Apprentice Support Person

What you need to know


If you have been nominated by an apprentice as their Support Person, welcome to the team! Your role is so important!

They have nominated you as someone they respect, who cares about them and wants the best for them. They want you on their team and as they know you will keep them on track during their apprenticeship.

Sometimes during the course of study, things get tough and motivation dips. Apprentices without a Support Person can easily give up at this point but those who do have a Support Person have shown they are far more likely to finish.

Who are the Account Managers and how do I work with them?

Your apprentice will have a dedicated Skills Account Manager. It is their job to sign up them up, monitor their progress, check they are going to their Block Courses (at a Polytech), contact them and visit them on site. So how is your role different? You are the one who will be with them long after their apprenticeship is finished and be more involved with their life long journey. See below how you can best help your apprentice.

Your welcome email will have told you who their Account Manager is. Please feel free to contact the Account Manager and discuss any concerns you may have with your apprentice.

If you would like to speak to our:

What can I do to help my apprentice?

Be a good listener They need someone on their side who can listen to the good and the not so good.

Ask them what motivates them Think about how they best function and ask them how they like being encouraged? Do they need an encouraging auntie/uncle chat or do they need to be challenged on their behaviour with a little tune-up?

Contact them regularly to ask how they are and how their studies are going– don’t underestimate how a friendly text can make their day. We know you may be busy but just letting them know you are around and there for them is great.

Be encouraging  Think about what you can say that will encourage them and build their confidence. There may be plenty of others in their lives who don’t build them up.

Remind them of the end goal  They will be a tradie with a qualification! Being a tradie is great. They will not only earn good money but have a great job and be a role model to whanau/family.

Encourage them to get help when they need it  Sometimes those studying will need help with literacy (reading, writing) and numeracy. We require all trainees to take a Literacy Numeracy Assessment which will show them whether they need a bit of support or not.  Please ask your apprentice if they completed the assessment. If not, ask them to talk to their Account Manager.

Celebrate success! It’s great to celebrate the successes with your apprentice, such as when they have completed their first ever block course, or got through their first year.

What if they have technical questions that I can’t answer?

Generally, the apprentice should be asking their supervisor or boss at work for on-job questions and their tutor at Polytech for off-job questions.  Some industries have extra technical help.

Plumbing, Gasfitting Drainlaying – they should ask their question to their Account Manager and they will refer it to a technical person who will contact the apprentice

Electrical –   talk to their verifier/supervisor at work or tutor at Polytech

Scaffolding – talk to their verifier/supervisor at work or tutor at Polytech

Roofing – talk to their verifier/supervisor at work or tutor at Polytech there are also chatrooms and webinars for these apprentices to ask technical questions

What do all these words mean?

Sometimes they will use words/phrases that you are unfamiliar with. Some are explained in the apprentices’ handbook. You can ask to see the handbook.

Here are a few:

Unit standards – the whole qualification is made up of smaller units of work which we call unit standards (US). They cover one part of their qualification. They have a number and a name such as US 3490 Complete an incident report

Unit standards include:

  • On-jobs – these are the unit standards that cover practical aspects of the course that your apprentice will complete from what they are learning at work
  • Off-jobs – these are a mix of theory and practical unit standards they complete at the Polytechs

Assessments – these are like a test after they have learnt skills and information about parts of their training. Assessments are part of the unit standards. So when the Account Manager says “he/she hasn’t passed their Incident report assessment or unit” or “hasn’t passed their on-job about Completing an incident report”, they are saying the same thing.

Block Courses/Day release/Night class – part of the apprenticeship means they go to a Polytech to study what is easier to do there than on the worksite. A Block Course usually means one or two weeks at the Polytech. Day release generally means going for a day weekly or fortnightly. Night classes are held after work at the Polytech.

MySkills Log in Your apprentice will need to go to the Skills website and log in so they can see their progress through their qualification and when their next Block Courses are.

Verifier This is the person who signs off their assessments at their work (they are the ones who see what the apprentice is doing). They may also be called supervisors.

Moodle – for some courses, they will need to get onto the internet and access some of their online assessments. They need to go through MySkills to get there. Skills’ name for their Moodle is SkillsBank but both names mean the same thing.