Taking on an apprenticeship in engineering, manufacturing or science is a major undertaking lasting 3 – 4 years. To get a successful outcome at the end, the individual apprentice has to commit to working hard for the entire programme. This post looks at 4 key elements that help gain commitment to an extended training journey.
1. Making the right choice
Given the typical age of apprentice candidates, many are unlikely to know for sure that they are actually making the right choice – particularly when there are so many options available. This is where strong selection procedures can help. Training providers can apply multiple stages of tests and interviews to gain deeper insight into what motivates an individual, and whether they have the true technical and behavioural capabilities to succeed.
Moreover, training providers are well placed to judge this as they are regularly working with apprentices, whereas individual employers may not have so much experience with young candidates. Ensuring that the right candidates embark on the programme is a critical first step, as they are the ones who are most likely to commit to a successful outcome.
2. Employer strategy
The motivation of the employer has to be clear right from the start. How do the apprentices fit into the long term strategy for the workforce? What is expected of them, not only during the programme but once they become qualified? Industrial employers who have high expectations and ambitions for their apprentices are likely to attract good candidates that will be loyal once they have completed. Committing to provide a high level of technical challenge and proper supervision/mentoring is essential in keeping the apprentice fully motivated through the programme.
3. Training service quality
The job of the training provider is to get good outcomes both for the apprentice and for the employer. Good training provision is about treating both as customers of a service – the apprentice has a right to high quality training, and the employer can expect a service which supports their own mission and objectives. To this end, a successful apprenticeship has to be pro-actively driven by the provider - there has to be a commitment not to just to “tick boxes” but deliver a high quality service.
4. Family support
Particularly for younger apprentices, the step change to a working environment coupled with advanced studies can be a difficult transition. Support from friends and family, and especially parents/guardians, is an essential part of getting an apprentice through to the end of a 3 – 4 year programme. Whilst the training provider and employer are there to develop the individual apprentice, families are in a unique position to provide the emotional and behavioural support necessary to keep them on track. Getting commitment from the family to support the apprenticeship is an important dimension to getting a successful outcome.
In the early part of the first year training, Waterside holds a “Contract Signing Night” where all four parties – the apprentice, their parents/guardians, their employer, and Waterside – all sign an agreement to commit to the apprenticeship programme. This formal event stresses the importance of all parties committing to high standards and expectations throughout the 3 – 4 year engineering / manufacturing / science programmes that are just starting. On Thursday 12th November 2015, Waterside held this year’s Contract Signing Night, with a strong turnout from employer representatives and family members who came to help support the new apprentices.
For more on Waterside Training apprentice programmes in engineering, manufacturing and science, see Employer information and Student Information. You can also call 01744 616 837 or get in touch using the Contact Us form.