How to Develop Your L&D Apprentice on the Job
An apprenticeship is a chance for a new or existing member of staff to upgrade their skills.
Apprentices spend 20% of their time on off-the-job training, but what should you be doing to develop them on the job? In this article, we’ll be helping you to consider new ways to develop your L&D apprentice during the course of their workweek.
Apprentices can take responsibility for practical tasks that give them new skills during their training. They study a variety of modules and practical experience in the workplace can augment this understanding.
Pairing these responsibilities with the modules the apprentice is studying will allow them to put their new knowledge into practice. They can begin to take responsibility for these activities in a phased process, using their mentor for support.
Here are some examples of responsibilities that they can take on, along with tips to support them.
Information Gathering and Reporting
Tasking your apprentice with information gathering can be a great activity to show them the data-driven side of L&D. When providing training to others, the apprentice must understand the reason the training is required, how this reason was discovered and investigated, and which positive outcomes the training is designed to achieve.
Learning to gather and understand this data is a logical first step in your apprentice's training, as it shows the apprentice the driving force behind their exciting new career. They can work to spot gaps in existing knowledge before working on activities that will fill them.
Encourage the apprentice to become accustomed to reporting back on their findings. This will serve them well as they progress through their career, as this soft skill is highly useful in the workplace.
Your apprentice should learn about justifying the need for training, creating cost analysis documentation and managing budgets. This will also assist them in understanding the context of L&D within your organisation, as they have practical knowledge of how their work benefits your company.
Designing New Activities
Part of the training that the apprentice undertakes will teach them how to design their own L&D activities. As you work with the apprentice, you can take their ideas on delivery and make them a reality. They’ll also learn the psychological factors that influence the uptake of information.
Collaborating with the apprentice can allow for innovation, even within training programmes that have not been changed in many years. They can challenge the status quo and create new takes on a training activity that isn’t performing effectively.
You can start this education by asking the apprentice to sit in on training activities and highlight areas that they think could be improved. Then, they can begin to implement these changes and give practical feedback to others. Before you know it, they’ll be up and running with their own L&D activities.
The ability to coach others is essential for L&D professionals and this can be implemented from the start of the apprenticeship. They can begin by identifying colleagues that would benefit from further coaching, such as high performers or those with gaps in their knowledge.
They can take on coaching responsibilities for new members of staff, as this can be less daunting than coaching more established colleagues. They can coach these newer employees through training and first steps within the company, which can improve the onboarding process.
Their course will give them the theoretical grounding on coaching, then they can put this into action in the workplace.
You can allow them to shadow you during coaching sessions with other employees, with the employee’s permission, and then slowly phase them further into working independently.
Creating Personal Development Plans
Working with other employees, the apprentice can create personal development plans that spur them on their own path. This is an excellent responsibility to give an apprentice, as they can get to know more about the ambitions of their colleagues.
This is also a rewarding activity for the apprentice, as they can help others to reach new goals and advocate for further development. They’ll be supported in this endeavour by their training, as they learn about best practice when it comes to assisting their colleagues with their future plans.
This is an excellent way to reduce staff turnover, as employees become more engaged with employers that care about their personal development. They can also use this to identify wider skills gaps within the organisation, that their colleagues need to be filled before they can progress.
In the early stages of their training, you should impress on the apprentice what makes a personal development plan effective.
You can also provide them with templates, which will help to ensure they address timelines, actionable goals and transferable skills. If these are already contained within a template, it’s more likely that the apprentice will address each of them during sessions with their colleagues.
Producing and Distributing Training Materials
Handouts and training materials augment the training delivery, which can be useful for learners that retain written training more effectively. They can also serve as a reminder of the training conducted, giving these learners something to refer to during their day-to-day routine.
Designing, printing and distributing these documents can be assigned to the apprentice. This can save time for more senior members of staff while providing interesting duties for the apprentice.
They can take key elements from the training and summarise them in these documents for their colleagues. They can also include additional materials, such as FAQs, exercises and further training options.
The apprentice should also organise these materials in a way that they can easily be accessed in future. Most businesses run training sessions more than once, whether for new learners or a legal obligation to refresh this knowledge. For this reason, the apprentice should understand the need to access these resources again in future.
If the attendees are required to verify their training, then the apprentice can also collate this evidence. They can create forms and gather them from attendees after the training is complete, before filing them for reference.
Finding available time in the day to train staff members can be difficult, especially on busy teams. The apprentice can work to coordinate these schedules and find ideal pockets of time for training. This also assists in improving their communication skills, as they deal with scheduling conflicts and colleagues’ preferences.
They can also become the contact for training related queries as a result of their contact with their colleagues.
Their colleagues should become comfortable with asking the apprentice about upcoming training and any other queries they have about training. The apprentice can defer to senior colleagues where they are unsure of the answer, but they should be able to answer most queries effectively.
For an apprentice to be successful, it’s essential that they are fully embedded into the workforce. Giving your L&D apprentice these practical roles and responsibilities will allow them to develop into the L&D professional that your organisation needs.