a performance review:
- one-to-one regular informal meetings where line managers discuss current work and development
- formal interim reviews where the line manager discusses the apprentice's progress against their objectives
- an annual appraisal review where their work is discussed and formally recorded
If you identify that your apprentice is under-performing, you can find support on the Acas website.
If your apprentice is struggling with mental health, such as anxiety, depression or low mood, they can access the Work Mental Health Support Service for Apprentices.
The service is free, and funded by the Department for Work and Pensions.
The service provides apprentices with access to mental health experts who provide:
- emotional wellbeing support and advice
- advice on simple workplace adjustments
- successful coping strategies
- a step-by-step support plan
Your apprentice may need further support if they're a care leaver. You can find resources to support care leavers into apprenticeships.
They can also receive a one-off £1000 bursary payment from the training provider.
It’s important to celebrate your apprentice’s achievements and successes in order to make them feel valued.
- champion the apprentice internally
- celebrate achievement of certain milestones
- hold a graduation ceremony
- nominate your apprentice for the National Apprenticeship Awards
As an employer, you can also be celebrated. See who were the Apprenticeships Top 100 employers in 2022. You can also enter your company for the award.