How to support newcomers

and apprentices in your company

When people enter a new industry, whether it’s their first career step or a change of vocation, it’s important that they are supported and welcomed as they navigate the novelties and challenges of their role. So, how can you support both newcomers and apprentices in their sector so that they go on to shape successful careers, and give their knowledge and experience back to your company too?

Offer orientations

When someone is new to an industry, they may not be aware of all the safety requirements and due processes that more experienced workers are used to. So, ensure that everyone is kept safe and given the best start by running thorough orientations on all of your processes and safety regulations to prevent accidents further down the line. This means that new workers should be aware of where safety equipment is kept, where they can take breaks, and how to access, store and clean essential equipment.

By running these orientations with experienced staff members, you’ll also ensure that your newer team members feel more comfortable asking their management questions, having spent  time going over working methods with them already. An induction process and tour of the site or office is also a great opportunity to introduce your newest employees to your most experienced and start their valuable integration into the business.

Provide the right equipment

If you are employing more people, ensure that you have enough safety equipment and tools to provide for them all. Keeping a regular audit of your equipment will ensure that you always know how much you have on hand,  helping you know when things need replacing, repairing, or cleaning. It’s also important to have plenty of sizes available of clothes or helmets, to fit the wide range of employees that  are joining your company.

Safety equipment is particularly important for those starting in one of your roles as it will give new workers the confidence to learn new skills and take on their tasks. Without this, many people could (rightly) feel nervous and lack the confidence to progress, so make sure you prioritise this.

Structure staff training

Before you take on someone new, it’s important to get your training plans ready so that you can hit the ground running by integrating them and progressing their skills. Structured training will not only make you a more desirable employer to work for, but it will also allow you to monitor your new team member’s progress and keep track of how you think they’re doing.

Plan out weeks when you would like new skills to be learned and tested, along with utilising any courses that are standardised across their role. Not only this, but it’s all the better if you can  offer additional industry or skill-based qualifications that your apprentice or newcomer can add to their CV too. In the long run, having a structured process in place will also make it easier for you to onboard new team members, and streamline the expansion of your business.

Keep company culture positive

Your company culture can make the difference between an apprentice or newcomer to construction progressing or struggling to adjust. Keeping a positive and supportive business environment will allow you to help your newer staff members learn better as they will be more comfortable asking questions, and it will also ensure that everyone else has a better environment to work in too.

So, be sure to work on  team-building days or exercises, keep good communication between all your teams and levels of management, and take the time to cultivate a business where people can bring their ideas and questions forward to reach great outcomes.

“Bringing in newcomers or apprentices and developing their skills and careers can not only be rewarding but can really benefit your bottom line too. The enthusiasm and varied skills they can bring to the table can really improve the workflow of your team, and add that different angle or bit of knowledge you’ve been waiting for. However, it’s important to know how to support them, and offering people the best environment for newcomers to thrive is vital to developing their confidence.

“Make sure that you give newcomers their own safety equipment when starting on their first days, this could include goggles, reflective jackets, gloves, and a helmet. Make sure they are always wearing the correct footwear on-site and give them the necessary equipment, even if the majority of their time will be spent off-site in an office —they’ll still need it when they venture into construction zones. Staff having their own safety equipment will instil confidence, prepare them for work, and ensure they are educated from the start about remaining safe and productive on-site.”Kelly Friel, Zoro

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