Asking for a Performance Review
Asking for a performance review is a great way to make sure you are getting the most out of your apprenticeship.
The employer and the training provider – usually your local college – will be keen to help, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the apprentice to make sure it happens.
It is important to remember that, in many cases, the employer involved wants as little ‘hassle’ as possible, so they are unlikely to be pushing you to have a performance review as it will involve some work on their part. This is certainly not a criticism, after all, the employer is offering a very valuable service and is keen to treat you as an employee, but a performance review will make sure you’re on the right track.
The whole point of a rewarding and successful apprenticeship is that the young person ‘learns on the job’. They are required to complete a minimum of 16 hours paid work each week, although in reality it can often be nearer to full time hours. The fact that an apprenticeship is required to have elements of both knowledge and competency based skills highlights just how important a performance review is in guaranteeing all sections of the course are completed.
A Helpful EmployerIf you feel your apprenticeship employer is likely to be positive about conducting a performance review, you should find that it is relatively straightforward to request one. Your main hurdle is likely to be finding an appropriate time for the review and getting some feedback written down afterwards in a timely fashion.
The secret here is making it as easy as possible. Ask your college tutor to give you some guidelines as to what information would be helpful for them to know about your progress and write a list to give your employer. Print it out, too, so they can write on it. If there is a secretary in your workplace, you can ask them to type it up and give to your employer to sign, or do this yourself. It may seem annoying, but it will be good for your career in the long run as you will have this positive information on your file. Even if the information or feedback is not particularly positive, it will give you something to work on before the end of your apprenticeship.
A Not-So-Helpful EmployerIf you think that it will be difficult to pin your employer down to a performance review, perhaps because you don’t feel they have been particularly supportive or because they are simply too busy, try this approach.
As before, ask your college tutor what kind of information would be helpful to know for a performance review and either use the form from the college, if they have one, or write your own. Type it clearly, with plenty of space between each category. Give a copy to your boss and ask for them to fill it in within a certain time frame (start with three days). If this doesn’t happen, ask them if there is someone else that you could pass the form to for it to be filled in as you need to return to the college. In most cases, their ego will get the better of them and they will find a few minutes to give their opinion! If this does not work, say that you will complete the questions on their behalf and will give it to them to sign the next day. Again, this usually makes them want to fill in the form themselves or at least make a number of personal changes when you bring the form for them to sign.