Overview

An apprenticeship induction is much more than a conventional induction into a new role. For many apprentices, it is the start of their career, and it can be very daunting.

There are lots of different elements to starting an apprenticeship. This guide will help everyone involved understand their part in creating a quality induction experience.

Commitment statement

The commitment statement reinforces the relationship between the training provider, employer and apprentice.

This includes details of:

  • the occupation in which the apprentice is being trained
  • the name of the apprenticeship
  • the start and planned end date for the apprenticeship
  • The planned content and schedule for training
  • what is expected and offered by the employer, training provider and apprentice
  • how to resolve queries or complaints

Everyone involved must sign the commitment statement. This statement ensures the apprentice receives appropriate support and quality training.

After the induction, it is important to revisit the commitment statement and continually review the training plan to check whether the commitments are being met and to track the apprentice’s progress.

More guidance on this is provided in the three-way partnership section.

1. For employers

As the employer, it is important to make the apprentice feel as comfortable as possible.

A few ways to improve the induction experience are:

  • early communication with the apprentice, ideally before they start
  • introducing them to people they are going to work with
  • assigning them a buddy or a mentor
  • showing them what the apprenticeship from start to finish will look like
  • talking them through how the organisation works (for example, mission statements, ethos and company behaviours)

Co-workers

Introduce the apprentice to people they will be interacting with on a day-to-day basis, so they can get to know them and feel at ease around them quickly. It is good to explain to the apprentice what it is thy are there to do and when they will be doing their off-the-job training.

Setting expectations for the apprentice and the people around them can avoid any potential awkwardness or misunderstanding and may create a more inclusive working environment.

Buddy

Buddy systems are not exclusive to large organisations and more can be done to promote cross business buddying.

Larger employers who rotate apprentices through different business functions, often provide a role buddy or mentor to act as an ally who can smooth the transition between placements. This should be decided early on in the apprenticeship so the buddy and apprentice can build a working relationship and feel more supported.

Mentors

The role of a mentor is essential and a positive in many apprentices’ experience. The mentor does not have to be the apprentice’s line manager or the same person for all the apprenticeship. It is important that trust is established early to encourage the apprentice to ask for help when they need it. Also, the mentor needs to recognise the apprentice’s achievements and ensure they have someone encouraging them to succeed.

Mentors should be communicating with the apprentices’ training provider and can help the apprentice with any preparation that they need to do for their exams, coursework, and end-point assessments. Participating in any review meetings is also important in understanding the apprentice’s progress.

Networks

Signposting to communities and peers within an organisation, area or training provider is important in establishing support systems for the apprentice.

Introducing apprentices to each other in the organisation is recommended. This gives the apprentice a chance to ask questions to current apprentices or people who have completed an apprenticeship. This also provides an opportunity for them to network. This is essential in building an apprentice’s support system, network forming and creating meaningful friendships.

Overall apprenticeship journey

Providing an outline of the overall apprenticeship journey is essential.

You need to ensure there is:

  • a clear timeline of the apprenticeship training, specifying in particular where on- and off-the-job training will be joined up, and also where opportunities to prepare for EPA will be made available.
  • awareness of the apprenticeship standard
  • an environment where the apprentice feels confident to ask questions and for help
  • assurance to make sure everyone has done what is required

Providing as much information, as early as possible from the job advert (including a link to the apprenticeship), through to the induction. This gives the apprentice time to familiarise themselves with what they are going to be doing. This can help stop them from feeling too overwhelmed when they start their new job.

Creating case studies from previous apprentices can provide a clearer picture of what being a new apprentice at your workplace involves.

On-the-job training and internal systems

For many apprentices, this will be their first job, or they might be changing careers. Understanding that apprentices are not expected to be experts when they start and that they need to learn is essential. Also, the systems you use might not be familiar outside of your organisation.

Giving the apprentice the appropriate support and resources is likely to reduce the chance of confusion or stress.

2. For training providers

As the training provider, it is important to make sure the apprentice receives high-quality training.

A few ways to improve the induction experience is:

  • build a relationship with the employer and the apprentice’s mentor or supervisor
  • understand if the apprentice needs any extra help because of a learning difficulty or disability
  • set out the expectations for training and the end-point assessment

Engagement with the employer

Having early communication with the apprentices’ employer ensures a consistent and aligned approach to the apprenticeship training.

Have regular conversations on progress to ensure the off-the-job training is aligned with the on-the-job training.

Off-the-job training

Talking through with the employer and the apprentice how training will be completed helps sets expectations with the employer.

Also, for the apprentice it can help them understand what is needed from them and when they will be doing their training.

You can find out more in our training section.

Workshops for apprentices’ line mangers

Training providers could also run workshops for apprentices’ managers.

During an apprenticeship, it is not uncommon for an apprentice to experience a change of line manager. Also, for line managers this might be their first time managing an apprentice.

Making sure that line managers are aware of the requirements of an apprenticeship is essential. A training programme to ensure that they understand the level of support required for the apprentice is a beneficial way of supporting an apprentice’s development, even when the line manager changes.

3. For apprentices

Starting an apprenticeship can be exciting but also daunting. Don’t worry, this guide will help you understand what to expect when you start your apprenticeship.

Your apprenticeship journey

It is important to find out what the apprenticeship will look like from start to finish. Such as the content, when training is and when the course will finish. It is also important for both the training provider and the employer to advise you about progression routes available after completing your apprenticeship.

Finding your apprenticeship and end-point assessment

Your training provider should talk you through your apprenticeship training and what you need to do for your end-point assessment. Yes, it’s for a long time but we think it’s good to find out early on, so you are prepared. You can find your apprenticeship and end-point assessment on our website.

Your trainers will also talk to you about when your off-the-job training is. This can be organised in lots of ways, for example, one day a week, block release or one week out of five and so on. You can find out about off-the-job training on GOV.UK.

Networking with other apprentices

You are likely to meet other apprentices, either through your training provider or employer. Creating a simple social media group chat can provide access to a larger group of apprentices who can you help if you need it.

Support

Everyone is here to help you.

At the start of your apprenticeship, you will be introduced to your manager and your tutor. It is very easy to get overwhelmed by all the new information but knowing who to speak to for help is crucial.

You can also find out more in our welfare and wellbeing section.