How to Make the Most of an Apprenticeship

Posted by: Tom Post Date: 13th November 2015

Having a degree alone may not be enough to guarantee a job in a professional field. In fact, apprenticeships are now considered an excellent career choice for progressing within an industry, with on-the-job learning giving you much needed experience.

However, as an apprentice (and more than likely new to the industry), you have to think of yourself as part-student, part-employee – and someone with a lot to learn.

This is advice for those who are considering, or may already have, an apprenticeship, to help you make the most out of your opportunity.

Ask questions

Your new work environment may feel intimidating, with many different ideas and difficult vocabulary, so it’s understandable for a beginner to get confused. As an apprentice, nobody expects you to know all the answers all the time.

This is why you should have a mentor in the company – someone to give advice on your experience, and help guide you through the role. You also never know- if they’re impressed by your initiative and your keenness to learn, you could end up with a permanent position!

You may be given a task in which you’re not sure where to start, or you may even make a mistake. But don’t let mistakes ruin your confidence – ask your mentor what steps you have to take next, and consider them as learning experiences instead.

Spend time with everybody

You may have started an apprenticeship with a specific role and a huge ‘to-do’ list to work through, but that doesn’t mean you should be rooted to your computer.

For example, if you work in admin but also have an interest in sales, take a bit of time to shadow the sales team and ask them questions. You may learn a little more about the company, the industry, and you could even find yourself taking on new tasks.

Showing initiative in ways like this also show that you’re a confident person and a flexible worker. So talk to everybody – you never know what skills you might pick up in the end.

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Be patient

It’s likely that you’ll be entering a field that is completely alien to you, so you could be doing more basic tasks early on. Some apprentices can be impatient – and want to jump straight into the job. This can be mistaken for boredom – a bad signal for your employers!

Use this time to help you get settled in, and get used to the new position and your co-workers. You could also take this period to prepare yourself with material outside of work. If you’re in hairdressing, you may want to ask those in the salon if they know of any brilliant Youtube tips or tutorials for different styles. Even practical roles like health and social care may require you to do some extra research on how you can help those in need.

The ‘settling in’ period may feel long, but be patient and it will help you with more challenging tasks later on!

Get yourself into social situations

If you get an opportunity to speak to everybody outside the office environment, then you should jump at the chance.

Networking and taking part in ice-breakers such as Christmas parties and sports with colleagues can be a great way of getting to know them. After that, you’ll be more confident approaching people at work and asking them questions. You’ll also find yourself making great friends along the way!

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