In order to understand the apprentice, you need to look at his background; what he brought with him, when he came to you:
Maybe he came directly from school and has never been in a workplace before. It's difficult for him to understand the new expectations, company culture and the workflow.
The youth has to find his place in a heirarchy, follow instructions and take criticism in a way he probably isn't used to.
When there is "trouble brewing" , he lacks the ability to talk about it in an appropriate way.
But not only young people have a hard time expressing feelings and opinions in an appropriate way.
A very different way of relating to conflict situations can be seen among apprentices with very different ethnic and cultural backgrounds :
Maybe they don't want to contradict an authority, so they may nod "yes" to everything, even when they disagree.
Or there may be behaviour that seems aggressive, seen from a more moderate perspective.
In the worst case, a conflict that is handled wrong can make your apprentice drop out!
It's very common that a conflict is experienced differently from the perspective of the apprentice, company trainer or school teacher:The apprentice
experiences problems with the training or rules in the workplace. The company
trainer experiences problems with the apprentice's lack of personal, technical or social competencies.The school teacher
experiences problems with the apprentice's school work or lack of social skills.
All 3 parties will typically wait for the others to take the initiative and responsibility for solving the problem!The apprentice
- to recognize a conflict and the circumstances that influence it
- how the apprentice him/herself is contributing to the conflict
- to express facts, feelings and opinions
- to see things from another side
- to react to criticism in a rational way and to distinguish between the person and the issue, and between a personal conflict or a professional conflict.
- to involve outside help in difficult cases
The trainer is no social worker. But often personal issues are just as important as professional ones and make the basis for the apprentice's well-being in the workplace.
In Germany, a study has been done that shows the following: 70% of the apprentices and companies think that dropout could have been prevented, if the parties had spoken with each other in time!
Source: Westdeutscher Handwerkskammertag, 2006.