How to Teach an Apprentice (With Essential Skills)

Updated December 10, 2022

There are many techniques that experts can use to teach an apprentice the necessary skills for a particular job. Apprenticeships are an excellent way to gain knowledge about a new job or transition into a highly skilled profession. As teaching an apprentice is a significant commitment, it's critical to understand how to teach one. In this article, we define apprenticeship, discuss how to teach an apprentice, explore the skills you can teach an apprentice, and explain how to help apprentices adapt to change.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a full-time job training program in which an experienced tradesperson mentors individuals interested in learning the trade's skills. Apprenticeships may include classroom instruction and practical instruction to prepare the apprentice for hands-on training. Apprenticeships are typically structured differently than other courses because of the presence of registered apprenticeship programs regulating apprenticeships in various industries.


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How to teach an apprentice

You can follow these steps to learn how to teach an apprentice:

1. Find the right fit

When hiring an apprentice, it's important to ensure that their work ethic and personality are a good fit. Employing an apprentice is a significant undertaking that requires mental preparation. Having an apprentice with vitality and a diligent attitude can benefit a business in three ways:

  • They may quickly adapt to their new role's tasks and expectations.

  • They can help with entry-level duties, allowing senior employees to focus on more involved tasks.

  • .You contribute to the growth of your industry by developing a highly qualified professional

Understanding differences

It's critical to understand your apprentice's learning style so you can develop the most effective teaching method for them. Before you begin, you can ask your apprentice how they prefer to learn. While the purpose of an apprenticeship is to learn on the job, some individuals may benefit more from observation than practical learning. Understanding what motivates your apprentice can increase their chance of successfully completing their training.

2. Apprentice onboarding

Having an onboarding strategy in place can be instrumental in your apprentice's long-term success. Following these steps can help you create an inviting and instructive onboarding process:

  • Make them feel at ease. You can help apprentices feel accepted even before their first day. Simple gestures like sending them business updates or showing them how to use tools can make them feel welcome and increase productivity and motivation.

  • Establish expectations. As part of the onboarding strategy, outline your expectations for work hours, job commitment, and any other site-related issues. It's also a good idea to encourage apprentices to express their own expectations.

  • Outline your work objectives. As your apprentice is new to the profession, it's important to facilitate their transition by making goals clear. You can do this by encouraging them to establish their goals and inquire how you can assist them in accomplishing them.

  • Encourage feedback. If employees feel they have a voice, they may develop a sense of worth and belonging, which can improve motivation and productivity.

3. Your obligations

Appointing an apprentice is often a significant commitment. Listed below are some possible responsibilities:

  • Prioritize their work. To become qualified, an apprentice may have paperwork that supports their on-the-job training. It's your responsibility to determine this in advance and sign off on the paperwork once they have finished.

  • Instruct and inform. As the supervisor, you may be responsible for teaching apprentices the skills they require to obtain certification in your trade. When they complete their apprenticeship, you have fully prepared them to enter the workforce as professionals.

  • Ensure a secure working environment. As soon as they begin, ensure that you educate your apprentice about workplace health and safety policies so that they understand how to stay safe on the job.

  • Monitor workload. It's critical to look after your apprentice and remember that they're new to the job. For example, if extra hours are required, it's important to consider whether this is appropriate for their role as an apprentice. As most apprenticeships have a written component that requires sufficient time to complete, it's important to avoid assigning them an excessive workload.

Skills you can teach apprentices

Soft skills are a set of personality traits formed by habits and are not linked to one job in particular. These skills are in contrast to hard skills, which often describe more technical abilities specific to your role. Here are some of the soft skills you can teach an apprentice:


Communication is critical because it enables the development of professional relationships and networks. It assists in laying the groundwork for a variety of other skills. Communication entails three components: listening, speaking, and writing. Each mode of communication can take many forms:

  • Listening: Apprentices may be required to listen to online training sessions or to a manager during a catch-up meeting. They might also receive new tasks during these meetings.

  • Speaking: Your apprentice may be required to speak in meetings to express their viewpoints and share ideas with others. They may also deliver presentations on a research topic or completed project.

  • Writing: Emails are typically the most common form of writing in a workplace, except with roles that focus on writing or editing text.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples


Organization is one of the most critical soft skills you can teach an apprentice. You can teach your apprentice how to manage a job role in conjunction with other responsibilities. Time management is another critical component of organization, so you may teach apprentices how to create plans with sufficient time to complete each task. You can show how using a planner or calendar may help them monitor their daily activities for both work and study. This may help them stay updated and keep a record of their accomplishments.

Related: What Are Organizational Skills? (With Improvement Tips)


Your apprentice may require teamwork skills to perform their role. Working effectively with individuals who may have differing perspectives or ideas can help your apprentice develop these skills. Teamwork is about ensuring that each member of the group contributes equally. Those who are natural leaders may prefer to guide the team directly, so it's important to teach these apprentices to value each team member and their ideas equally.

Related: Teamwork Skills (With Definition and Examples)


Solving problems is an important skill you can teach your apprentice. As each challenge may require a distinct decision-making process, you can also teach qualities such as perseverance and resilience. Solving a problem in multiple attempts can help your apprentice learn how to improve their methods and gain confidence so they can resolve future issues more effectively.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples


Here are some qualities of an effective leader:

  • inspirational

  • honest and sincere

  • innovative and creative

  • committed and enthusiastic

  • clear communication

The apprenticeship's primary objective is to teach the apprentice new skills, such as leadership, as part of the overall learning and development experience.

How to help apprentices adapt to change

Following these steps may help you teach your apprentice to adapt to change in a new workplace:

1. Demonstrate empathy

Apprentices often look to managers and team leaders for solutions to their problems. They usually seek guidance when they're unsure and feel isolated from organizational decisions they have no control over. As a first step, you can set an example of truthfulness and transparency. Establish communication channels between management and employees. Communicate openly and ask for feedback frequently. You can demonstrate genuine concern for employee welfare by empathizing with their problems and taking steps to solve them. These measures often help resolve their issues quickly and help them speak freely about their concerns.

Miscommunication often results in tense business relationships and can delay project milestones. Try to understand struggling apprentices and help them improve and excel. It's essential to build and develop cordial relationships with apprentices to inspire them to adapt to change and encourage them to fulfill their responsibilities.

Related: How to Build Trust at Work and Improve Team Cohesion

2. Provide proper training

Provide adequate training for apprentices to learn new skills if you have the opportunity and the resources. Allow them to prepare for change by offering courses, mentoring, or educating them about company procedures. Preparation and training can assist them in transitioning into new roles or seeking employment in different fields or organizations.

3. Remain optimistic

Maintain a positive attitude as you work with new apprentices. For instance, you can encourage them to find solutions or new ideas. You can also examine standard operating procedures and policies and rework them or propose alternatives if needed. Do your best to appreciate their efforts as they adjust to the new role. By encouraging apprentices to take initiative, you can assist them in staying focused on what they can do rather than on events over which they have very little control.

4. Observe their behaviour

Focus on improving apprentices' readiness for change. Try to take time to observe and carefully listen to your apprentices. Apprentices may sometimes face issues adjusting to the new workplace, organizational change, and unfamiliar procedures. They may express their distress directly to you, or it may manifest itself through changes in their behaviour or performance. It's essential to observe their behaviour and listen to the communication with their team members. Try to make them feel respected and appreciated to help them work through any issues they encounter.

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