Apprentices arrive at many companies with very little work experience and being teamed with a mentor can be key to them completing the programme. If you take on the role of mentor to apprentices, you need to provide a fair and supportive service. Being a mentor involves showing apprentices what to do in the workplace and supporting their journey. However, it also involves helping them through their individual difficulties and finding solutions to problems you may not have encountered yourself. Keep these top tips for apprentice mentoring in mind and you’ll start off on the right foot with your new mentee.
Formal meetings are a must for your apprenticeship mentoring but it is also important to set aside time for more informal chats too. Formal meetings are more focused and should drill down into the specifics of their apprenticeship experience and any support they may need. Informal chats may just happen in passing in the break room or canteen but can be just as valuable. Chats are great for discussing concerns that may be less work focused. For example, if your apprentice has personal issues, mental health concerns or something similar. A good mentor ensures they have insight into their mentee’s life beyond the job role.
The main reason for taking on a mentor’s role is to teach and provide specialist knowledge to your mentees. Your industry may have its own specific jargon and you can be your mentee’s translator until they get into the swing of things. Give them the information they need about how the company runs and ensure they feel confident in the basics so they can comfortably get through each working day.
Mentors must have time to give to their apprentices. You have to invest both time and effort in your apprentice and recognise it is an ongoing commitment to help them build up their skills and knowledge. Most apprentices need time to get used to their new role and remember, many have never worked in any environment before, so give them fair time to settle.
It can be difficult to let go of control with a brand-new employee under your wing. Mentors have to have the confidence to trust and believe in their apprentice’s abilities. You must have faith in your apprentices. This gives them the confidence boost they need to put their new skills into practice. Once you have confidence in their ability to carry out a task, give them the chance to do it without close supervision or your direct input and their self-belief will begin to develop.
Just because an employee is brand-new to the company doesn’t mean they haven’t got innovative and exciting ideas to offer. Listen to your apprentice’s ideas and insights and you may find they have some great suggestions for how work is carried out or your working practices in general.
Mentors are chosen as they have the qualities to lead and provide a good example and role model to new apprentices. Your apprentices will look to you for answers but also the right way to carry out tasks, behave and interact with others in the workplace.
Providing mentorship for apprentices is a commitment but it’s a positive way to support your organisation and ensure its newest employees have the skills to develop successful careers.
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