Having an apprentice in your setting is very popular and its never been a better time to hire one given the Government incentives that are in place to support the training and the host employer.
Here’s some things you should bear in mind if you are hiring an apprentice:
- Who can you assign as their buddy, not a line manager but someone who will show them the ‘right ropes’?
- The apprentice needs to have 20% of the time for off the job training. Make sure you create a timetable so this can be achieved.
- Don’t forget they can’t be on apprentice rate of National Minimum Wage unless they have started the NVQ.
- Make sure they work no more than 40 hours, 8 hours a day, and have a break after 4.5 hours if they are under 18 years of age.
- Remember they can’t be on the apprentice NMW rate for more than the first year once they are over 19 years of age.
- Create a training plan so they have time during their apprenticeship across all age groups.
- Build in time for them to shadow other roles such as H&S, SENCO, Deputy Manager etc so they can understand how these roles all work together to make the setting as effective as possible.
- Keep in touch with the assessor (if applicable) so you are all on the ‘same page’.
- Make sure they know what they should do if they are unable to attend college due to sickness absence.
- Find out who within the training provider is responsible for safeguarding.
- Make sure you follow safer recruitment and don’t let someone’s age encourage you to cut corners.
- Make sure that you have a multi stage recruitment process. One interview to build rapport, set them at ease and find out about them as a person, and another to see what they will bring to the role, what their attitude is like and what they want from a career in childcare. Perhaps a practical assessment.
- Make sure your employment documentation is easy to understand by someone who may not have worked before. Be on hand to answer any questions.
- At induction be prepared to explain how to read a payslip and explain about notice periods and how to book leave. Apprentices may not appreciate that their leave has to be authorised in advance in the same way as everyone else.
- When it comes to policies and procedures don’t just leave them to read them alone. Think of how you can turn this into a learning opportunity. Get them to summarise the policy in a graphic, checklist or an image. Great for their NVQ and a great way for the knowledge to be cemented.
- Think about how you can teach them to be professional at work. Your apprentice may not have been taught how to role model behaviour with the children, help them to understand how to do it and do it well.
- Be careful about nights out and social events that are aimed for those 18 years plus and where the younger apprentice can’t take part. Be mindful about staff gifts that include alcohol as well.
- When it come to COVID-19 remember that they weren’t here when you reboarded the staff last June, spend time explaining which protocols in place may be temporary and which may be permanent (i.e. infection control).
- Never assume they understand what you think is common sense. Experience can lead us to assume that ‘everyone knows that!’ the completely opposite may be true of your apprentice. Always take your time to explain something and explain WHY you do it.
- Encourage them to ask questions and to be curious.
- Reinforce whistleblowing and safeguarding at any opportunity. In our experience apprentices can be great eyes and ears!
- Think about how your will encourage and motivate your apprentice. Build feedback into daily management.
We hope that this helps spark ideas for your setting. If we can be of any assistance with any aspect of managing your staff, please let us know.