Taking on an apprentice is a serious commitment, one that comes with the responsibility of ensuring your new team member is learning the skills they'll need for successful career progression. However, properly managing apprentice progression demands more than simply showing an apprentice how to complete certain tasks.
In reality, managing an apprentice in Australia covers everything from work-based learning and on-the-job training through to providing feedback and personal support. This can be a real challenge for busy contractors, and it's important to understand some of the ways that the process can be simplified, as well as the key skills required to make the apprenticeship a success.
So, how can contractors ensure that all parties are satisfied at the completion of an apprenticeship?
Many contractors prefer to lease an apprentice through a group training organisation (GTO) such as NECA Education & Careers.
1. Get specialist support
Managing apprentice progression is difficult enough without having to worry about all of the associated paperwork, which can include recruitment and payroll, as well as off-the-job training if you're taking on the entire employment responsibility on your own. Accordingly, many contractors prefer to lease an apprentice through a group training organisation (GTO) such as NECA Education & Careers. This eliminates the need to waste time on admin, allowing contractors to focus on the leadership and training sides of the apprenticeship process.
Not only does leasing an apprentice keep the management side of things simple, it can also save money, by condensing the costs into one simple payment to a GTO, rather than being split into wages, superannuation, tax, apprenticeship training, tools and more.
2. Set the right expectations
While leasing through a GTO makes management of an apprentice simpler, it's still critical for business leaders to set the right expectations – for apprentices, their supervisors and the contractors they'll be working alongside. For apprentices, the shift into work-based learning can be a steep learning curve, and for some it may be their first experience of employment. It's therefore important to set out some early guidelines around the level of professionalism required, as well as the health and safety regulations that need to be adhered to.
Similarly, some contractors may struggle with the training side of managing an apprentice. Patience and a willingness to clearly explain processes that an electrician knows inside-out are key to making an apprenticeship work. Accordingly, business leaders should spend time considering which workers are best suited to the direct supervision of an apprentice, as not everybody has the right personality for the job.
Perhaps the most important skill that contractors, supervisors and business leaders need when managing an apprentice is the ability to give useful feedback.
3. Understand how to give feedback
Finally, perhaps the most important skill that contractors, supervisors and business leaders need when managing an apprentice is the ability to give useful feedback. While off-the-job learning will be complemented by external education from a training provider, on-site work will be where apprentices really get to know their job role and responsibilities. As a result, it's vital to know what sort of feedback apprentices need, and to provide it in an appropriate, positive way.
Delivering this type of feedback relies on great communication skills, as well as an understanding of different personality types. Some contractors may already have these abilities, but for those who don't a training course such as NECA Education & Careers' Effective Communication Skills course will provide them with the knowledge they need to best relay advice and constructive criticism to apprentices.
To find out more about these short courses or leasing an apprentice, get in touch with the NECA Education & Careers team today.