Steps and tips: Preparing staff to train and mentor apprentices
The competent authority or the entity responsible for apprenticeships may undertake the following:
- Establish a staff development strategy, in collaboration with all stakeholders, for practitioners associated with apprenticeships. The strategy may focus on both initial training and continuing training and may use a combination of approaches, such as training programmes, online learning tools, a community of practice, social media groups and self-learning multimedia packages. This strategy should also clarify the funding mechanism for staff development.
- Develop apprenticeship guidelines for key staff, in particular for the staff of enterprises (trainers and human resources officers), staff of TVET providers (teachers and managers) and staff of intermediaries.
- Coordinate and design training programmes and learning materials together with specialized teacher training institutions.
- Document successful case studies on staff development. Promote role models to motivate staff, particularly those who are working in enterprises.
- Organize training programmes for staff.
- Facilitate the development of a community of practice and other social media groups, promoting the use of webinars, blogs and e-forums.
- Assign teachers from TVET providers to enterprises to update their understanding of the skills requirements of the different occupations and to gain first-hand experience of the apprentices’ learning environment.
- Allocate trainers from enterprises to TVET providers to collaborate with teachers and to train apprentices.
- Collect and use feedback from staff to improve the strategy and capacity of training programmes.
- Employers must be convinced that having in-CTs in their workforce will yield a number of benefits, including the ability to use them for the professional development of all incumbent staff, in addition to apprentices.
- Skilled workers and supervisors may already be overwhelmed with work responsibilities, and consider the task of providing training to apprentices as an additional burden. Therefore, enterprises should offer incentives to become trainers, which could take the form of an advantage in career progression, recognition and reward for their services, and/or financial incentives and support for obtaining certified trainer qualifications.
- To attract and retain competent teachers who also have experience of working in the industry, it is vital that their salary and career progression should be commensurate with those with similar qualifications and experience working in the industry. TVET providers should also offer attractive opportunities for industry professionals to work as teachers on a part-time basis.