Large organisations are often fully supportive of taking on apprentices at level 2 in groundworks or bricklaying but are then frustrated when it doesn’t work out.There may be several reasons for this; they don’t like early morning starts, they don’t like working outside, they don’t like working such long hours, they fail a random drugs test. However, it might NOT be the apprentice’s fault. Often there is a lack of thought given to who looks after the apprentice once they leave the “comfort” of the training room to work on a live building site.
In their first few weeks at work there is a huge amount of new information being thrown at them. Add to that the stress of being out on a site and mixing with a wide range of people who for the first time are not all the same age as them. This can feel overwhelming.
This to me is a sliding door moment – and which way that door slides is completely dependent on who and what greets them the other side of that door. If behind door A there is a line manager who has had the apprentice foisted upon them with no real interest in developing people, then you are unlikely to get a successful apprenticeship completion. If, however behind door B you get a mentor who is willing to take the apprentice under their wing, nurture them and get them used to site life, you have the beginnings of a great partnership to work on. The line manager has a crucial role in helping that apprentice settle in. It is then their job to make sure that they are aware of what the apprentice is covering in the classroom and provide them with opportunities to use these skills on the job. They can encourage the apprentice to take risks and make mistakes, and learn from them, and if necessary, protect them from the “banter” that comes with making mistakes.
Here at Salutem we love to work closely with these mentors to make sure that they are developing the skills they need to ensure your future workforce is learning from the best about the world of work.
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