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Examine the Evidence

What impact do apprenticeships truly have on employee behaviour, attitudes and organisational performance? Perhaps surprisingly, this is a topic that has been explored relatively little by experts in the field, until now.  

As part of Mitre’s commitment to leading the way in apprenticeship training, our MD Jennie Bowmer undertook an in-depth study into the topic as part of her MBA. She looked at the experiences of apprentices as they make the transition from the classroom to the workplace. Overwhelmingly, the treatment and support apprentices receive from their managers, as well as their work environment have a huge impact on behaviour, attitude and effort. As a result of positive experiences and relationships, the vast majority of apprentices want to continue working for the organisation that trained them in order to repay the trust and investment shown in them. This helps the apprentice transfer into a full time role at the organisation, and ensure the organisation benefits from a well skilled and enthusiastic member of staff.

The study also challenged the stereotypes that are so often reported in the media that ‘Generation Y’ is ‘lazy, easily distracted and disloyal’. Jennie actually found quite the opposite behaviours in apprentices; they were enthusiastic, hard-working and incredibly loyal, with all wanting to continue to work for their employer following their apprenticeship. The findings of the study indicate that a positive working environment and relationship between the employee and employer can really influence the behaviours of a young workforce and overcome any pre-existing generational identities and traits that may exist.

So, the lesson is clear... to best support apprentices and prepare them for the workplace it’s crucial to create the right environment, something that can be achieved by:

  • Treating apprentices like an employee, rather than a student, from the start
  • Setting high expectations and building expectations as they progress
  • Providing understanding support and guidance within the organisation, from both colleagues and managers
  • Creating a sense of challenge, camaraderie and competition for apprentices.

For a more in-depth look at the research undertaken by Mitre and its findings, please do get in touch.

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