The learning process of an apprenticeship is well-recognised for the apprentice, but it also asks much of the person overseeing that process, and as such the role of mentor is one not to be taken lightly explains Graham Hasting-Evans.

Everyone is talking about apprenticeships and while each party shouts loudly about their own policy with a view to the election, it is encouraging that the future of the programme seems secure with everyone fully committed.

But beyond Westminster, it is also important that employers are confident in apprenticeships — that they can deliver what is needed in terms of the requisite skills and knowledge to boost productivity. This includes confidence in the value of the final qualification, and that it is an accurate assessment of a person’s ability to do the job.

NOCN is one of the awarding organisations involved in designing apprenticeship qualifications and we are a passionate supporter of the programme.

And I understand its value to the UK economy. Proper apprenticeships, which are recognised and supported by employers, are crucial for our future economic success.

Employer support for apprenticeships has to be demonstrated in the workplace. An apprenticeship is an investment in the future success of the business and requires careful nurturing to realise its potential.

The mentor role is vital to the success of the apprentice, but the importance and skills necessary for the mentor as they oversee the apprentice’s progress are quite often over-looked

This is where the work-based mentor comes. The mentor role is vital to the success of the apprentice, but the importance and skills necessary for the mentor as they oversee the apprentice’s progress are quite often over-looked.

The apprentice will spend more time under the supervision and guidance of their mentor than they will with any tutor in a classroom. The mentoring may be informal or structured, it may even be shared between various people, but the mentor needs to fulfil three key roles.

Firstly, the must be a supervisor who controls the work of the apprentice, just like they will when the apprentice is fully qualified.

Secondly, they fulfil the role of teacher — someone to impart knowledge and help the learner apply it for productive output.

And finally, they must act as counsellor to help the young person understand the demands of the world of work.

In this way the mentor guides the apprentice according to the needs of the business, ensuring the standards set by industry are met.

Everyone’s a winner because the apprentice gets expert advice and focused training while the employer gains an employee with exactly the right skills and knowledge.

 

Mr Hasting-Evans will be talking about the structure of apprenticeships and in-work assessment at the FE Week Annual Apprenticeship Conference 2015.

His ten-minute session is on day two (March 10) from 11.20am. See the AAC2015 conference programme here

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