How to make the most of an apprentice at your social enterprise

Apprenticeships offer excellent opportunities for young people to train on the job, as well as giving social enterprises access to the next generation of motivated young entrepreneurs.

If your social enterprise is considering taking on an apprentice, you’ll need to maximise the opportunities on both sides to help you and your new team member benefit from the time they get to spend with you.

Most apprentices are willing to work hard to learn as much as they can and are a valuable asset to social enterprises.

Here’s how to make the most of yours:

Inspire and motivate them

You may be passionate about your social enterprise, but you need to be able to share your excitement with any apprentices you bring on board.

A young adult who is still figuring out their course in life may be easily distracted if they don’t feel inspired by the company for whom they’re working.

Share your knowledge and passion and teach them all aspects of your enterprise to help the apprentice understand why they’re doing the tasks you ask of them. This will ensure they never feel like they’re just being used as “cheap labour”.

Consider their individuality

Every person involved in your social enterprise is unique, and of course, your apprentice will be, too.

Communicate with your apprentices in a way that they will relate to and find a way to educate them at their own pace.

The development of their skills and aspirations will be a personal journey and one that will be different for every apprentice you engage with. Working with young people is far more successful if you can develop a personalised approach.

Remember that every interaction is important

Simply setting your apprentice up with a task and leaving them to it is not an effective way to help them learn or make the most of their skills.

Young professionals are at their best when interacting with their peers – both online and in real life, so you’ll need to keep the lines of communication open at all times.

Let them make mistakes

We’ve all made in mistakes, and hopefully, somewhere along the line, we have all learnt from them.

Young apprentices will fall along the way – that’s a certainty. But it’s your responsibility to pick them up and set them back on the right track.

Find the right balance of guidance and management

Bringing an apprentice into your social enterprise can sometimes feel a bit like taking a new child under your wing. Finding the right balance between educating them and offering some form of pastoral care and guidance, can therefore be tricky.

Every member of your team needs to pull their weight to allow your enterprise to flourish, and those that don’t will hold you back. Offer your apprentice plenty of scope to learn at their own pace but be wary of those who simply aren’t trying to make a difference in the long run.

Apprenticeships are one of the greatest things we have access to in modern business. Go and find yours and use our tips above to ensure they flourish at your social enterprise. You never know – you may just find a long-term employee, too!