#NAW2021 Employer Case Study: Forest of Dean Trust – Top tips for mentoring an apprentice
National Apprenticeship Week 2021
Gloucestershire College is a proud champion of apprenticeships. To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we are showcasing success stories from our amazing apprentices and employers.
Emily Stigant, ICT Manager at Dene Magna School - part of the Forest of Dean Trust, shared with us how she has mentored her marketing apprentice, Charlotte Probert, and explains why apprenticeships are so beneficial to businesses.
Forest of Dean Trust – Top tips for mentoring an apprentice
Why did you decide to recruit a marketing apprentice?
As an organisation, we have always recruited a variety of apprentices and I was specifically involved recruiting our marketing apprentice, Charlotte. The purpose was to help improve our online media presence, specifically in areas relating to social media and our websites. We had some combined expertise in this area from multiple staff in other roles but wanted to unify these skills in one person who could grow with the role, dedicate themselves to the task, and bring new ideas and energy to it.
How has recruiting an apprentice benefited your team?
Charlotte has been able to develop skills for the workplace quickly and efficiently. The organisation has benefited because as she’s grown in her role, so has our online social media presence. What started as one Facebook and Twitter page has grown into multiple channels across a variety of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, all for different schools within the Forest of Dean Trust.
Tell us about how apprentices can progress in your business.
As an organisation, we have always been committed to helping apprentices develop the skills required to help them with future careers, and have focused on helping them reach their maximum potential. We always value their ideas and the enthusiasm they bring to tasks. In particular, Charlotte has developed real-life work skills and has grown to a point where she’s confident managing our social media profiles and websites independently.
How have you been able to continue mentoring and supporting your apprentice during 2020/21, even during lockdown?
I have found that helping our apprentice develop self-organisation and time-management skills by setting goals and making achievable plans, is key to moving forward, whatever the situation.
For instance, a trick we’ve used is blocking out time slots to achieve tasks and goals on a shared calendar. This can also double as a daily to-do list. It means that everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing at any given time wherever they are, and if there’s a gap we fill it. On top of this, regular short check-ins are always good.
Have you got any other top tips for employers about how to mentor apprentices?
Structure and clear guidelines. When an apprentice begins working with you, it’s unusual that they’ll know completely what to do, so to begin with I found it useful to set the goals and clear guidelines emphasising what the focus is.
As Charlotte developed and became more confident, we transitioned away from “here are your goals and tasks”, to Charlotte self-setting her own long and short term goals and independently generating the structure and plans to achieve.
I think this approach helps because it means apprentices can develop a level of independence working within their role.
Would you recommend taking on an apprentice to other Gloucestershire Businesses?
Yes, because it develops those working with the apprentice in coaching, as well as the apprentice. It also brings a different perspective and an infusion of new ideas.
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