Guide to apprentice mentoring

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This guide looks at the value of mentoring an apprentice, the mentor role and responsibilities, and who might make a suitable mentor.

Why this guide is necessary

A guide to apprentice mentoring is a document that provides a structured framework and guidelines for mentors and apprentices to follow during an apprenticeship program. It helps to establish clear expectations, build a strong relationship, create a learning plan, provide feedback, encourage self-reflection, support growth opportunities, and maintain a connection even after the program ends.

The purpose of the guide is to ensure consistency and effectiveness in the apprenticeship program.

  • Establish clear expectations: From the beginning, set clear expectations for both the mentor and the apprentice. This can include the goals of the apprenticeship, the timeline, the roles and responsibilities of both parties, and the desired outcomes.

  • Build a strong relationship: A successful mentoring relationship is built on mutual trust, respect, and communication. Take time to get to know your apprentice, their interests, strengths, and weaknesses. Find common ground and build a connection.

  • Create a learning plan: Work with the apprentice to create a learning plan that outlines what skills they need to acquire, what experiences they should have, and what resources they will need to be successful. Be sure to set measurable goals and regularly review progress.

  • Provide feedback: Feedback is essential for growth and development. Be sure to provide specific, constructive feedback regularly. Celebrate successes and provide guidance on areas for improvement.

  • Encourage self-reflection: Encourage your apprentice to reflect on their experiences, both successes and challenges. Help them identify areas where they can improve and develop a plan to address them.

  • Support growth opportunities: Look for opportunities for your apprentice to learn and grow, both within and outside of the apprenticeship program. Provide resources, connections, and guidance as needed.

  • Stay connected: Stay in regular communication with your apprentice, even after the program ends. Maintain a connection and provide ongoing support as they continue to grow and develop in their career.

Remember that every mentoring relationship is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Be flexible and adapt to the needs of your apprentice as you work together towards their development and growth.

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Time to read / prep / use
10 mins
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666 words, 2 pages A4
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Date last reviewed
1 July 2024
guide to apprentice mentoring

Guide to apprentice mentoring

The purpose of mentoring

Mentoring is an important part of an apprenticeship and can provide much needed additional support to an apprentice.

It helps them understand their role in the organisation, develop their career path, and provide a listening ear if they’re facing any problems and challenges.

Mentoring helps people to learn and develop. Mentoring therefore has the potential to make a valuable contribution to apprentices in terms of their personal and professional development and to the overall development of the organisation.

Benefits for the apprentice can include:

  • Increased confidence/self-esteem.

  • Increased sense of value within the organisation.

  • Additional help and support.

  • Safe learning environment (can be open about vulnerabilities).

  • Increased understanding of the organisation.

  • Focus on specific skills through coaching from the mentor.

  • Ideas about career opportunities.

The benefits are not all one way. Mentors too can gain a sense of value within the organisation as well as satisfaction from passing on their skills and wisdom; also, greater understanding of the organisation and its issues and problems, as well as improving one-to-one communication skills, coaching skills and management skills.

Role of a mentor

Mentoring is particularly important for apprentices as they are often young people entering the workplace for the first time. The mentor relationship provides additional support, guidance and pastoral care, which is outside the more formal line management relationship.

Mentors can help a new apprentice orientate into the workplace, provide information, advice and guidance relating to the learning and training aspects of the apprenticeship, and work with the apprentice to ensure that problems are resolved quickly and do not threaten the apprenticeship.

The mentor is not there to replace the apprentice's line manager, instead they will provide an additional supportive resource.

The role of the mentor can encompass any or all of the following depending on the specific needs of the apprentice:

  • act as a sounding board.

  • listen and challenge.

  • question.

  • provide professional and personal support.

  • encourage independent thinking.

  • keep to boundaries and principles - mentoring is not therapy.

  • encourage the apprentice to come up with their own solutions to problems.

  • coach the apprentice to make the most of their talents.

  • build the apprentices self confidence.

  • act as a role model.

  • be someone to talk to outside the line management structure.

  • offer insights into the culture and values of the organisation.

  • share their experience and expertise.

  • give feedback.

  • provide advice where possible.

Responsibilities of an apprentice

Apprentice responsibilities include:

  • Driving the relationship; scheduling time to meet with the mentor and maintaining an up-to-date record of their plan and progress.

  • Working proactively with the mentor to assess their areas of strength, development areas, career goals and personal objectives and expectations of the mentoring relationship.

  • Taking ownership for their own development and committing to the exchange of information including ideas, development themes, actions, feedback.

  • Following through on actions discussed with the mentor, gathering feedback, and sharing personal learning.

  • Respecting the mentor's experience, ideas, guidance, and time.

  • Interested in skills building and goal setting, and a keen willingness to step out of their own comfort zone.

  • Committed to the process and willing to learn from all formal development activities.

Who Would Make a Good Mentor?

A mentor should be someone from outside the apprentice's reporting hierarchy at work. It is also essential that issues between mentor and mentee are confidential. A mentor should be an experienced member of staff who has the following mentoring skills:

  • active listening.

  • questioning.

  • building rapport.

  • offering constructive feedback.

  • setting targets.

  • offering support and guidance.

  • signposting.

  • acting as a role model.

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