Q&A: What role do Skills Coaches play in apprenticeships
Ivana talks us through her role as an Apprenticeship Skills coach.
Q: What is an Apprenticeship?
A: Apprenticeships are a relatively new thing, going just several years back. The best thing about it is that apprentices are working and studying at the same time. Apprentices will get their degree while not accumulating student debt and while getting very relevant work experience! How many of us have had a problem finding jobs, because everyone asked for some work experience?!
Q: What is the role of a skills coach?
A: In the case of apprenticeships, there is a required set of skills/behaviours that each apprentice has to demonstrate to have gained throughout their work experience during the apprenticeship: this is where skills coaches come in.
Skills Coaches work with apprentices to make sure they gain and evidence these skills. We do that through regular Quarterly Workplace Reviews with our apprentices to make sure they are on track with their degree requirements and if not, to discuss actions needed to get there.
So my job is to make sure apprentices are doing things day-to-day that are relevant for their degree, make sure they enjoy their work experience, and ultimately ace their final assessment!
Q: What can an Apprentice expect from a Skills Coach?
A: I usually say to my apprentices that my job is to see them succeed and excel, and be happy while doing it! If they need any clarification about the skills they have to evidence: I am here. If they need to find a new assignment or project within their workplace, skills coaches discuss this with them and their managers to help them succeed. If they just need to talk about something that bothers them or is unclear about their work, Ada assignment, or anything else: I am here.
Q: How many skills coaches does Ada have?
A: Ada currently has 4 skills coaches, managed by Brooke. Mel and I joined in June 2019, and recently we had 2 new technical skills coaches joining us: Ogechi and Ben. Technical skills coaches have more technical/digital knowledge so they are helping me navigate more technical items of my job, since I do not have a digital background.
Q: What is your favourite part of being a skills coach?
A: Absolutely my apprentices! So many of them put a smile on my face just by showing up. I love meeting them in a corridor or the kitchen (If you ask me, that is the thing I miss the most during this quarantine!).
I feel so proud when I see my apprentices succeed. Many of them made incredible improvements from the moment we started working together. I simply love respectful, hard-working, kind and ambitious young people and I am fortunate to have met so many of them during my experience in Ada. If some of you are reading this and recognising yourself, yes, that is you!