Line Managers And Mentors - Questions To Ask Your Apprentice

By Oliver Hill

When a line manager or mentor is overseeing an apprentice's progress, they play a crucial role in ensuring the apprentice receives the necessary support and guidance to succeed. Asking the right questions can help identify any areas where the apprentice may need additional assistance and can also provide valuable feedback on the effectiveness of the apprenticeship programme.

Here are some suggested questions along with the rationale for each that can support you, as a Line Manager in supporting your apprentice and getting maximum impact from the programme for both your learner and the department:


Q: "How do you find the balance between your work responsibilities and your apprenticeship course work?"

Rationale: This question helps assess whether the apprentice is managing their time effectively and identifies if they need support with workload management. You may also identify that their allotted time off for study is being hampered by external factors ana a review of this is needed to ensure the learner stays on track to achieve timely.


Q: "Can you share something you've learned from the programme that you've successfully applied in your work?"

Rationale: This encourages the apprentice to reflect on practical applications of their learning, reinforcing the connection between theory and practice.


Q: "Are there any topics or skills that you've found particularly challenging?"

Rationale: This can pinpoint areas where the apprentice might need extra tutoring or support. This can then be communicated as part of progress reviews with the skills and development coach and a plan of action can be put in place to support development of this topic or skill either by Dynamic Training or internally by the employer.


Q: “How are you progressing in your functional skills component of your apprenticeship, and do you feel the support provided is aligning with your development needs?"

Rationale: This question is critical as functional skills in English and Maths are key competencies that support an apprentice's overall learning and performance in the workplace. Understanding the apprentice's progress in these areas can highlight whether the current level of support and instruction is sufficient or if adjustments are needed. It also ensures that any challenges are identified early on, allowing for timely intervention and additional support, if necessary. Without achievement of Functional skills, learners cannot achieve their apprenticeship programme (unless exempt and proof of this).


Q: "What kind of support do you receive from your workplace colleagues?"

Rationale: A supportive work environment is critical for apprentice success; this question gauges the level of support and camaraderie within the team. Lack so support may indicate that assigning a workplace mentor could help instilling learner knowledge, skills and behaviours in the workplace. 


Q: "Do you feel comfortable reaching out to your mentor or manager when you encounter difficulties?"

Rationale: Open lines of communication are vital; this question checks if the apprentice feels they have a go-to person for issues.


Q: "Are there any additional tools or resources that you feel would enhance your learning experience?"

Rationale:This can reveal gaps in resources and provide insight into how to better equip the apprentice for success.


Q: "How well do you think the apprenticeship programme is preparing you for your future career goals?"

Rationale: This helps assess the programme's effectiveness in terms of career development and whether it aligns with the apprentice's aspirations. If you feel that this is not obvious in terms of progression speak to Dynamics Skills Development coach who can support with ensuring career development is aligned through short, medium and long term planning with the learner and yourself.


Q: "What has been your most rewarding experience in the apprenticeship so far?"

Rationale: Understanding what the apprentice finds rewarding can help tailor their experience and highlight positive aspects of the programme. You can also learn from this the type of work that motivates the learner, which can help with workload allocation and staff retention.


Q: "Is there anything we, as your employer, could do better to support you through your apprenticeship?"

Rationale: Direct feedback on employer support can lead to actionable changes that enhance the apprenticeship experience.


Q: "Have you encountered any unexpected challenges during your apprenticeship, and how have you addressed them?"

Rationale: This question can uncover unforeseen issues and show the apprentice's problem-solving abilities.


These questions serve multiple purposes: they help ensure that apprentices are receiving a well-rounded educational experience, they provide insight into the effectiveness of the apprenticeship programme, and they establish a dialogue that can lead to continuous improvement. By asking these questions regularly, mentors and line managers can foster a supportive environment that facilitates both personal and professional growth for apprentices.

All of the Apprenticeships and Workshops we offer are purpose-built with accessibility and inclusion in mind. You can view our courses or contact us to find out more about how we can empower you or your workforce with apprenticeships or training programmes.

This article is part of our series on The Value Of Apprenticeships, where we discuss our experiences in the apprenticeships programme and how it can benefit healthcare organisations and their staff. If you would like to hear more about our experiences on this subject, please check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook to hear about our future posts as they are published!

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Published by: Oliver Hill

Job Title: Head of Apprenticeships and Commercial

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