It's important everyone in your business is supportive of your apprenticeship programme. A new apprenticeship programme can mean new ways of working. Manage this change positively and your programme will have a much greater chance of success.

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Getting organisational buy-in for your programme

A prerequisite for a successful apprenticeships programme is clarity about the role that apprentices play in the organisation and a shared understanding of how they will be supported and by whom.

Winning the support of the existing workforce, senior management as well as line managers and trade unions, is crucial. Line managers need the right support and tools to effectively manage young apprentices straight out of education who may be new to the workplace.

The training apprentices receive on and off the job needs to be high quality and tailored to both the apprentices’ and employers’ needs. Consider how you will train them for their role and the processes and learning tools they will engage with.

The line manager is key to determining the success of an apprentice entering the business. As such, winning their support and ensuring they feel comfortable with their new responsibilities is an important step.

There are things you can do to help get that buy-in:

  • Identify apprenticeship champions in leadership and senior management teams.
  • Involve line managers in key decision-making.
  • Share examples of best practice and aspirations.
  • Show colleagues how they can get involved.

Other things to consider:

  • Consider the fairness of the pay you are offering young recruits and provide travel expenses where possible.
  • The travel and distance to work and the related costs, how easy it is for an apprentice to use public transport and whether the job role requires them to work from home or remotely.
  • Understand that some young people looking for apprenticeships will have limited experience of working and may lack skills to perform even basic tasks (writing emails, answering phone calls).
  • Invest time in managing young recruits, providing pastoral support and mentoring. Appropriate levels of support at the beginning of the employment relationship are likely to improve employee skill and confidence levels more quickly, therefore enabling them to take on more challenging tasks and perform the job to a higher standard.
  • Provide explicit and tailored support to your line managers that manage young apprentices and offer a platform to share success stories and experience to managers.
  • Consider how the motivation of an employee changes over time and ensure that the apprentice feels that their contribution is valued through reasonable autonomy, task variety, as well as formal and informal reward and recognition, such as incremental pay increase, vouchers and simply saying ‘thank you’.
  • Be clear about the career prospects at the end of the apprenticeship and make it known to the apprentice as soon as possible. Best practice would be to provide them with a permanent full time job but they must be employed for at least the duration of the apprenticeship so that must be very clear in any advert.