Juggling work with learning isn’t easy when you’re an apprentice. Accountancy mentor and former apprentice Robert Moore explains how apprentices can find a balance.
1. Know your deadlines
Your training provider should have made it clear what their expectations are with project work and study time. If you can stick to these deadlines, you’re well on course to reach that end-point assessment.
2. Pick what works for you
Your 20% off-the-job training doesn’t have to be classroom-based. All apprentices need to complete their 20% off-the-job training. This works out as one day a week, but it’s very flexible – it can also be delivered in the workplace.
3. Apply your training to the workplace
When you return to work, try to make links between what you’ve learned through the 20% off-the-job training with everyday tasks in the office. Not only does it help embed the knowledge, but it’s also great for the written evidence you’ll need to gather for your portfolio.
4. Add an extra hour to any training days
At EMA Training, we give apprentices an hour to 90 minutes at the end of every classroom session so they can work on their portfolio. This work can include continuing professional development (CPD), project work, or even watching YouTube videos to further embed knowledge.
5. Study whenever you get an extra minute
Got a spare 30 minutes or a free lunch hour? Try getting your textbook out or doing some practice questions. This extra revision time will hopefully prevent you from studying for eight hours on a Sunday when you might want to go out with your friends. ‘Spacing’ (revising little and often) is the most effective revision method according to experts (see page 11 for more on this).
6. Go the extra mile
Apprentices aren’t required to study at weekends, but… the more you put into your studies, the more you’ll get out of it. If you are going for a Distinction standard (a 90-100% grade in the assessment), putting in the extra mile will get you there.
7. Speak to your tutor
If you are slipping behind, speak with your tutor. Training providers usually hold regular reviews to ensure you’re keeping on top of the work. Having a regular 30-minute catch-up is a big part of coping with your workload. And if personal issues are affecting your ability to study or work, remember that your training provider may be able to organise a chat with a mental health first-aider or refer you to professional help.
8. Study during work hours
Your employer may allow you to study during work hours. If you feel as if you need more study time, have a chat with your boss. Most employers are great at giving apprentices time to catch up if they need it. They might not give you a whole day off to study, but they could give you related tasks that sync with your project work – all of which you can use for your 20% off-the-job training.
Meet The expert – Robert Moore is an accountancy mentor at EMA Training. Before joining EMA Training, Robert was also an AAT apprentice.
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