Expectations of supervisors
When taking on an apprentice or trainee, the employer is agreeing to train them in the skills they need to become qualified. This means they need someone to supervise the apprentice or trainee, to show them how to perform tasks to the standard needed and to guide them to achieve that standard.
The supervisor will need skills and experience in the occupation to be able to train the apprentice or trainee, and there may be limits on the numbers of apprentices and trainees that can be supervised by one person. The supervisor will need time dedicated to supervising the apprentice or trainee in their work and training.
Taking the time to supervise and manage the Australian Apprentice
The employer will need to make sure the supervisor of an apprentice or trainee is able to spend time working with the Australian Apprentice. As part of this time spent with the apprentice or trainee, the supervisor should:
- demonstrate skills and explain how to perform them
- watch the apprentice or trainee practice skills and correct them if needed
- monitor progress against the formal training undertaken by the apprentice or trainee
- help the apprentice and trainee work with other staff or clients
- provide feedback across the work and training of the Australian Apprentice.
In some industries the apprentice or trainee will not be able to work independently while they are developing skills and will need close supervision. As their skills develop they may be able to work more independently.
If you are unsure about how supervision may work in your industry, you should talk with an industry organisation or Registered Training Organisation that delivers the relevant qualification.
Have you considered mentoring?
Mentoring is about recognising the importance of developing both the skills and the character of employees including apprentices and trainees. It is about taking the time to coach them on the job and take an interest in their formal training and personal development.
The mentor does not need to be the same person as the supervisor, they could be another experienced staff member, or even a more experienced apprentice or trainee. Someone who has gone through a similar apprenticeship or traineeship could be a good mentor, in conjunction with the supervisor.
Businesses that put resources into mentoring their apprentices and trainees achieve a much higher completion rate. Larger companies may employ people especially for that purpose, but there are resources available to help small business improve their own mentoring practices or tap into external support.
Mentors also need to be aware of how an apprentice or trainee is being treated by other workers. Making sure that all staff are treated well and treat others well, that there is no bullying, especially of new staff and that there are opportunities to discuss situations will assist in creating a happy work place.