Module 4b - Operation and training

 Company tasks
What are the different professions and tasks that exist in your company?

Which tasks are suitable for training an apprentice, depending on how far along the apprentice is in his/her training programme?
Some jobs can give the apprentice experience in planning and carrying out tasks independently.  For other tasks, the apprentice will need instruction, supervision and repetition while doing the work. Consider:
  • What can the apprentice learn from the different types of tasks? 
  • Which types of tasks are done regularly? 
  • Is the apprentice accompanied by different skilled workers, or just one? 
  • What are the apprentice's prior skills, what can he/she contribute?
 Tasks suitable for apprentices
As a trainer, you need to have an eye for which tasks fulfil the apprentice's workplace training objectives.

Or in other words: You need to be able to identify training objectives in the different tasks that are a part of the operation of the company.

Jobs that include elements from the apprentice's prior school or training periods will often be suitable tasks he/she can do independently.

These are tasks that can be done routinely by the apprentice, and for which he/she won't need help.

As a trainer, you still have to check the results and give feedback. It's important for the apprentice to know whether the task is done satisfactorily or not, and why.
 Assignment of tasks
The following questions are crucial for a trainer:
  • Which tasks are relevant for the apprentice? 
  • What are suitable challenges for him/her? 
  • Should the apprentice work on the task alone? 
  • Or should he/she work with a skilled worker or other apprentices?
How do you select tasks? In principle, there are two possibilities:
  1. You can choose a task according to what the apprentice needs to learn 
  2. You can analyse what the apprentice can learn from a given task.

Whatever you choose, the operational task should relate to training goals!

The apprentice should be supported in performing tasks that are relevant for his/her training. It's best if the apprentice's tasks alternate between:

  • Things he/she can do but needs more experience in and
  • Things he/she can´t do and needs to learn.

There is a dilemma relating to customers in letting a "not-yet-competent" person do the work. Who will pay for possible errors and poor quality? Which price? Etc.

Therefore, it is very important that the tasks provide suitable challenges that fit the apprentice's skills. It is the trainer's job to clarify and safeguard this in each work situation!

 Work facilities for the apprentice
Employees need room, practical facilities and tools. The same is true for apprentices.

The apprentice's work may require a desk, computer, tools, a changing room, mobile phone, and possibly a machine or a car, etc.? Consider:
  • Where will the apprentice's "work station" be? 
  • Is it equipped for professional use? 
  • Has the apprentice been issued enough tools or other things to be able to do his/her work? 
  • Does the apprentice know how to obtain more materials, tools or other things he/she may need?
 Prior skills of the apprentice
As a trainer you may find out that the apprentice knows more than you thought.

You may also find that the apprentice knows how to do something that is needed in the workplace, but doesn't have anything to do with the training programme. For example:
  • Maybe the apprentice can speak a foreign language that can be used with a supplier? 
  • Maybe he/she has computer skills and can help with a database?
Be curious about getting to know the apprentice better: observe and ask about his/her interests!

Can you use the apprentice's other competencies to your advantage in the company's work?
 Company-related tasks in school
Finding the right apprentice for your company can be difficult. It can also be difficult for students to decide about their future professions.  Internships or other cooperation programmes with schools are two successful models for solving these problems
Example Internship
In an internship programme, students get to know more about a company and a profession by experiencing a company’s working routine for a certain time. They usually have to hand in an internship report and a project they have been working on.

Example: Cooperation programme
Some schools want to teach their students not only knowledge, but also practical skills. Cooperation programmes run on a regular basis, with either one of your trainers offering additional courses at a school or students working at your facilities.

These programmes are an attractive possibility to find suitable future apprentices and they offer opportunities for students with poor academic prerequisites but with practical talents.

But be cautious when you select projects for the schools: The schools aren't allowed to do projects under anti-competitive conditions. The teachers can advise you on this, in case of doubt.

4 - The trainer