Some employers believe that their input into the apprentice’s trade course is to pay their wages, give them time off to attend classes, and let them practise their skills back at work. All of these things are important; however, for an apprentice to really thrive and achieve the best they are capable of, more is needed.
Fortunately for the employer, the extra effort required to become a key part of the apprentice’s learning community doesn’t have to cost any more in dollar terms – but it does require a higher level of commitment to work with the other parties involved in the learning process.
- talking to the apprentice regularly about what they’re learning, how they’re coping and whether they are keeping up-to-date with assignments and other assessment tasks
- talking to the workplace trainer regularly about the apprentice’s progress, and whether they need more on-the-job opportunities to practise specific skills or techniques
- taking a personal interest in the apprentice’s course results, including rewarding them when they do well or finding ways to help out if they’re struggling
- providing feedback to the Academy on any issues of concern, and assisting the staff to improve their training strategies and systems of operation
- sharing the goal of the Academy to strengthen the sense of ‘collective responsibility’ that all members of the learning community must have towards the apprentice’s development as a skilled tradesperson
- completing an appropriate skill set from the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment to allow them to personally contribute to training activities and assessment sign-offs.
Employees notice these signs of commitment and respond very positively to them. The heightened level of responsibility also becomes a two-way street – it increases the feeling of loyalty that the employee has to their boss, which goes a long way towards overcoming one of biggest bugbears of every employer: ‘I spent all that time and money training them up, and now they’ve been poached by one of my competitors’.