I have employed an apprentice – what happens next

Table of Contents

Introduction

This guidance document has been produced in order to assist managers understand what is expected of them once they have recruited a Modern Apprentice and also to highlight good practice, which we would encourage is adopted to ensure that you get the most from your Modern Apprentice. It should be read before the Modern Apprentice is in their post.

For many young people, this will be their first experience in the workplace. They are undertaking a large transition within their life from education to the world of work. A training provider who specialises in offering Modern Apprentices has undertaken some research with their apprentices, and as a result has pulled together a list of differences between education and the workplace which apprentices often encounter in transition. They are as follows:

  • A longer working day.
  • The expected format of office communications such as email.
  • Understanding appropriate business dress, attitudes and behaviours.
  • Not knowing who to ask when they have a problem or not feeling comfortable asking.
  • Not knowing what they do when they finish their task.
  • Lack of confidence in the workplace.
  • Not knowing health and safety welfare in the workplace.

Six key steps have been identified which managers should do in order to support the young person undertake their transition from education to the world of work:

  1. Provide a good induction
  2. Manage colleague’s expectations
  3. Make sure the new start is comfortable with the basics of the job
  4. Establish and communicate objectives
  5. Build a trusting relationship.

This will allow them to develop in confidence, build the skills and experience they require for the workplace and to ensure they are equipped to undertake their role. These steps should also assist Modern Apprentices to overcome the difficulties highlighted above. These key steps have been used to develop this guidance document, which also ensures that the above issues are addressed.

Induction

All new employees should receive an induction.

Inductions are in place to ensure that the new employee has the necessary knowledge and information to allow them to undertake their role. The first few weeks of any job can often be stressful for new employees. They are being introduced to a number of different people, trying to remember names and where things are, as well as familiarising themselves with their new role and the tasks they are required to undertake. In addition, for many Modern Apprentices it is their first experience within the working environment, and alongside exposure to all of the tasks mentioned above, they are also learning what it means to be part of the working environment.

From research we know that the first few weeks of work are particularly important for young people. Young people can get fed up easily, often struggle to see the bigger picture and due to lack of confidence and the unknown can give up easily.

What should the induction involve?

According to ACAS a good induction for a young person should aim to cover the following points:

  • Help the young person settle into the business and make them feel comfortable in their new surroundings.
  • Provide a good introduction to their role and how it fits within their team and the organisation as a whole.
  • Provide practical guidance in areas such as working time, breaks, pay and tax, working conditions, dress codes, and health and safety in the workplace (remembering that those new to the world of work might need more explanation on these issues than those with more experience).
  • Help the young worker understand their duties and their manager’s expectations around performance, including probation and processes for feedback and appraisal.
  • Clearly explain the lines of authority in the organisation, including an introduction to the roles of the supervisors and managers.
  • Provide reassurance about where they can go for help if difficulties arise.
  • Give the young person opportunities to get to know colleagues and to integrate effectively into the wider workplace culture.
  • Provide plenty of opportunities for the young person to ask questions.

What are the benefits of an induction?

By covering these issues, an induction provides an employer with the opportunity to:

  • Get to know the young person and understand their previous experience.
  • Identify strengths and areas for development.
  • Enquire about the young person’s goals.
  • Identify any concerns they might have and take steps to provide the right information and reassurance.
  • Make sure that the young person gets off to the best possible start.

The council induction for new employees has been designed to ensure that all new employees are effectively integrated into the council, and that a consistent approach is taken to achieve this. It is essential that time is taken to go through this induction with a young person. In addition to the standard induction a specific induction module for apprentices has been created and it is expected that all apprentices will complete it. You can find it on LEON.

Training

What involvement do I need to have in the training?

Training will be dependent on the qualification selected. From conversations with the training provider when agreeing the qualification, you should be aware of what is required from you as an employer. The training company, at a minimum, will require the following details from the Modern Apprentice:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • National Insurance Number
  • Home Address
  • Work Address
  • Start Date
  • End Date

You should liaise with the Training Provider once you know the start date of the Modern Apprentice to ensure the training provider is aware of this. It is important in case the training provider is busy, as it may take them a few weeks to make contact with the employee.

Every training provider will have a different process as to how long the apprentice should be in post before they get their training induction. Make sure you have made it clear to them how long the contract of the apprentice is for as this could have an impact on when they undertake the induction.

What skills do you have within your team that would be useful to the Modern Apprentice?

As well as the formal training plan which is created by the training provider, it is important to think about the additional training that you are able to offer the Modern Apprentice. It is key that Modern Apprentices get as much as possible out of the experience, and we invest in the Modern Apprentice to provide them with the best opportunity for them to gain further employment with the council. Although this can be done through One to One meetings, it might be worth considering developing a development plan to ensure learning is structured.

Why should I think about additional training?

One of the benefits of employing a Modern Apprentice as part of your workforce planning, is to allow the knowledge and skills which are held within your team to be passed down. This means that that when employees retire or leave the organisation, you are able to retain some of that knowledge and skills, preventing future skills gaps. This can all be done through work based learning and the development of a development plan will ensure that this occurs in a structured way.

eLearning

It is important that you encourage the Modern Apprentice to make use of the extensive eLearning resources that we have available through LEON. As a line manager you should show the Modern Apprentice how to access LEON and encourage them, when they have a bit of downtime to make use of the resources to provide them with a wider learning experience. Dependent on their role, you make ask them to complete specific courses which will help them undertake their role.

Mentoring

Why is a mentor so important?

As part of their induction, all new employees should be allocated a mentor, however this is particularly important when a Modern Apprentice is your new employee. As mentioned above, a Modern Apprenticeship is often their first experience of life in the workplace and it is essential that they have someone that they can talk to and learn from. It is important to remember that they might not be aware of office etiquette, traditions or the behaviours that it is appropriate to demonstrate within the office. If the Modern Apprenticeship is in a non-office based location it is even more essential that they have someone to learn from, given the additional risks that can arise if procedures and policies are not followed properly. For apprentices who are based at home, providing a mentor ensures that they do not become isolated and have a point of contact who they can go to when they need support. Without this, they may be afraid or reluctant to ask for help and as you are not in the office supporting them, this could go unnoticed. It also provides them with another route of contact to address any issues or questions they may have, and gives them someone who they can learn from. Dedicated mentoring will also allow your Modern Apprentice to settle into the workplace far quicker, which will in turn increase efficiency within your team.

What will the mentor gain?

As well as bringing benefits to the Modern Apprentice, by allocating a mentor from within your team, you are giving the mentor a great chance to enhance their skill set, and get hands-on experience of supervising others. This would be a great opportunity for those who are looking to progress into management roles to gather some experience, which would look great on future job applications.

How do I identify and guide mentors?

When identifying potential mentors for young people, it’s important to:

  • Encourage mentoring as an opportunity for those with an enthusiasm and commitment to developing others.
  • Look for a colleague who could benefit from the experience in terms of their own personal development.
  • Consider matching a young person with a mentor from outside their department to provide the distance and objectivity that can help build the trust that is essential to the mentoring relationship.
  • Finally, take time to find the right mentor for a particular individual. Rapport and confidence are vital to any successful mentoring relationship.

Training for mentors

An eLearning course has been developed to support mentors of modern apprentices and is available on LEON. We would encourage all mentors of apprentices to undertake this training prior to taking on the role.

Manage Expectations

Managing Colleague’s Expectations

Before the Modern Apprenticeship takes up a post, it is important to manage the expectations of the rest of the team. The Modern Apprentice joining the team will create a new dynamic within the team, given the inexperience of the employee. The guidance and support of colleagues will form a large part of the Modern Apprentices development. It is important that you advise that the Modern Apprentice will be starting and remind other members of the team that they will be inexperienced and may ask for help. It is also important that you advise team members of the role in which the Modern Apprentice will play. Other organisations have highlighted that they most effective way of managing expectations within their teams, is to simply ask colleagues to reflect on the fact that everyone including themselves had to start somewhere with their career and at some point, would have benefited from supportive, more experienced colleagues.

Establishing and Communicating Objectives

Young people are used to being praised across a number of aspects of their lives, and in the first few weeks when they are new to the workplace and learning a number of different skills, it is important that managers set and communicate objectives to the Modern Apprentice. This will allow them to understand the organisation’s and their line manager’s expectations, and support them in making connections between their everyday tasks and responsibilities and those in the wider team. Clear objectives will also help an inexperienced young person to see what they need to deliver and see why they are required to deliver it, in relation to the wider work of the team, service or even the council.

Providing Support

One to One’s

As mentioned above, young people are often unable to deal with issues in the way that more experienced employees do. They may sometimes fail to see the bigger picture, as their line manager it is important to ensure they feel supported and know they can raise any issues that they come across. Regular one to one’s will provide a time and means for a young person to raise any issues or questions that they have about the workplace. Managers have a responsibility to try and highlight the bigger picture to young employees if they are struggling to recognise it. Regular one to one’s support the long term development of young people, assist with their integration into the team and provide an opportunity for the manager to hear and assist with any personal issues the young person maybe facing. This can prevent problems occurring in the future. Regular contact with the manager will also build a good working relationship between the line manager and modern apprentice.

For all employees, feedback is crucial to personal and professional development, however for a young person in the early stages of their careers, receiving regular feedback from their line manager is essential to their development and long term success. As mentioned above, young people are very much used to praise therefore feedback is very welcomed from them to act as a reassurance that they are doing things correctly. This will help build confidence and allow the manager to provide constructive feedback, to help them prevent developing bad habits and ensure they improve performance.

You may need to consider setting up more regular one to one’s or informal catch-ups to provide the support required to the modern apprentice.

Moving or ending post

Securing other Employment

Occasionally Modern Apprentices are able to secure an alternative post once they are within the council. If this happens, it is important that they continue to undertake their qualification once in their new role. If your Modern Apprentice is successful securing a job in an alternative department, they must negotiate with their new department in order for them to be able to continue their qualification. If there are any issues or questions regarding this, please email trainingcentre@argyll-bute.gov.uk

End of Contract

When the Modern Apprentices contract is nearing completion, it is important that you as a line manager are actively encouraging the Modern Apprentice to apply for other vacancies, especially if there is not likely to be one within your service. Ideally suitable vacancies will arise within the organisation, however if they do not, it is important that you assist them in apply for jobs both internally and externally. To assist with this process, it might be worthwhile to get Modern Apprentices to keep a reflective account on a weekly basis which details some of the tasks they have undertaken, training they have received and skills and knowledge they have gained. They will be to use this when applying for vacancies throughout their career.

Managers should also help Modern Apprentices identify which skills are transferable and give example of how they can be used in other situations. Support should include CV writing, online applications, interview skills and highlighting the jobs available on the councils vacancy list (both internal and external vacancies). Given the time it takes to apply for jobs, this support should begin no later than 3 months before the end of the contract.

For further information:

Apprenticeship resources on LEON.