After deciding to hire an apprentice it’s important to ensure that they adjust quickly to the culture of the workplace and can smoothly integrate into the team. The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) highlights that the completion of apprenticeships and traineeships is down 9% and approximately half of all apprenticeship contracts in the trades are not being completed. This means it’s more important than ever to ensure apprentices are successfully on-boarded into a business.
First impressions matter and the process of starting an apprenticeship is just as important as all the training that follows. According to NCVER, apprentices generally leave their apprenticeship contract early on- 60% of those who leave do so within the first year. It’s also stated that employers with the highest completion rates are generally larger, experienced employers with well-organised systems for managing and recruiting apprentices- highlighting the necessity for a comprehensive on-boarding process.
So, how do we do this with our apprentices?
1. Ensure all the paperwork is correct
Onboarding begins before the apprentice even starts work and ensuring all formal registrations and contracts are completed correctly is the first step to ensuring a smooth transition into the business.
2. Start from day one
The first day is arguably one of the most important for any new recruit. It sets the tone for the rest of their employment and should confirm in their mind that they have made the right decision.
Ensure that from the very first day everyone in your business is aware that a new apprentice will be starting and that all employees are across the processes involved in meeting the targets for the apprentice to finish their qualification.
Apprentices should be introduced to the team and made aware of what their responsibilities will be on the first day, rather than thrown in the deep end.
3. Choose a buddy
Implementing a buddy system can help the new apprentice feel at ease and provides a familiar face to ask questions or raise concerns they may feel too nervous to bring up with a supervisor. Buddies shouldn’t act as supervisors or evaluate performance. Rather, they should provide guidance around company culture and the do’s and don’ts within a team.
4. Set up a training plan
A training plan allows you to create specific goals for your apprentice and ensure they know the steps that will be required to learn the necessary skills to complete their qualification.
A comprehensive training plan is integral to any on-boarding process as it informs the apprentice on how they will be able to succeed in their role and recognise their value to the business as a whole. A training plan should set out the expectations of the new apprentice so they’re aware of what is required of them when they show up for work and there’s no confusion that could lead to issues later down the track.
5. Offer regular feedback
On-boarding doesn’t stop after the first day, or even after the first week. To successfully integrate an apprentice into your business, regular feedback needs to be provided to ensure they’re staying on track. Good work needs to be recognised and inadequate performance addressed so the apprentice can learn and improve within the team.