6b - Behaviour

 Inappropriate behaviour
To ensure a good working climate it is necessary to set limits. Even for the apprentices. It is necessary to let apprentices know what desirable, appropriate or inappropriate behaviour is.

Define desirable and appropriate behaviour, but also inappropriate behaviour.

Inappropriate behaviour can be:
  • Verbal harassment, such as name-calling regarding a physical attribute (size, weight, wearing glasses)
  • Gossip, such as spreading rumours about a person
  • Unwanted physical contact
Do not forget that inappropriate behaviour can lead to safety problems. Let the apprentices know about inappropriate behaviour and its consequences.

These forms of inappropriate behaviour can certainly be considered serious:
  • Criminality
    The criminal act can be theft, harassment, beating, etc. You need to realize that you do not have the authority to legally deal with criminal behaviour. In the case of crime, call the police and ask for help.
  • Drugs
    Drugs are unfortunately becoming more and more of a problem in youth culture. There can be problems regarding drug addiction or drug dealing. If you experience such a problem, you need to find help.

Information about drugs can be found on the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction’s web page.

 Ready for training

Before the apprentices start working in your company, explain to them how to get ready for the job. Perhaps you have a certain set of rules that have to be followed and completed before starting work (putting on security garments, hand-washing etc).

Make sure that your apprentices are aware of such rules. In the beginning, someone should supervise them to make sure that these rules are followed.

 Care and limits for care

Make sure that your apprentices are comfortable, but don't overdo it. State clearly where and when the apprentices can expect help from co-workers and what they are expected to do independently.

Order and neatness is often a problem for the younger generation. Observe them preparing for or doing a task, try to prevent them from being late for work and help them to keep deadlines for finishing tasks. Explain to the apprentice the consequences of being late for work, for themselves, as well as for the company. Try to encourage their sense of responsibility.

 Being over-protected

The apprentices, who come into your company, may still be rather dependent on help from adults. These adults are, in most cases, their mothers and fathers. On the other hand, they probably want to be independent, regardless of the fact that they are not.

Try to find the right balance between supervising and guiding. But most of all, don't expect independent and responsible workers from the start. We are not made all alike and this goes for apprentices as well. Try to adapt to the individual.


 Cooperation with schools and stakeholders

When you work with young people, it is a great help to cooperate with the schools. You can speak with the teacher responsible for practical training; or a social worker or school psychologist might be the right person to contact. 


6 - The apprentice's background