Depending on the type of apprenticeship being undertaken the phrase ‘day release’ and all it encompasses has been a consistent bone of contention between apprentices, employers and apprenticeship providers.
As well as valuable technical knowledge, ‘off the job’ education and training can also offer a great deal to enhance the overall experience and quality of an apprenticeship programme and the apprentice themselves
The delivery of personal development activities and vital ‘underpinning knowledge’ can really help apprentices make sense of the world of work and all that it requires to be successful, productive and add real value in the workplace.
A vast amount of this underpinning knowledge and experience is gained by apprentices attending and pro-actively engaging with The Apprentice Academy’s monthly programme of personal development sessions and accelerated development workshops.
I have been involved in training young people and apprentices in workplace skills for 24 years, and I strongly believe that these designated development days is as important as the work experience gained directly with the employer.
The workshops enable apprentices to link practical experience gained working in an organisation, with the fundamental principles which justify the relevant hands on delivery.
Irrespective of the positive impact in performance and productivity, attending these sessions at The Academy is mandatory.
It has been proven time and time again from the outset that the successful achievement of both the qualification and overall completion of the apprenticeship is as a result of the combination of both in-company support and the opportunities presented for learning and development.
In between the monthly development sessions, I encourage apprentices to read and digest all the information shared with them as well as making notes and recording any significant work activity which would contribute to the successful achievement of their apprenticeship.
It’s worth highlighting that apprentices who have effectively completed their assignment work and live work activity have found it much easier to successfully reach the standards required to achieve their learning goals.
I also actively encourage apprentices to share outputs and project-based information from development sessions with their supervisors and managers. This sharing bridges the gap between practical work tasks and underpinning support activities. Furthermore, managers and colleagues who proactively support this process report a significant improvement in communication and understanding of the challenges faced by their apprentice.
When sharing and reviewing this information, I do urge you to be constructive and supportive, and be prepared to spend time helping the apprentice update or adapt any work which needs to be changed.
The modern workplace is a place of collaboration, challenge and support. In my experience, apprentices who experience additional development opportunities that allow them to stretch their capabilities and deliver value to their employers, have gone on to build successful careers and are best placed to support the next generation of promising apprentices.
About Alex Martin
Alex Martin has over 24 years’ experience delivering results-focused, practical and enjoyable learning and development programmes to employers and apprentices. He has run events for major household brands including Iceland Foods, Co-op Group, Serco, BUPA, Sellafield Ltd, BAE Systems, Booker Cash & Carry, Lloyds Pharmacy and moneysupermarket.com.