Why you should promote mentorship to apprentices in technical training

Apprenticeship used to include long talks and job shadowing between a journeyperson mentor and apprentice, but times have changed. With today’s demanding production targets and changing demographics, companies have become more dependent on technical training to fulfill this mentoring role. Discussing and practicing mentorship in technical training ensures that all apprentices recognize their role as learners and their responsibility to share what they know with less experienced workers.

Technical training instructors can play an important role in contributing to the continued success of apprentice-mentor relationships. Including a mentorship component in technical training is one way to build relationships. Recommending your fourth-year apprentices take a mentoring course is another way. There are many mentorship programs that effectively teach these skills. Below is an example of one part of a mentorship program that experienced apprentices can use when passing on a new skill or set of skills to a beginning apprentice. The mentorship program consists of a series of six steps to follow to effectively convey the message and teach the skill that is introduced.

The Six Steps to Mentoring are:

  1. Identify the point of the lesson – The mentor states the learning objective.
  2. Link the lesson – The skill of one lesson is linked to other lessons and the trade.
  3. Demonstrate the skill – The mentor (skill expert) explains the new skill and shows how it is done.
  4. Provide opportunity for practice – The mentor starts with guided practice and then allows the apprentice additional opportunities for practice with increased independence.
  5. Give feedback – The mentor tells the apprentice how he or she is doing with the skill using supportive and corrective feedback.
  6. Assess progress – The mentor assesses the individual skills learned as well as the apprentice’s overall progress in the trade.

The key is for mentors to learn and apply these steps until it becomes second nature. Applying a mentorship model, during or after technical training, is an effective approach to ensure that skills and knowledge are transferred to continue the tradition of a mentor and apprentice relationship.

For more information about the Six Steps to Mentoring Program featured in this blog:

SkillPlan Mentorship Program SkillPlan mentorship videos BuildForce Canada Mentorship Program package

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