Practical Advice For Line Managers Mentoring Apprentices

By Sam Moore

This article is part of our series on Mentoring In The Workplace. At Dynamic Training, we understand the pivotal role mentoring plays in fostering professional growth and development, particularly for apprentices navigating their careers. To follow this series, view our blog or follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Mentoring Apprentices: Your Role As A Line Manager

In the realm of apprenticeships, line managers play a crucial role in the development of those enroled in an apprenticeship programme. How line managers support their team members in their growth and application of knowledge significantly influences both their personal success and that of their organisation.

A successful manager, adept at fostering learning, is one who recognises the potential within their team. They excel in active listening, providing clear guidance, and, importantly, making personal development accessible for both themselves and their colleagues.

Your managerial role holds significant sway over your team's willingness and capacity to grow. Here are just a few examples of the way line managers can influence apprentices and other members of staff.

  • Conducting performance development reviews and induction activities.
  • Identifying skills gaps.
  • Facilitating access to challenging tasks or job rotations.
  • Offering coaching and guidance.
  • Implementing informal training initiatives.
  • Supporting apprentice career progression and advancement.
  • Promoting knowledge sharing and organising "lessons learned" sessions.
  • Leading by example.

Helping Apprentice Development: Planning & Evaluating

An apprentice's learning and development can be greatly improved by consideration of two important elements: planning and evaluation.


Whilst an apprentice's learning and development has many components, you play a pivotal role in identifying learning needs, communicating them to relevant individuals (including the apprentice's skills and development coach) and providing apprentices with time and support for their development within their role.

Effective planning and scheduling allows apprentices the necessary amount of off-the-job training, but also time to learn and harness their new-found skills within their working role and identifying opportunities for further learning.


Following the planning phase, evaluating how the apprentice is progressing is vital. Considerations for evaluation include:

  • Engaging with apprentices to understand the benefits derived from both apprenticeship and work-based activities.
  • Discussing with apprentices how the acquired knowledge will enhance their work practices, fostering continued engagement and identifying the most beneficial types of training for the organisation.
  • Assessing the overall investment of time and resources in learning and development activities, to see what more can be done.
  • Communicating outcomes to superiors and celebrating achievements to garner support for future initiatives.
  • Maintaining records to discern the effectiveness of various learning and development endeavors.

Advice For Building A Better Workplace Learning Culture

Creating a culture of learning within your organisation requires effective leadership and strategic adjustments by the line manager. Here are some simple steps to initiate the building of a learning culture.

Regularly Emphasise Employee Development

Foster open channels of communication between managers and apprentices to cultivate a conducive work environment. Encourage discussions regarding skills enhancement, knowledge acquisition, and avenues for further growth. Engage in pre- and post-development conversations with staff to ensure a positive outlook on learning opportunities. Frame development initiatives as beneficial prospects for both individuals and the team, rather than mere solutions to problems or directives from senior management.

Acknowledge and Support Apprentice Learning As It Happens

When you observe improvements resulting from specific learning endeavors, provide recognition and highlight the connection between their enhancement and the learning process. 

Lead by Example: How Can You Learn And Develop?

Demonstrate your commitment to personal development by addressing your own learning needs. Setting an example across all levels and job functions reinforces the significance of ongoing development and encourages greater engagement from others.

Provide Context and Purpose

When assigning training or learning activities, ensure that team members understand the rationale behind acquiring particular skills or knowledge and how these acquisitions will benefit them. Offer opportunities for immediate application of newly acquired knowledge to maximise its utility and impact.

Get The Most Out Of What You Already Do

It is worth looking at what opportunities already exist without any changes or investment being needed. You can always look to see how you can maximise learning opportunities for apprentices and staff without additional investment by utilising existing daily routines and activities:

  • Utilise team meetings and group sessions for brainstorming, fostering creativity, or conducting team activities which aid in the learning and development cycle.
  • Use existing one-on-one meetings to discuss lessons learned from the previous week's experiences and the growth which has come from it.
  • Utilise appraisal meetings as platforms for discussing and planning further learning and development activities and initiatives.

As a line manager, your actions and attitude will make a huge difference on your apprentice and their learning. Dynamic Training are passionate about encouraging effective line-manager and apprentice relationships, and host an online workshop to teach our line managers about this vital role. You can find out more about these workshops here.

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog posts in the Mentoring In The Workplace series, where we delve deeper into the nuances of mentorship and its profound impact on organisational dynamics. To keep up to date, follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook.

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.

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Published by: Sam Moore

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