BlogThursday 13 Oct 2016

Keeping your apprentice or trainee: 10 top tips

Hiring an Australian Apprentice (often referred to as apprentices or trainees) is a big investment for your business. It is also a big commitment for the employee – they are signing on for up to 5 years working and learning with your business. If you make the investment to hire an apprentice or trainee, it makes sense to work to keep them. If they decide to leave, you might feel like you have wasted time training them, and you will be up for the costs of filling the position again. North Coast TAFE has some practical tips on creating a positive workplace to keep your employee productive and engaged.

1. Be willing to learn from them

Australian Apprentices can come from all walks of life, with different backgrounds and workplace experiences. Be open to their perspective on your business and enjoy the fresh energy they’ll bring. It can be personally rewarding to support someone to learn about your industry.

Remember they will be getting cutting edge training, which can help you stay in touch with industry changes too.

2. Support their training

It is crucial you support your apprentice or trainee to complete their training. Don’t get so busy that you think you can’t spare them for their training time. If you don’t value the time they spend training and what they are learning, they won’t either.

North Coast TAFE can help with personalised training for your business – you may have the option to have training conducted at your workplace to reduce time out and provide customised training solutions specific to your business. This is a great opportunity for your entire workforce to see your commitment to training.

Don’t restrict training and professional development opportunities to what you must provide as part of the agreed apprenticeship and traineeship training program. Engage your entire workforce with opportunities to learn.

3. Open lines of communication

Staying in touch with your apprentice or trainee is important to making them feel part of the team and supported in the workplace.

Like any employee, it is important to establish your needs and expectations for how they will work and train with you, and what their responsibilities are. Encourage them to ask questions and try to be approachable.

Clear communication and regular opportunities for the apprentice or trainee to have one-on-one contact with a mentor and/or the business owner will help nip any problems in the bud.

Try to relate to them on a personal level as well; it is easy for new employees to be intimidated by the boss!

4. Get their conditions right

Understand your obligations to support your Australian Apprentice through employment conditions like correct pay, a safe working environment and fair treatment in the workplace.

5. Assign a mentor

Depending on the size of your business, you may want to assign a mentor for your apprentice or trainee. Make sure the mentor has the right skills and resources to support the apprentice. If they see it as just another responsibility and feel they don’t have time, they may resent it and this is no good for you, them or the apprentice.

6. Build support networks

Support from family and friends is crucial to staying on in an apprenticeship or traineeship, especially for younger employees.

If there seem to be personal issues affecting job performance or attendance, reach out and give them a chance to talk to you about any problems. Try to find a way to resolve any issues and put them in touch with an apprenticeship and traineeship support network.

7. Help them fit in

Communicate to your staff that Australian Apprentices should be treated exactly the same as other employees. They are entitled to the same level of respect and courtesy as any other co-worker.

Being clear on how the new recruit fits in to the workforce and their role in the business will help them make the transition into your workplace.

8. Offer more than a pay packet

Look for ways to engage your apprentice or trainee and create a happy workplace. Try:

  • encouraging all employees to have a good work/life balance
  • being flexible when you can regarding personal and family commitments
  • offering training and development opportunities outside of your obligations
  • helping them understand the career path they can have with your business.

9. Know when to get help

If there is a problem with your apprentice or trainee, it is important to know how to manage it and when to get help.

This goes for the apprentice as well – make sure they know there are people to talk to if they are having a problem or need help.

10. Get the support you need

You don’t have to do it all alone.

When you partner with North Coast TAFE, we’ll help you to keep your apprentice or trainee happy on the job. Keep your apprentice commitment high by providing structured training and supporting your apprentice or trainee. Get in touch with North Coast TAFE today to get the conversation started.

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Talk to North Coast TAFE about finding the right apprentice or trainee. We’ll use our extensive network to help you recruit the right person for the job and make the most of your investment.

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