The tips, provided by PAL qualifications director Paul Kelly, included familiarising yourself with assessment plans, engaging in professional discussion and holding mock observations.
Kelly advised managers to ask the training provider for their assessment plan, which would give a clear outline of the assessment method that would be used to grade the apprentice, meaning you can help them prepare.
For instance, if a portfolio of work is required, you might encourage them to think about aspects of their day-to-day work that could be reflected on in it.
Kelly also advised to get to grips with ‘Professional Discussion’, which had become an increasingly popular way of assessing apprentices. This is a two-way conversation between an assessor and apprentice, centring around questions aimed at getting a deeper understanding of the level of knowledge an apprentice has about their role.
Managers could give candidates mock discussions to help ease their nerves, and could film them so they might watch it back and review their performance, according to Kelly, as this would help build confidence and communication skills.
Kelly said: “As the hospitality sector continues to be hit by staff shortages, training has become more important than ever.
“For pub firms struggling to meet skills gaps in their teams, offering apprenticeships for staff at all levels of the business will help to meet these gaps, while fostering loyalty by showing they are prepared to invest money and effort in boosting the skills and qualifications of their workforce.”
Furthermore, Kelly advised managers to hold mock observations for their apprentices, pretending to be an assessor observing them in the workplace. He said you could do this at busy periods as well as quiet ones, as there was no guarantee the formal assessment would take place on a quiet day.
Benchmark of skills
He also said managers could help apprentices prepare for written exams, through reminding them to read the questions carefully and give themselves time to answer everything.
Kelly continued: “National apprenticeship standards have come a long way in recent years, helping apprentices acquire a broader understanding of their industry and ensuring they have developed the skills, knowledge and behaviours to be job-ready on completion.
“As such, apprenticeship qualifications are a benchmark of the skillset and competence required for a specific job role in a particular sector.”
His final point for managers was to create opportunities for success. Some apprentices would perform better in certain assessment scenarios than others, so, it was important to find out what these were then allowing the candidate to practise them first to play to their strengths. This would help build their confidence as they progressed to assessment styles they were less comfortable with.