Babington’s CEO, Carole Carson, discusses the importance of creating a high-performance apprenticeship programme that doesn’t just encourage apprentice starts, but also course completion.
There is much talk in the news on the drop in apprenticeship numbers – but what about learner success rates? After all, looking at how our current apprentices are performing on programme is as important a metric as how many start – we need our starters to also finish.
For the apprenticeship system to work, businesses need to understand how they can support apprentices rather than just expect them to ‘turn-up’.
Apprentices have the potential to make a huge impact on the bottom line but creating a high performing programme takes several key components. I’ve pulled together a list of the key factors which I believe get businesses on the path to a high performing apprenticeship programme that will generate business impact and invested employees for your business.
Highly engaged employees
One key sign of an organisation with a high performing apprenticeship programme is how well engaged the employees are. This doesn’t apply to just the apprentices, but to the wider company as well. An apprentice is an essential member of the team, and where the teams around them are engaged, a company will stand to gain more from its programme.
Effective internal communication
Where there is poor communication, there is frustration and lower productivity. When apprentices, line managers, teams, and departments are clear on their goals and responsibilities, an organisation will thrive. An apprenticeship programme needs input from many parts of the business, and clear communication helps the apprentices to understand their contribution and output within the business.
Channels such as social media, intranet, email, team meetings/ briefing should be used effectively to establish a culture of clear communication.
A visible and effective mentoring programme
One sign of a high performing apprenticeship programme is a mentor programme. A line manager will naturally be responsible for managing the apprentice and their workload, however allowing others from within the business to mentor the apprentice can accelerate their personal and professional development. Mentors provide support and advice on soft skills which can’t always be provided by a line manager but are very much needed by an apprentice – especially one who is new to the world of work.
Internal networking opportunities
Depending on the size of the business, an apprentice may not be exposed to other departments, or even other apprentices. Meeting with other apprentices and peers can help an apprentice to feel valued and less isolated, especially if they are a school leaver or still quite new to the business. When an apprentice feels connected with their organisation, they’ll bring a positive attitude and work ethic.
Valuing an apprentice’s work
An employer can pay the apprentice £3.70 an hour if they are under 19 and/or in the first year of their apprenticeship. However, where an apprenticeship programme is highly engaged and performs well, the apprentices are often paid their worth. Companies that offer a fair wage for an apprentice will see apprentices that are motivated and hungry to learn more in their roles.