Investing in an apprentice takes time, money and considerable effort, but the pay off for businesses that get it right is priceless.

Studies have shown that happy staff are more productive, and the flow-on effect for employers has been measured in better staff retention, happier customers, and a thriving business. Find out what steps you need to take to ensure your workplace is the perfect breeding ground for standout apprentices. 

1. Get to know your staff

Statistics show that more than half of apprentices drop out in the first year. If you don't want your apprentice to be one of them, ensure you take the time to get to know them, get an understanding of any hurdles they may be experiencing, and work together to overcome them.

For example, if unreliable transportation is preventing an apprentice from getting to work on time, you could organise a car pool roster. Or if a part of their training is proving challenging, find the time to work with them one-on-one.

2. Integrate scheduled training time into your working week

Apprentices appreciate knowing that their employers are invested in their training. One of the most common complaints from apprentices is a perceived lack of structured on-the-job training.

Make sure you set aside regular blocks of time to review new skills and open lines of communication. Set goals and review them regularly to ensure your apprentice meets them in a timely manner. An employer shouldn’t just be the person who signs the pay cheques, but someone who can act as a mentor.

3. Build the kind of workplace people want to work in

What’s an apprenticeship without falling for the old left-handed screwdriver gag? We all remember the pitfalls of being an apprentice, but it’s important to remember that passing on the worst aspects of an apprenticeship doesn’t lead to a good workplace culture. It’s up to employees to ensure they actively stand against workplace bullying and work hard to foster positive relationships.

4. Actively promote positive work/life balance

The most effective way to get the most out of your apprentice is recognising the importance work/life balance. As much as we'd sometimes like to, it's impossible to completely separate what's happening in our personal lives from our work lives.

Make sure you create an environment that allows your staff to talk with you about life events that may affect their productivity — before it becomes a problem. Encourage staff to take their annual holidays to prevent burnout and exhaustion. And if you’re the type of boss who’s married to the job, try and practice what you preach and allow yourself time to recharge the batteries.

5. Design well-rounded job roles

Make sure people know what they’ve signed up for. Ensure your job descriptions accurately represent the role people are applying for. If the direction of your business starts to shift, ensure you talk to staff about changes in their job description before implementing them.

Information for trades employers

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