How to help your apprentice thrive

Try and find apprentices who have a genuine passion for your industry then do all you can to nourish both them and their passion

Setting up an apprentice scheme isn't just good news for your business – it's great for Australia's workforce. By teaching people much-needed skills, you're giving your industry a better talent pool to work with in the future.

That's not to say there are no short-term benefits. From increasing productivity to motivating your team and boosting your bottom line, apprentices can be a real boon for your business. Help your apprentice thrive during their time with you and cash in the rewards.

Assign suitable mentors

Always match your apprentice to the right kind of mentor. You might not be working with Celebrity Apprentice Australia-style divas, but you do want to be confident that the teams you assign will be able to work and learn together.

Don't skimp on safety training

Always be aware of the training – or lack of training – your apprentice will have had. Start with the safety basics and be prepared to send your apprentice on more internal and external safety training courses than you might for a regular employee who has already received basic training.

Harness their enthusiasm

One of the best things about apprentices is the fact that most come to you bursting with enthusiasm. Keep this going by always looking for ways to motivate. Create a training plan with clear progression and reward work done well.

Help them fit in

Starting as an apprentice can be pretty nerve-wracking, especially for someone who's never been in a working environment before. Smooth the way by making sure all of your staff are well-prepared and ready to welcome as well as guide your newcomer.

Be an authority figure, but encourage fun

Keep spirits high by introducing a little fun into the working day, but don't forget who's boss. To help your apprentice grow, they need to respect you as well as enjoy working for you.

Choose the right apprentice

To really help your apprentice thrive, make sure you choose the right one for the job. Celebrity chef Neil Perry actually started his career as a hairdressing apprentice before realising his true calling and dropping out in favour of restaurant work. Try and find apprentices who have a genuine passion for your industry then do all you can to nourish both them and their passion.

For help finding the right kind of candidates, get in touch with your local TAFE and make connections with eager students.