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Apprentice myth busting

When it comes to hiring apprentices in residential construction, it’s not uncommon to hear myths that are misleading and outdated. These not only discourage businesses but also actively damage the reputations of apprentices and slow down the growth of our industry. After all, hiring an apprentice is a strategic investment, not a burden.

Myth 1: Apprentices are safety risks

Reality: Like any new employee, apprentices come with a learning curve. But to label them as inherent “safety risks” is an over-generalisation. With the right training and guidance, apprentices can maintain and even enhance safety standards.

For example, consider the integration of new safety technologies and practices into a workplace. An apprentice, fresh from training and schooling, might be introduced to a brand-new safety application or a recent safety protocol development. They can bring this to the team’s attention, promoting practices like digital safety checklists, wearable safety tech, or new ergonomic equipment techniques. Their fresh perspective and updated training can serve as an infusion of modern safety practices into a seasoned team, acting as a bridge between the tried-and-true methods and the latest innovations.

Myth 2: They require too much supervision 

Reality: It’s undeniable that any newbie, whether it’s a person straight out of training or a seasoned subcontractor with decades under their belt - needs guidance at the start. But here’s the thing, apprentices of today aren’t just looking for someone to live over their shoulders. They want to learn, be self-sufficient and are prepared with some solid knowledge thanks to their training.  Exposing apprentices to others in your team and have them learn a variety of methods can improve team dynamics, while accelerating apprentices learning and development.

The bottom line is that apprentices should be treated as an extension of your team rather than a task on your checklist. With your expertise, experience and a balance between guidance and independence, apprentices, can quickly become assets, reducing the workload rather than increasing it.
Here’s the kicker – apprentices can even be a fresh set of eyes on a project. They’re trained in the latest standards and can notice things that someone more set in their ways might miss!

Myth 3: Getting an apprentice that fits is down to luck

Reality: An apprentice’s efficiency and productivity can be a direct result of your guidance and the environment they’re placed in. It’s not about the raw skill they bring on day one; it’s about the potential they hold and how it’s channelled.

The success of an apprentice isn’t solely on their shoulders. A good GTO plays an important role in shaping that success. Given the right mix of challenge and support, apprentice don’t just keep up, they can accelerate a project.

The idea isn’t to challenge whether an apprentice will require guidance. They will. But with a good GTO you won’t have to worry about striking out when it comes to getting the perfect apprentice.

Wrapping up the myths

Myth 1: Apprentices = safety hazards. Reality: With guidance, they’re safety boosters, blending old wisdom with new tech.

Myth 2: They need constant watch. Reality: Mix your experience with their zest, and they’re team gold.

Myth 3: Finding a gem is pure luck. Reality: It’s less about luck, more about developing skills and mentorship, you shape their success.

Bottom line: Apprentices aren’t a burden; they’re an investment. Behind every top builder was a keen apprentice and a stellar mentor.

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