Starting an apprenticeship is a big step – it’s exciting, but you’ll probably feel a bit nervous too. You’re stepping into the unknown and not only learning your trade but also discovering the world of work at the same time. Preparing adequately before you start will give you a greater sense of confidence and control. Here are our top tips to help you get off on the right foot….
Get all the information
Before you start your apprenticeship, it’s important to gather all the relevant information, so you know what’s expected of you and can prepare adequately. You will feel more confident and in control on your first day when you have taken the time and effort to prepare beforehand. Here’s some important things to consider:
- What are your working hours?
- Is there a uniform or dress code?
- Have you planned your journey to ensure you arrive on time?
- What will happen on your first day – who should you ask for and where should you go when you arrive?
- Do you need to attend college for training on certain days?
If you haven’t been given all the information, don’t be afraid to contact your employer and ask questions. Asking questions demonstrates that you are taking responsibility and care about making a good impression.
Once you feel sure you have all the relevant information, you can prepare for your first day. Plan your journey in advance so you can be sure you will arrive on time. You can use Google Maps to plan your journey according to the travel method you will be using. This will provide you with all the information about train and bus times or the approximate time it will take to travel by car or on foot.
Make sure you plan your journey to arrive a little early. A good tip if you are using public transport is to choose the train or bus before the very last one that would get you there on time. This will give you extra time should any delays occur.
It’s a good idea to prepare your outfit, lunch and equipment the night before, so you don’t have to rush around in the morning. Make sure you set an alarm, so you don’t oversleep. Get to bed early, so you are well-rested and have plenty of energy for work and study.
Get organised and plan ahead with a schedule
Now that you’re starting an apprenticeship, you will have multiple obligations and demands on your time. Not only are you an employee, but also a student. This means that, in addition to your work commitments, you will likely have a combination of coursework, observations, assessments and time spent in college. All apprentices must work towards their qualification but how this is done varies depending on the training provider, subjects and level of study.
Create a schedule from the start so you can be clear about what needs to be done and when. This will help you organise your time, feel in control and keep on top of everything. Otherwise, you may quickly become overwhelmed or unsure about what is required of you.
Use a calendar on your computer or phone to plan your time and schedule in important deadlines. Consider the following:
- When are your working days and hours?
- When do you have one-to-one meetings (perhaps with line managers, training providers or workplace mentors)?
- Do you have to attend any classes and, if so, when?
- Do you have observations?
- When are your assignments due?
- Do you have exams?
Once you have all the important dates scheduled into your calendar, you can plan your personal life around these. It’s essential to have a good work-life balance and make time for hobbies, rest and socialising. Knowing all your important dates can help you plan these activities in a way that supports your success. For example, you may want to avoid parties on the week your assignment is due but plan to celebrate once it’s complete.
Start how you mean to go on by preparing in advance for your apprenticeship. Following these tips will help you feel confident on your first day and stay in control of your workload. Since everything is new and you are learning, you will likely have plenty of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues and managers if you are unsure about things, as this is how you’ll learn. They are there to support your apprenticeship journey and ensure it’s a positive one. We wish you every success in your apprenticeship journey!
The Oxford College of Apprenticeships is a main provider apprenticeship training in the UK. If you would like to discuss your apprenticeship training needs with us in more depth, we would love to hear from you. You can call us on 01865 515 255, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in a contact form.