Apprentice Communication and Retention Project

Scroll down to see how to use this video

When the tricks of the trade are second nature to you, it’s sometimes a challenge remember to explain rather than just tell the apprentice to do something.

Most people need to understand the reason behind what they are being asked to do before they will remember to perform a procedure correctly. If your instructions aren’t being followed, then the first question to ask is have I explained why?

Apprentices learn in a variety of ways. Some prefer a hands-on demonstration while others are quite happy with reading a manual or being told verbally. Understanding your apprentice’s preferred learning style is one of the keys to effective learning. Sometimes you will need to explain in a different way to get the message through.

Apprentices sometimes lack the confidence to speak up when they aren’t sure. It is important that supervisors create an environment where every question is a good one and an opportunity to learn.
Using this video

Consider how apprentices are mentored at your workplace and how you would like to be mentored. Points for discussion at a toolbox meeting include:

  • How do you learn? Are you hands-on or academic?
  • Do you know why certain things are done the way they are?
  • Are your instructions always followed? Could you try to explain in a different way?

Ideas and feedback from industry

  • “When being instructed on a task that I haven’t carried out before I know to make sure I understand why it is being carried out in that specific way, so as to remember why it is important to follow the procedures and do the job properly.”
  • “Ask if I need any clarification. It annoys some people, but bad luck.”
  • “Sometimes the qualified guys can forget how the obvious for them is not so obvious for a new apprentice.”