With the Christmas break fast approaching, along with looming deadlines and various events taking place throughout the festive season, it’s understandable that this can be a hectic time for employers. But it can also be a stressful and unfamiliar time for apprentices.
Here are some tips, tricks and insights for all employers, on how to support their apprentices through to the new year.
it’s highly likely that your apprentice may be affected by cold, flu or another illness that is prevalent at this time of year. Ensure that they are aware of the processes involved in being absent from work due to illness. You should include this information in the employee contract or guide, make sure that the apprentice has access to this information outside of the office.
Winter is also a time that can exacerbate conditions such as stress and depression. It is highly unlikely that your apprentice will approach if they are suffering with this, or other mental health conditions. Therefor it is important to keep an eye out for signs that the apprentice may be struggling. Ensure that either yourself, or a manager within the company has the knowledge and confidence to approach and provide support to an apprentice or any other member of staff who may be suffering with mental health issues.
With days getting shorter, and a higher chance of adverse weather conditions, it may be a good idea to consider your apprentices safety during their commute to and from work.
Ensure that your apprentice has a safe route for getting to and from work. Well lit routes with plenty of fellow commuters are a good option for apprentices who walk the whole or part of their journey to and from work. In snowy or icy conditions, ensure you allow your apprentice to wear weather appropriate shoes and clothing alongside their usual workwear.
Be considerate of the fact that unpredictable changes to traffic may cause your apprentice to be late for work. If they drive to work, or use public transport they will likely be met with delays or get stuck in traffic several times over winter. Try to be understanding in these situations as they are not the apprentices fault. However, if the apprentice becomes habitually late, it may be worth advising them to leave for work earlier until their commute time goes back to normal.
In extreme weather conditions, take all precautions needed to ensure that your apprentice will be able to travel to and from work safely. In rare circumstances, this may mean allowing them to leave work early. And in preparation for the possibility of heavy snow or ice making it impossible for your apprentice to get to work, have a plan to make it possible for the apprentice to work from home.
The Christmas Party
Work social events are a dynamic that will be unfamiliar to most apprentices. Young people who are new to the world of work may be unsure of how to approach a situation that combines both professional and social aspects.
The Christmas party can be especially daunting for apprentices that do not ordinarily take part in Christmas celebrations, or that are not familiar with the type of social situation in which the Christmas party will be held. In this situation, it may be best to talk the apprentice through what will be happening during the Christmas party, and how they should behave in this situation, in order to make them feel more at ease.
It’s important to ensure that your apprentice feels welcome to participate in any office celebrations, so make sure they recieve the same invitations, information and updates as all other employees. In some cases, if apprentices have joined the business fairly recently, or feel that have not fully adjusted to being a part of the team yet, they mean need to be persuaded, and reassured that they will be a very welcome addition to the celebrations.
When planning the Christmas party be sure to take into consider your apprentices personal beliefs in order to avoid indirect discrimination. If your apprentice is very religious or under a certain age for example, they may feel excluded if the office Christmas party takes place at a casino for example. Similarly, if their beliefs prevent them from consuming alcohol, wine or cocktail tasting may also be something to avoid. Be sure to make yourself aware of your apprentice’s values and beliefs, and whether these mean that they cannot take part in certain activities or prevents them for eating or drinking anything etc.
As an employer, you are probably aware of the difficulties that arise around Christmas due to the high demand for days off. If your business closes over the Christmas period, be sure to let your apprentice know when this break will start and finish well in advance so that they can book off extra days if needed. If it is required for employees to use some of their annual leave for this break, make sure they are aware of this so they can save annual leave days for this as required.
If your business is required to stay open over Christmas, and employees are required to work for a certain number of days over this period, let your apprentice know well in advance. Many apprentices will be accustomed to being given a 2 week Christmas break, so having to work on boxing day, New Year’s eve, etc, may be quite new to them. Give your apprentice plenty of notice about what days they are required to work.
If you would like more information on hiring an apprentice, visit the Creative Alliance site.