Managing an Apprentice

News on 21 November 2018

My apprentice starts soon. What do I need to think about?

Your Apprentice is due to start and you’re not sure what you need to do. Start with the basics; do they need a uniform, a clocking in card, a work station, and tools? If they need these, then get them ready for when they start.

They go to college, should I monitor this?

Make sure you have the contact details for their tutor. It’s always a good idea to keep in touch with the tutor just to see how they are getting on. I’m sure you’ve all heard about situations where apprentices don’t actually go to college when they are supposed to, so it’s always good to check in.

What do I need to go through with them when they start?

When your apprentice starts, you need to remember that this may be their first ever job. This means that they won’t know the things that you take for granted. Like, if they can’t come into work, they need to call and tell you. You will also need to tell them how to book a holiday (download a holiday request form here). Remember, that most apprentices come straight from school, and they wouldn’t need to do things like this in school.

Give them an induction on their first day. In your induction go through things that they will need to know. So, what time do they need to start work, what happens for their breaks, if they aren’t sure what they are supposed to be doing or if they don’t understand anything who should they speak to, if they are sick or are going to be late who do they tell, if they need time off work who do they ask etc. Our advice would always be to make sure that you are very clear in what you are telling the apprentices. Don’t leave anything open to interpretation and don’t get lulled into a false sense of security by thinking that things are common sense.

Do they need to have regular reviews?

Absolutely. You need to meet with them regularly to ensure that they know what they are doing, that they understand what is required of them, and if they need any further help. It’s also a good opportunity for you to give them feedback on how things are going.

If they are doing well, then tell them. If you think they are struggling with things, then tell them. Managing performance is all about communication. How do they know what you expect of them unless you tell them?

Should I give them examples?

This is a great idea. If you are working with an apprentice who is learning a trade, then showing them examples of good and bad work will be really helpful. We would also suggest that you explain why. So, if doing something in a particular way is quicker, but means that the quality of the work will be affected, or the work will be dangerous, then tell them this. It’s always good for people to know why, otherwise they may not understand the importance of doing things the right way, instead of just the quick way.

Who should manage / mentor them?

Realistically you need to look at who is going to be monitoring their work. The person who is managing them on a day to day basis should be qualified in what the apprentice is learning. They should also be able to provide good quality feedback and be approachable.

Can’t I just get rid of them if they aren’t performing?

The law dealing with the dismissal of an apprentice is very complex and you should therefore tread very carefully before making the decision to dismiss an apprentice. Keep your eyes peeled for our follow up blog on dismissing an apprentice for further details.

Do I have to keep records?

Yes. Keeping records is always important. Not just because HR love paperwork. 

Is there anything specific I need to know about apprentices?

Yes. If your apprentice is a school leaver, then you need to keep in mind that young workers have different rights when you’re looking at their breaks and how many hours they can work each shift or each week. The website has all you need to know about employing young workers.

What next?

The next part would be to get a contract drawn up for your Apprentice. Why not subscribe on our resources page so you don’t miss out.

If you need a chat about an Apprentice why not give us a call us on 02920 090500.