Successful apprenticeships require commitment from all concerned. Senior management, department managers, supervisors, mentors and apprentices must all be doing their part. Careful planning with a long-term view went into the development of NEDA’s apprenticeship program. A tremendous amount of work occurred before the first mentor and apprentice were matched together. That said, the relationship between the mentor and apprentice is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle. Simply put mentors are the key to successful apprenticeship programs! They are the conduit for the transfer of “industry” knowledge from well qualified master and journeyman to the apprentices.
Mentors Are Key to Successful Apprenticeships
In his train-the-trainer program Stuart Bass of the Keystone Development Partnership talks about mentors an apprentices in detail. He tells us that each participant must understand their role and be committed to ensuring the apprentice has the resources necessary to attain the skills required to succeed. The key to an effective apprenticeship is the role of the experienced employee as a teacher or coach for the new hire.
It is shown that most skill learning occurs during the “On-the-Job-Learning” (OJL) or “hands-on” learning sessions. This may happen before or after “classroom” instruction, but the “hands-on” approach to teaching gives the new hire or apprentice a chance to apply lessons learned. Mentoring in the form of a casual relationship has existed ever since older, experienced skilled workers showed new hires how to do the job right.
A formal apprenticeship/mentoring program brings a structured framework to the relationship, that relationship is the foundation for our apprenticeship program. In many respects, mentoring has been around as long as there has been a need to pass on practical knowledge from the expert who mastered the skills or craft to the student.
Mentors Are Role Models for Future Generations
As a mentor, you are vital to ensure that the next generation of workers maintain the skill level, work ethic, and professionalism that you offer as a role model. You are not alone in this mission. You are part of a team that supports the mentoring relationship. The apprenticeship relies on the mentor to provide thoughtful supervision and coaching. The mentor helps the apprentice develop good work habits to develop productive skills.
Successful mentoring produces many benefits from the relationships. This includes safety, stronger team-work, improved quality and quantity of work, less waste, lower turnover, and more efficient work habits. As a mentor, you make this happen.
NEDA is committed to supporting our mentors, our long-term plans include mentorship training, related education and professional development opportunities. Please check back often to see what we’ve added, access professional development training and more!
Questions? Need More information?
If you have questions or would like more information about how you can become a mentor, please contact us.