How to keep apprentices engaged in the workplace
Apprenticeships are a great way for employers to build the skills they need in their business.
Companies can use apprenticeships to invest in new talent or upskill existing employees in a whole range of courses – from level 2 business admin to degree-level chartered management.
Like any other workplace programme, companies need buy-in from all their staff to get the most out of apprenticeships. It’s a team effort – everyone can get involved in supporting, mentoring and encouraging learners, and the learners can share their knowledge with the rest of the staff. When they’re delivered properly, apprenticeships bring huge benefits to businesses. In fact, 76% of employers said that apprenticeships improved the quality of their product or service – and boosted productivity by an average of £214 a week.
There are loads of things you can do to make sure your business and your learners get the most from apprenticeships:
It's not work experience, it's work
Apprentices aren’t students, they’re employees, so they need to experience real work and real responsibilities. Embed your apprentice into a team, set clear objectives and explain the impact their work will have in the business. As long as their mentor is around to support them, your apprentice can pick up the workload and help improve productivity.
More than a mentorship
Keeping apprentices engaged is about more than deadlines and targets – it’s about going above and beyond. For many apprentices, especially school-leavers, this may be their first experience of the working world, so they may need a little help adjusting. Think about organising social events, focusing on their wellbeing, or helping them learn from constructive criticism. It’s a big learning curve.
Keep the momentum going
People do apprenticeships because they’re ambitious, hard-working and committed – all the traits you’ll want in the future leaders of your business. Qualified apprentices make great leaders, so show them how their career could develop in your company.
Learners can progress from a level-2 apprenticeship to a higher or degree-level apprenticeship (levels 6 and 7) while they’re at your company. The learner will progress professionally and academically, and you’ll gain a highly skilled employee.
Gone are the days of pens and paper. Apprenticeships can now be delivered, recorded and tracked online using an eportfolio. It makes the whole process easy to manage and means apprentices can learn in a way that suits them.
Apprentices need to keep a record of their learning throughout their course, so using a digital learning journal – rather than a written account – is a good idea too. Apprentices can upload photos, videos or audio as evidence of their learning and rate their progress online. Keeping the learner at the forefront of their apprenticeship will keep them engaged and drive them to succeed.
At OneFile, our learning software is learner-led. Apprentices can upload evidence of their learning into a scrollable timeline, rate their progression and see how they improve throughout the programme. Learners can see their scores increase, see their progress improve and see all their learning reflections in a timeline – and it’s this visual stimulus that keeps apprentices engaged.
To find out more about OneFile’s learning software, download our free guide. It explains how our learner-led features work – how they gamify learning and encourage learners.