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A crucial element to effective apprentice retention is mentoring. At its core, effective mentoring is about making a commitment to provide meaningful training experiences. Employers and others in the apprenticeship community offer these tips:
Best Practices for Mentorship
Mentors need more than technical competence – they should have the ability to teach. They need to both show the apprentice how to do things and explain why so the apprentice can solve problems on their own in the future. Success is based largely on the mentor’s ability to communicate and support knowledge transfer.
Mentors benefit from training and ongoing support. The journeyperson-apprentice relationship relies on a mentor’s ability to explain difficult tasks and provide critical feedback, something that doesn’t always come naturally. Knowing what to teach and when, as well as procedures for signing off on new skills, is helpful.
Create a Training
A training plan serves as a benchmarking tool to track progress and identify strengths and weaknesses. Combined with the logbook, it can guide journeypersons and their apprentices when discussing training goals and requirements. It ensures the mentor and apprentice see progress and can identify skills gaps.
of Work Experiences
Apprentices need exposure to a variety of tasks. Throughout the stages of an apprenticeship, journeypersons must know when to provide intense support and when to let the apprentice practice their skills and learn from their mistakes. A well-rounded apprentice has opportunities to apply their skills in different situations.
to Evaluate Performance
Establishing criteria and a schedule for formal performance evaluation is a best practice that helps assess whether the apprentice is learning at the required level. Some employers use skills checklists, quarterly evaluation forms and meeting records to track the learning process. Others focus on field assignments and skills demonstrations.
Inspire Apprentice Loyalty
Many employers fear an apprentice will leave once certified. Apprentices tell us they are more likely to stay when an employer provides a mentor willing to teach them and they understand opportunities for career advancement within the company. Apprentices want to understand the company’s values, feel they are part of a team and be provided with a variety of work experiences. A positive work environment is essential to long-term retention.
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