Top Tips to support your learner

A new member joining your team can bring an exciting new outlook of fresh ideas and ambition to your department and with a supportive mentor they can truly flourish. The real question is how do you become the perfect mentor for them? – Here’s some tips!

1. Demonstrate professionalism

From the outset establish your level of authority and maintain professionalism so they can respect you as a mentor not a friend. You will need to gauge the appropriate level of formality depending on the individual as they need to feel comfortable to be able to flag any concerns but not overly relaxed so the begin to slack


2. Get to know them

As we any new member to your team it is important to get to know them, whilst maintaining your professionalism. Open questions are useful to explore their professional/educational background as well as their aims, ambitions and potential concerns.


3. Plan regular reviews

Establishing a routine and structure with your apprentice is essential – this could be their first time in a working environment and guiding them from the beginning is key. If they seem hesitant or unsure It may help to ask for a light presentation once a month on what they’ve been doing or a tracker in excel to spark questions/conversations and naturally feed new task ideas during the reviews.


4. Research your Recruitment Programme

Understand your internal development programme and develop and adapt it where necessary as the roles and responsibilities of the learner evolve. Likewise frame your discussions you have with your trainee around this as much as possible to understand where they are in terms of learning and workload.


5. Expect a few problems

The process isn’t always going to be straightforward. Your learner is likely to make mistakes and have problems both inside and outside of work, it’s what makes us human and we must embrace it and as a mentor sympathise with it. Listen and be attentive to them at times like this to maintain trust and respect on both sides and help in whatever way you can.


6. Give constructive criticism with suggestions for improvement

Another element of the working world is being able to learn and improve ourselves, as a mentor you can help your trainee by giving constructive criticism. It is important to recognise their successes too to help with their confidence and both these points should be discussed during their regular reviews.


7. Ensure their learner journey has freedom

Above all else, an apprenticeship is expected to help a person develop new skills, learn new knowledge and practice behaviours that underpin an enjoyable, effective and productive working

life. So be open to their job description, roles and responsibilities changing to fit the individual and overtime it will help them to fulfil their potential.


8. Set high but achievable standards

Your apprentice will look up to you for guidance, support and to be a good role model. If your own standards are high theirs will be too and this relates to your expectations of them too. Remember to keep them realistic and achievable