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Jason Holt

Holts Group

Chief Executive

Read more about Jason Holt

In a Nutshell: Five considerations when taking on an apprentice


Jason Holt, who set up Holts Academy, which pioneered formal qualifications and an approved apprenticeship scheme for the jewellery industry, recently published the results of his government-commissioned review into ‘Making Apprenticeships more Accessible to SMEs’. 

Based on his experiences, Holt offers advice to HRZone’s community on how employers can ensure that they get the best out of their apprenticeship programmes:
1. Manage expectations from day one
Be honest with yourself about your own motivations for taking on an apprentice. Do you want to give a young person the chance to develop trade and professional skills so that they can play a key role in your business? Or do you see it more as a short-term arrangement that won’t necessarily lead to a job?
Apprenticeships tend to work best in the first scenario but, in either case, ensure that you are clear with the apprentice upfront as to how you see their role. 
2. Define the role
Think about exactly what your apprentice will be doing on a day-to-day basis. Both parties will get more out of the arrangement if there is a clear role for the young person that you are taking on. 
Identify the tasks that they will be in a position to perform in the early days and what they might be able to do a few months down the line when they have some basic training under their belt.
3. Find the right training provider
Your training provider will play a critical role in the success of your apprenticeship programme so make sure that you find one who understands your needs and is able to work in partnership with you. 
A good provider will help you deal with the necessary paperwork and will work alongside you to develop a training programme that fits with your business. (Details about training providers and how to find them are available via
4. Set your apprentice up for success
Provide your apprentice with a proper induction and don’t expect too much of them in the early days – it may well be their first experience of the world of work. 
Set up a schedule for their training, review it regularly and provide regular, constructive feedback on how they’re doing. It’s also a good idea to offer them a mentor or key point of contact in the business so that they have someone to go to if they need help or have any issues or concerns.
5. Plan for the future
It’s never too early to start planning for the continuing development of your apprentice to try and ensure that they play an increasing role in the business. As their training progresses, think about how you could increase their levels of responsibility and get them involved in other aspects of the business. 
Give them the opportunity to learn things outside of their formal training programme by giving them stretch projects or taking them with you to industry conferences, exhibitions and networking events.
Copies of ‘Making Apprenticeships Work in SMEs: The Holts Academy Guide to Best Practice’ are available free of charge from [email protected] or can be downloaded here.
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Jason Holt

Chief Executive

Read more from Jason Holt

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