Tips for Effectively Onboarding Apprentices
Companies new to the world of apprenticeships may want to take some time to ensure they have the right systems in place for their new employees. Apprentices may never have worked in any formal environment before, so this is something to keep in mind when planning your onboarding process. Just like any other new employee, you want your apprentices to feel welcome and part of the team. Apprentices don’t work full-time in the business as they have theory modules and educational elements of their qualification to complete, but they still need to be introduced and onboarded as part of the team.
Your Apprentice’s First Day
All new employees need to be introduced to their team and given the chance to get to know their new work surroundings. On their first day ensure you give your apprentice a proper tour and give them the chance to speak to others, settle their nerves and get a feel for the business.
If not already complete, you should ensure all employment contracts are signed and all necessary information about hours, rules of the business and pay rates are understood.
Introducing your apprentice to their new role should also be a priority. It may be their first job so you should try and be as thorough and clear as possible. You may take the chance to go over the job description or provide them with a specific daily schedule to get into the swing of how things work. Many employers also pair their apprentices with a mentor or buddy who can help them get by on a day-to-day basis until they gain more experience in the role.
Depending on the type of organisation and your team’s preferences, you could spend some time on team building and motivational exercises, to help your new apprentice get to know everyone and feel more at home and comfortable in the workplace. This will be dependent on your type of work and may be more suited to office environment than busy retail spaces or manufacturing facilities.
Your Apprentice’s Training Schedule
Once your apprentice has had the chance to settle in and find their bearings in thew workplace, you need to go over their training and plan out their programme to ensure they’re meeting the requirements of the apprenticeship. You can incorporate a range of different training methods including:
- Workbooks – workbooks may feel like schoolwork, but the theory side of the apprenticeship is important. Watching videos is not always enough and some learners prefer to be able to look information up and work through their class-based modules.
- Shadowing – much like the mentoring idea mentioned earlier, shadowing is important for apprentices to experience different roles in the business. During their apprenticeship you should provide several opportunities to shadow different team members in different roles so they can build better experience across the business.
- Online training – online training has revolutionised apprenticeship learning as it is so flexible, and learners can complete their theory work at their own pace. If you offer online training it is still important to set deadlines and monitor your apprentice’s progress.
It is important to set a clear schedule for your apprentices so they know what they should be doing and when it should be done. Keep in mind many have not worked before and may benefit from a structured approach to work and learning, at least at the beginning of their apprenticeship.
The onboarding process for apprentices doesn’t differ too much from other new recruits, just keep in mind they may need a little more guidance and structure.