Hiring an apprentice: tips from an apprentice employer

Businesses across all sectors are seeing the benefits of apprenticeships. As they continue to grow in popularity in professions which don’t traditionally take on apprentices, managers face further challenges in choosing and retaining the right people for their company.

Mike Thompson, head of employability programmes, at Barclays RBB, says that hiring an apprentice is different from hiring regular staff.

He says: “While they tend to be incredibly motivated and innovative, our candidates have no previous work experience to draw from, so they require help in grounding some of the basics. We run a four-week programme before they start their role which provides training on things such as workplace etiquette, dress code and timekeeping, to help them transition from education into the workplace. Our managers had to adapt to a slightly different way of handling an apprentice, but have done so quickly.”

The interview process is also different to ensure the right apprentice is chosen. He adds: “We’ve had to adapt our interview process to ensure that we get the type of young people we need. Traditionally interviews are designed to determine competence based on experience. With apprentice candidates this isn’t always possible, so we look to assess their aptitude and what motivates them instead. A big factor in hiring young people into a business is that they can bring a new perspective and drive innovation for a business, so we look to find candidates that we think will be able to do this.”