How to get the best out of apprenticeships
Choose the right apprenticeship
It's one of the most important decisions you'll make choosing an apprenticeship and getting it right will kickstart your career, as you need to find a career sector you are interested in, because if you choose something you’re not interested in you won’t want to continue. There are many different sectors that you could look into such as Digital, Tech, finTech, Sports, TV, Healthcare and Manufacturing, to name a few. A great place to start looking for apprenticeships is the Find an apprenticeship site.
Once you’re accepted onto an apprenticeship, give yourself a head start. Find out all the information you can from your training provider, do some research on the employer and the training company and what it is they do, where are they based etc. Do some research on the company, look through their website and social medias to get a good idea of who the team is, as these will be the people you will be working with throughout your apprenticeship!
Know what you’re getting into
Make sure you have a good understanding of what your employer and manager expect from you to avoid disappointment. Ask them whether you can speak to other apprentices before you start.
Make a good example
Make sure to give a good first impression; be yourself and be approachable and welcome yourself to your team, start as you mean to go on to try to show your employer they made the right choice.
No one expects you to know everything. Not sure how to do something? Just ask! Better to feel silly for an instant than to have a hole in your knowledge forever. We’re all learning, all the time, no question is too silly. Also, your manager would love you to ask lots of questions as it makes you seem more interested.
Your colleagues and mentors are there to help you, but you’ll help yourself if you listen to instructions and take their advice on board. Your opinion matters, but so does their experience.
You don’t need a day-by-day plan for your apprenticeship, but it’s good to know what you want to get out of it. Think about the skills you want to develop or the things you want to achieve and tell people about them so that they can help you.
Organise your timetable
Juggling work and study can be tricky, so if you work out a timetable you can make that a lot easier. There will be lots of apps available to use, or even outlook calendars, that way you know what you need to be doing, and when.
You’re going to be part of a team of one kind or another. Be a team player; offer to help, be friendly and polite, and don’t complain when it’s your turn to make the tea. If you have ideas, share them with your mentor and colleagues, fresh points of view can be helpful, also sets a good example to your team as they’d think you’re willing to get involved.
Be an effective communicator
Have an open ear and be a good communicator, as this is one thing they will be looking for. Take the time to not only talk with the other apprentices but be a good listener too.
Track your progress
Monitor your skills, knowledge and ambition from the beginning of the apprenticeship through to completion. Track any correlations and offer further advice or training where necessary.
Set Goals and Objectives
Be clear on your expectations. You may know what you expect from yourself, but unless it’s made clear, it is very unlikely they will guess what is expected of them.
Be honest and enthusiastic
The right attitude can carry you a long way. If you haven’t understood something or you’ve made a mistake, just say so; you’re there to learn. Being keen and helpful will get you noticed and help you go far in any job.
Treat it as a job
One of the best bits of advice I got was to treat your apprenticeship as if it’s a job, and that’s exactly what I did! This way you’ll have a better experience going ahead and with that mindset it really helps going forward.
Make sure you learn from the experience
Experience is so important, taking on an apprenticeship will be a learning curve for you and your business too. You need to take time out to reflect on what you have learnt from the process and what you might do differently in future.
End on a high
At the end of your apprenticeship, leave on good terms with everyone and make sure you get their contact details. Whatever profession you’re in, it’s handy to know people and have a good reputation, for the future as they might want to employ you to work for their company, if you did well then, they’d want to keep you on, most apprenticeship companies will try to keep you on if you manage to succeed and remember, there’s a very good chance your apprenticeship employer will hire you permanently; especially if you’ve followed my tips!
Aaron Johnson, Cohort 33, Junior Content Producer Apprentice at AVM Solutions