Workplace mentoring of degree apprentices: developing principles for practice
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to focus on developing a deep understanding of the nature and impact of the workplace mentor role in degree apprenticeships (DAs). It investigates a theoretical model of DA workplace mentoring activity, with findings used to develop a set of principles for supporting the development of effective mentoring practice. Design/methodology/approach: Data underpinning this paper were collected as part of the monitoring and evaluation of the first year of a Chartered Manager DA programme at a post-1992 university. Workplace mentors and mentees were interviewed to explore their experience of mentoring within this programme. Findings: This study found there to be many positive benefits of workplace mentoring for apprentices, their mentors and the organisation. This understanding can be used to support the development of principles for effective mentoring practice. Research limitations/implications: The data support the validity of the proposed model for DA workplace mentoring activity. In order to become a helpful guide to mentors’ planning of areas of support, the model may need to be refined to show the relative importance given to each activity area. The findings of this small-scale study need now to be extended through work with a larger sample. Practical implications: The set of principles offered will be valuable to workplace mentors of degree apprentices across organisational sectors to ensure the quality of delivery and outcomes. Originality/value: This paper contributes to an understanding of the impact of mentoring as a social practice on mentor and apprentice development. Such an understanding has the potential to positively influence the quality of delivery, mentoring practice and thus apprentices’ learning.