Why Networking is a Crucial Skill for Apprentices

Association of Apprentices networking event
Last edited 29 January, 2024
Guest Blogs
4 min read.

Apprenticeships provide an excellent opportunity for young people to learn while on the job, gaining an education without sacrificing their income or career goals, all while gaining key skills along the way.

However, one skill that often isn’t focused on enough or considered crucial, is networking. The value that it can offer apprentices and young workers is often underestimated.

There are often many opportunities where networking skills and confidence can be developed, including through internal employee events or external business events such as conferences, seminars, or webinars to name a few.

External events can be found easily on social media, the internet, or by reaching out to key leaders in your network and industry.

For those who may be new to networking, knowing where to start can be a minefield! But it’s a mission worth pursuing, and here’s why.

Networking Helps Apprentices Develop Social Skills

When a business brings an apprentice on board, they are demonstrating a commitment to growing that individual’s professional skills and providing them with the platform they need to kickstart a successful career.

While very useful for professional development, it is not uncommon for an apprentice to be left a little socially isolated within smaller businesses, especially if they are the only one in a busy workplace. That’s where providing them access to a network of other people in their position can really help to support them.

The Association of Apprentices is one example, providing networking events dedicated solely to apprentices. Their national events successfully create a safe space for the development of key social skills whilst allowing guests to build relationships with fellow apprentices, forming connections they can rely on for support and with whom they can share experiences both inside and outside of their workplace.

This can help build their confidence, making them more assertive in daily roles, and can motivate them to grow personal skills and develop at pace.

5 Key Benefits of Networking for Apprentices

Encouraging your apprentices to attend networking events will help their development, and in turn, help your business flourish with their contribution! Here are some of the other key benefits.

1. Give Them Practical Experience to Enhance Their Studies

Apprentices can get real insights into not only the industry in which your business operates, but also other industries.

They can develop their knowledge of the world of work and how different companies, or even job roles have synergy with one another. This can often help them build a clearer career path.

Networking is a vital part of an apprentice’s learning journey, where they can grow and gain confidence in sharing opinions and input in meetings, presentations, and general business conversations.

2. Helps Develop Important Skills That Are Harder to Teach

You can teach someone technical skills, such as how to operate machinery or how to use software. However, social skills are not so easily taught and usually need to be developed naturally over time.

Networking provides apprentices with the opportunity to share and articulate their thoughts, build connections, and enhance communications. By practicing each of these skills at dedicated events, your apprentice will be able to communicate ideas more clearly at work, too!

3. Creates Collaboration Opportunities Within the Industry

Networking helps your apprentice connect with and learn from people they would have otherwise never have met. Listening to the experience of experts first-hand can be interesting, inspiring and insightful.

Your apprentices will be able to develop and use the knowledge they gain from events like this to better apply themselves at work, and to also motivate them in pursuit of their career.

There can also be opportunities for mentoring from others within the industry to help further their learning and get tips on how to succeed in the sector.

One of the hardest things for an apprentice to do is learn the basics and established norms and nuances of an industry, while also staying up to date with the changes going on around them. Networking helps them that, providing them with the ability to discuss trends and innovation with other key voices in your industry, learnings from which they can bring to your business.

This kind of knowledge helps your apprentice adapt to new situations and can even help them become a key member in generating new ideas.  

5. Improves Their Mental Health and Wellbeing

Mental wellbeing has never been a more prevalent issue than it is today, and we talk about this last, but certainly not least as a consideration. Networking opportunities can help improve the mental health and wellbeing of your apprentices, particularly if they are the only young worker in your business.

Workplace isolation can lead to loneliness and other mental health difficulties, so providing your apprentices with a place to be themselves and collaborate with other people of the same age or in the same boat is a hugely valuable experience for them.

Knowing that they can develop a support network of their own and learn from the experiences of others who have gone through similar events is refreshing and motivating. It may also help them feel more comfortable asking for help in the workplace, too.

How the Association of Apprentices Can Help Your Apprentices Network

At EDGE Creative, we have a bespoke apprentice experience, with a recruitment strategy and company focus on inclusion, collaboration, and development. Our apprentices also run their own networking events. This approach took a long time to develop but is highly successful.

For SMEs who may be taking on apprentices for the first time, or those who have limited resources to aid in their development, here are five ways the Association of Apprentices can help your apprentice develop their networking skills.

  1. Providing networking events across the UK that are specifically aimed at apprentices and their development.
  2. Helping apprentices to see the value of networking through collaboration and participation.
  3. Facilitating connections for both professional and personal development.
  4. Help provide them with the tools and techniques they need to improve their networking abilities, even giving feedback at the end of a session to help refine their skills in future.
  5. Provide them with online support in the form of workshops or through emails, messages, and meetings. The Association of Apprentices even have certificates and courses that apprentices can undertake in their own time to hone skills across a huge variety of industries.

Get in touch with the Association of Apprentices today to start helping your apprentices to the best of your ability.

EDGE team member

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Guest Blogger

This blog was written by an industry leading expert as part of our ongoing commitment to collaboration and success. We feature these blogs as a way of bringing fresh perspectives on key topics and business practices across a range of industries and sectors.