Seven Electrical initiates Effective Engagement training for apprentices

Seven Electrical has one of the highest numbers of apprentices in the industry. The Board, driven by Sandy McConnell (who is responsible for Seven Electrical’s apprenticeship training programme), decided to invest in their future leaders by putting them on an overnight Effective Engagement workshop, run by Anna Watson. A key aim of this initiative is a 100% programme completion rate of between 3.5 and 4 years.

Anna worked with the company to design a workshop that would help fulfil this aim by teaching the apprentices how to take their learning into their own hands, create focused goals and strengthen their communication skills. The day involved a mix of outdoor-based experiential learning and focused classroom sessions. The final session was a “skills showcase”, where the apprentices were split into groups and assigned tasks to complete within a set timeframe. The video below gives a quick snapshot of the day.

Some key learnings came up throughout the day. These included the importance of goal-setting; a recognition that even the mundane aspects of apprenticeship represent an opportunity to create good habits; and that communication is a two-way street. A welcome side-effect of bringing together the group was a collective realisation that they experience similar challenges; and can learn from one another as they move towards qualification. The video below captures some reflections from the day.

The apprentices weren’t the only ones asked to do something a little different to their normal working day. Anna attended the senior leadership team’s Strategy Day a week later. She kickstarted her presentation by putting the team through the ‘Helium Stick Challenge’ – a practical exercise requiring teamwork and calm communication.

Anna then shared some insights into the apprentice workshop, and invited the team to brainstorm what role they could play in helping the apprentices overcome challenges at work. Some great discussions ensued, particularly around communication and approachable leadership styles to help apprentices more efficiently complete their training programme.

Through this initiative, Seven Electrical has seen that it is well worth investing in its apprentices’ soft skills as well as their technical skills in order to help them more efficiently complete the apprenticeship programme. More work is in the pipeline on this, in recognition that change doesn’t happen overnight. Big ups to both the leadership team and the apprentices for coming onboard. Finally, thanks to Skills Org, who partnered with Seven Electrical to bring this initiative to life.