Employing an apprentice within your business is a great way of upskilling current staff or opening your team to a wider talent pool. Surveys have shown that apprentices improve engagement of others in the workforce but how do you keep them engaged to complete their apprenticeship? Smart Apprentices has 10 tips for keeping your learner’s engaged and explains why each one is important.

1. Track their progress

Tracking the progress of a learner not only helps you to mitigate the risk of failure by seeing where the learner is or isn’t struggling but also allows learners to know themselves how far along in their apprenticeship they are.

Tracking progress is a great tool to see what work is already completed, what may need amending or if anything is missing.

2. Keep learners engaged by regularly engaging with them

Nothing helps engagement more than making the effort to engage with a learner, it may seem obvious but when everyone’s busy it’s easy to miss opportunities to check in with your learner.

Learners’ assessors can catch up with them via online smart rooms or by popping into their workplace. Sending a learner, a quick email is also a great way of making the apprentice feel appreciated without being too invasive or interrupting a busy schedule.

3. Check in on their well-being

Not all, but most apprentices are aged 16-18 and take on an apprenticeship straight out of school. For some, starting a new role in a new environment can be intimidating and stressful therefore checking in on a learner’s well-being is necessary.

Smart Assessor and other electronic portfolios will likely have a ‘well-being’ place on their system where documents or helpful links to information can be posted to make the learner feel better.

4. Keep up with online

Social media is a fast-growing entity & if you aren’t already on some form of social media – perhaps you’ve been living under a rock!

Social media is not only a great tool to help promote your business but also an innovative way of engaging with your learners on a platform they likely spend hours on. Social media comes with a range of content options meaning sharing online and using this as an engagement tool couldn’t be easier. Why not offer video resources or share other social media pages your learner might find helpful?

5. Give them real responsibilities

Apprentices aren’t just there to make the tea or to give the ‘easy’ jobs to – they are there to learn and develop their skills in their chosen industry. Think about what projects they can get involved in, or who they can shadow that will best benefit from their help.

Giving an apprentice a project to complete from start to finish not only gives them the motivation to complete something but also a sense of achievement once finished – plus it gets necessary work done for your business, a win-win all round.

6. Promote progression

Remember an apprenticeship dependant on level can last anywhere from 1 to 4 years but often the end of an apprenticeship isn’t the end of that learner’s journey, usually the opposite. Apprentices are usually just starting out in their careers, so make sure to keep a learner engaged by promoting progression and show them the opportunities available.

Perhaps you employ someone who used to be an apprentice, or the training provider can put them in touch with someone who has already completed the course, giving an apprentice something to aspire to is a simple but beneficial way of keeping them engaged.

7. Consider employing more than one apprentice

Although not possible for all companies, sometimes hiring more than one apprentice may be a great way of keeping the learner engaged and benefiting your business with double the resource. Having someone who is in the same position offers a support system for the learner and may be less intimidating for those not used to a workplace environment.

8. Allow them time to complete their portfolio of work

Whilst not every business will have the available time for an apprentice to put time aside for their portfolio work, this may be plausible for some. Encouraging an apprentice to video or record their work whilst they’re doing it and the upload it directly to their portfolio, may save them time later and ease the pressure of completing a mountain of work once they leave work for the day.

9. Relay success stories

Success stories are great motivators to keeping a learner interested and often engages them further. Many people are driven by proving themselves and wanting to do well, so sharing a success story is a great way to do this.

You may be able to put them in touch with a successful apprentice who can talk them through how they managed their learning or offer some advice on how to stay engaged.

10. Nominate them for awards

There are lots of awards out there available for apprentices to be nominated for and to achieve. Have you got an apprentice that you are particularly proud of or has achieved something spectacular?

Offering an award scheme or something to work towards that reflects an apprentices’ hard work is a great way of engaging learners and keeping them in a hardworking mindset.