Setting your apprentice up for success: Our 5 top tips

Our top tips for setting your apprentice up for success 

Being a manager is demanding at the best of times, but managing an apprentice takes time, commitment, and patience. When you decide to grow your team by hiring an apprentice, we are here to educate, support and guide them to success. However, it is also your responsibility to be a part of the journey. Developing your apprentice in the workplace is not only beneficial to them, but also for you and the company; you get to mould your new employee to fit your specific business needs, train them up to your own company standards, and ultimately create a motivated and committed member of the team. 

In this blog, we cover some top tips that you can use as a guide when managing an apprentice so that they can make the most out of their apprenticeship – and vice versa!


Clear objectives and deadlines

Often apprentices are fresh out of education or in their first or second full-time role. The prospect can be daunting, and one thing that can help is setting short-term goals for your apprentice to work towards each week. Having clear objectives and set deadlines will allow your apprentice to use their own initiative and learn how to organise their time efficiently. By giving your apprentice set tasks each week not only are you ensuring that they are confident on which tasks to focus on, but you are also showing them that their work matters to the business. You could even reward your employee for these objectives, for example, you could give early finishes on a Friday to the people that performed well or have achieved their goals. This will help teach your apprentice how to prioritise their workload and motivate them to work hard. 

Dedicated time to complete apprenticeship work

Allowing your apprentice time to complete their apprenticeship work during the working week is essential. ‘Off-the-job’ training is delivered during your apprentice’s normal working hours. Apprentices must spend at least 20% of their working hours completing ‘off-the-job’ training. This is protected time and is a legal requirement for apprenticeship delivery. Giving your apprentice dedicated time to complete their off-the-job hours not only encourages your apprentice to succeed in their qualification, it also shows that you care about and recognise how the apprenticeship is going to help them in their career. It’s a good idea to agree on a time each week that your apprentice can focus on their coursework – perhaps half a day each week or time at the end of the day. This will ensure that your apprentice is on the path to success and encourages them not to fall behind.

Make sure you let your apprentice know that you are there to support them throughout their programme – not just within their job role! Our team will always keep you up to date with their progress, and let you know if we think your apprentice needs any extra support.


Assign a mentor

Another way to support apprentices, often at the beginning of their careers and new to the world of work, is to assign a workplace mentor. Assigning a mentor, or ‘buddy’, can provide much-needed support to help apprentices feel supported and hit the ground running. This relationship in the workplace also provides the opportunity for instant knowledge sharing, allowing apprentices to settle in and get up to speed quickly, helping not only them but your business, too.


Make regular feedback a priority

Often, apprentices are facing a lot of unknowns and have a steep learning curve to follow. It’s therefore vital to maintain an open line of communication for any and all feedback. Despite good intentions, waiting too long to give fair but critical feedback can make some habits and learnings much harder to undo than if they were brought up earlier. 


Extra development

Putting in the effort and developing your apprentice’s skillset is not only valuable to them- it also adds value to your team and company as a whole. You can develop your apprentice beyond their Apprenticeship training by asking them to take part in webinars and complete relevant online courses to further expand their knowledge. This could include courses from Google Digital Garage, Codecademy, SEMrush Academy, or any other course that you think would be beneficial. Alongside webinars and courses, you could schedule time for your apprentice to shadow other members of the team. This will allow them to pick up valuable skills that they can utilise in their own role and provides a deeper understanding of each member and their specific duties.


We asked escalla’s Apprenticeship Delivery Manager, Emma Serventi, how she sets her apprentices up for success.


“My advice would be to have a structured training and mentoring strategy in place before the apprentice starts. Allocate time for the apprentice to work shadow other team members, set weekly 1-2-1 meetings, and block out their calendar with set times for them to complete their 20% off-the-job training. Most of our apprentices need this formal structure, as the apprenticeship could be their first experience of full-time work. They appreciate the support from their managers as it helps them to find out more about the business, they can organise and prioritise their day-to-day tasks, so they don't feel overwhelmed, and as they get to learn more about their colleagues, they feel confident asking for support when they need it. Apprentices tend to worry they will annoy people if they ask, 'silly questions', and they don't want to let people down. Giving them the opportunity to feedback, ask questions, learn, develop new skills, further their understanding, and discuss next steps, is crucial in settling them into their role and supporting their progression.”


If you have any additional questions about how to set your apprentice up for success, you can browse our FAQs or get in touch with our friendly team.