For an apprentice to be successful and develop into a valuable asset it is vital that they are paired with a mentor.
Angela Love, director at Active Workplace Solutions
Chancellor Rishi Sunak's summer statement outlined a £2 billion scheme designed to boost the economy through the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis by creating jobs for young people. This includes a three-point plan including support to help pay for six-month placements for young people who potentially face long-term unemployment.
Supporting young people through apprenticeship schemes should be part of any succession plan as we look to collectively rise from this crisis. This demographic needs nurturing more than ever. Their career development, social interactions, learning and training have been put on hold for too long. As business leaders, we have a responsibility to tap into their potential and ensure that their confidence remains intact.
Anyone taking on an apprentice is effectively creating a pathway into the world of work. Therefore, it’s important they have the skills, training and even the qualifications to reach their full potential. Giving an apprentice as many opportunities as possible to apply their training in real workplace situations is vital for the overall success of the programme.
Apprentices also offer a viable talent pool that, if nurtured well, can fill an organisation’s business-critical positions as others step down. If a business develops its succession planning with this in mind then it will create a robust strategic ‘succession insurance policy’ in-house. This aids business continuity and assists with company culture – these familiar faces become the ‘workplace champions’ of the organisation.
For an apprentice to be successful and develop into a valuable asset it is vital that they are paired with a mentor. However, whilst mentoring is very rewarding, it is worth noting that it isn’t for everyone. Mentoring requires a level of commitment in terms of time, patience and, importantly, the ability to listen and lead.
An apprentices’ journey is one of learning and development. You should look for win/win relationships; the workplace today is diverse and spreads across several generations, from millennials to Baby Boomers. A young apprentice will have much to learn from a mature team member, just in the same way a senior team member can learn from their younger peer. Both will enjoy enhanced job satisfaction as a result. Similarly, a self-motivated rising star taking an apprentice under their wing offers the apprentice insight into who they could become as well as providing the mentor valuable people skills.
Confident that University wasn’t for her, Jennie Armley arrived at Active as a digital marketing & social media apprentice in July 2015. We immediately looked to ensure she felt valued and part of our business. I personally mentored Jennie, helping her break new ground and work with freedom. She created our social media platforms which have since gone from strength to strength. After completing her two year apprenticeship at Active, we supported Jennie for a further year at college to allow her to complete her CIM Level 4 in Professional Marketing.
I learned so much and believe I also contributed to the business. After four-years at Active, Jennie moved on and is now flourishing in a career at a national PR agency.
A successful apprenticeship scheme will be sought after by future candidates. Those looking for apprenticeship schemes will be inclined to start their career with you if you have a proven track record in this area.
Here are tips to focus on:
- You must have the time to commit to the relationship;
- You should have a desire to mentor not be pushed into it;
- It’s a two-way street — a mentor has much to learn in the journey; and
- Success means keeping it real.
Angela Love is director at Active Workplace Solutions