How to build your existing talent and make the most out of your apprentices

We understand that developing talent is one of the most significant challenges any organisation faces. During times of uncertainty, disruption, and opportunity, retaining and developing your talent has never been more important.

 

Make the Most of Apprentices

How to build your existing talent and make the most out of your apprentices

We understand that developing talent is one of the most significant challenges any organisation faces. During times of uncertainty, disruption, and opportunity, retaining and developing your talent has never been more important.

 

At First Intuition, we work with the apprentices and their employers to develop their individual technical and all-round skills that help businesses to thrive and grow.

Why should you hire apprentices?

We believe that apprenticeships are a great way to train and upskill your teams for the challenges of the future. Common feedback from clients regarding apprenticeships are:

  • Greater job satisfaction
  • Positive return on investment
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved staff retention
  • Tailored skillsets
  • Increased productivity

86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation and 74% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve the quality of their product or service.*

What makes a good apprenticeship programme?

What works?

You need to choose the right provider, a provider you trust and that fits within your business. Communication is key whether that is between yourself and the apprentice or yourself and the training provider. From the start, it is good to set out expectations so, everyone knows what they are doing and what is expected. Accept that the apprentices are going to make mistakes and let them know when they do (politely).

What doesn’t?

Internally, if people do not understand the apprenticeship programme, it builds barriers. Employees need to understand how much support and guidance apprentices need.

How do you ensure people understand the apprenticeship programme in the organisation?

Internally make sure you are having top-level conversations with the board and managers below them, explaining how the apprenticeship programme works. However, if you do not have members of staff able to provide this, use your training provider to your advantage and ask them to come in to explain how it all works.

Study buddies make a huge difference with apprentices, especially in the first few months of starting with a company. They make the environment more comfortable and have been on a similar journey.

“Each of the apprentices is linked to an apprentice a stage above them, so they have someone to talk to and to gain advice from their mentor.” Apprentice Employer.

What communication measures can be used to help apprentices succeed?

Communication is key from the outset. Remember that apprentice’s are likely to have been in a classroom six months ago and were being told what to do by a teacher.

From the start, it is great to set out expectations, expectations from the manager, from the student and from the training provider. This way you set boundaries and support of how the framework of the apprenticeship will work.

Younger apprentices are likely to be more tech-savvy and may prefer to communicate via messaging platforms and chat channels. You may find most young adults don’t have the confidence to answer the phone which is where our impact skills programme helps to develop these types of skills.

How can businesses help make an environment where apprentices succeed?

Internal communication from the top down makes apprenticeships more successful.

“There has been an evolution over the last few years. Partners are now supportive of apprenticeships and what is involved, they know it is not an easy ride and that apprentices need support.” Apprentice Employer.

Study buddies also help in this situation as they have already been through it and can advise, relate, and help support. You also need to make sure they are building a relationships with their manager so, they become approachable. Apprentices will make mistakes but it is how they learn from them.

“We will make sure our Apprentices have lunch together to get to know each other outside of work.” Apprentice Employer.

What can businesses do to aid the recruitment process of an apprentice to ensure they are successful?

When recruiting, make sure you are working closely with your marketing team to ensure the job advert is getting out there on social media as much as possible:

  • Promote all year round – it doesn’t just need to be a September start
  • Look at every application that comes through
  • Have a close relationship with applicants – let them know within 24 hours that you’ve seen their applications
  • Act quickly – they may be offered a job elsewhere
  • Managers from different departments on standby ready for interviews

In today’s recruitment market, you need to act quickly as you don’t want to lose talent to your opposition.

“When recruiting, you need to make sure they fit within your team. A willingness to learn is sometimes more important than academic qualifications, especially for those who have been in education throughout COVID-19.” Apprentice Employer.

We always advise you to continue engagement after offering the job until they start as sometimes they could have a few months before they start. This makes them feel like they are part of the team, keeps them engaged, so they feel they have started their learning journey. This also helps to build a relationship between yourself and the apprentice, so the first day isn’t so daunting.

Once the recruitment process has finished, it is always good to evaluate how it went. You want to make this process as streamlined as possible and a positive experience for both your team and the apprentice:

  • Reflect on what has gone well/where to improve
  • Ask for feedback from current student intake
  • Ask for feedback from management teams

What can businesses do during the onboarding process of an apprentice to ensure they are successful?

When an apprentice starts in your business, the first few weeks are key in ensuring they settle in and feel supported. Having an induction programme will benefit both the apprentice and the employer as well as give them structure without overwhelming them as they will know what to expect:

  • Be patient
  • Put apprentices in touch with other apprentices from different firms – the chances are they will end up together in the classroom
  • Make apprentices aware of who is who and get introductions in place
  • Work lunches outside of the office to get to know them

What can organisations do to celebrate their apprentices?

Employers can celebrate their apprentices’ exam results in various ways but sometimes even just a congratulations to acknowledge their hard work is enough.

Below are some suggestions of what employers can do:

  • For every exam pass, send a well-done card signed by the partner
  • Announce when someone passes their exams both inside and outside the organisation
  • Introduce pay increases for passing exams
  • Introduce a student of the year award

*Information from the Government’s Apprenticehip website.

Find out more about the benefits of hiring an apprentice.

For more information on apprenticeship programmes at First Intuition, please visit our apprenticeship page.

Alternatively, we have a wide range of exclusive resources, for both apprentices and employers, within FI Hub. Learn more today.

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