How to get the most out of your metalworking apprentice
Okay, so you’ve decided to hire an apprentice metalworker rather than a seasoned pro. Good for you!
The pro will always find work, but the new kid on the metalworking block needs a break to get going in the industry. And while your apprentice will be young and green, they'll be super keen and bring with them a bunch of basic skills, not to mention some apprenticeship perks. So here are a few ways to make the most of your new recruit.
The shape of things to come
This is likely to be your metalworking apprentice's first real job, so they'll be both nervous and enthusiastic. Manage the nerves by easing them into the role and keeping expectations realistic and comfortable. Manage the enthusiasm by channelling it positively. Remember, your apprentice is unlikely to be tarnished by prior employment experiences and, as a young worker at the start of their career, they won't yet be set in their ways. You therefore have the enviable opportunity to mould their skills and work habits to suit your business and culture. Acquaint them with the way you operate both professionally and socially from the very beginning.
The road map
Any worker, no matter what their role, works best when they know where they're going and what's expected of them. So make sure they know. Clearly spell out their short term and long term goals and what attaining those goals will mean for the company. It's all very well to say ‘Weld this,' but if they know exactly what they're welding, who for, and what the successful completion of that project will do for the business, they'll feel more engaged and motivated.
Keeping it on the record
If your apprentice is working for you via a reputable training institution, most of the paperwork will be done for you – WorkCover, superannuation, income protection, sick days and so on. All you have to do is oversee all this and make sure their records, progress reports, and legal bits and bobs are up to date.
Making the most of mentoring
Another great plus with employing an apprentice from a proper training institute is that they will likely come to you with their own professional mentor. This highly useful side perk is basically on call to deal with any disputes or work-related problems if you're too busy to deal with such things yourself. Mentors deal with apprentices every day so they're a skilled and knowledgeable ally to have as you guide your new worker on towards greater things.
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