Getting your project management apprenticeship off to a good start

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After you’ve made the decision to employ a project management apprentice for your business, been through the interviews and made a choice of the right candidate for you, then you may be forgiven for thinking the work is over.

However, to get the best out of your apprentice, and to ensure they are motivated to succeed it is vital to get them off to a great start within your business and with their training – here’s how:

Speak to them before they start

Going from the final interview to their first day can be an extremely  daunting experience for someone who is completely new to the world of work.

It is always a good idea to have some communication before they start work with you, either by sending them some reading material on policy and procedures via email before they start, or by simply introducing them to the team before their first day.

This way, they will feel like they have a place within the company before they set foot through the door.

Give them a mentor

If it is not yourself that will be mentoring and overseeing your project management apprentice, then take a look at the staff you have in order to choose the most suitable mentor for them. Do try and lighten the mentor’s workload slightly before giving them this responsibility however, as there is nothing worse than having your usual workload whilst trying to train someone else up – and this can lead to resentment on the mentor’s part and can make the apprentice feel like somewhat of an inconvenience.

Have everything prepared and ready for them

Check what your apprentice will need in terms of forms to fill in, health and safety training (if applicable) and computer logins if required. There is nothing worse than arriving on a first day at a new company and having nowhere to sit, no computer or a stack of forms that have to be found and it is likely to start your apprentice off with the wrong impression of your business from the get go. Even though your new employee may be new to the world of work, setting a good example by having everything ready is vital to making them feel comfortable and welcome.

Plan their first day carefully

Obviously, there will be a variety of ‘new starter’ procedures that you go through with every new member of staff but be careful not to overwhelm your apprentice on their first day.

Along with the vital things that need to be done, an introduction to the team, a tour around the office and an introduction to the IT system will be more than enough information to begin with, so make the rest of the day fairly easy on them and don’t try and show them every process at once.

Top tip: Don’t make them make the coffee/tea run on their first day  – it can often put even the most confident apprentice in a spin!

Take a REAL interest in their training…

An interested boss makes for a motivated individual, and apprentices are no different. Take the time to get to know what they will be learning in terms of course content, any assessments due etc. and talk to your apprentice about these regularly.

If you’re using a training provider such as Training Byte Size you should have received information about how to support your apprentice from them. By giving your apprentice a regular time slot to talk about how they are getting on, you’ll be in prime position to encourage, motivate and support them, leading to someone who knows their contribution is valued and feels confident in speaking up and asking questions.

 

…. And in them

Making a person part of a team means more than having them work alongside you. It is a good idea to get to know your apprentice in terms of who they are as a person and what they like to do outside of work. Despite any age gaps between your apprentice and your current staff, there will likely be common ground which can only be found if you encourage the conversation.

…And in what they have to offer

Many employers fail to include apprentices in some of the team meetings that may be of real value to them if they were able to listen in. Whether they are ready to contribute to the meeting or not, it gives them far more of an idea of what goes on when they work their way up, and gives them a goal to work towards.

You never know; further into their training they may come up with an idea generated from one of these meetings that you may not have thought of.

Making the decision to hire an apprentice could be the best decision you make as a business owner, but ensuring they have the right start will help them progress better and more quickly, allowing them to quickly become a real asset to your company.

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