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Best Mentoring Practices

Getting Started

If you are new to mentoring - or even and old pro, this article from the Harvard Business Review will help guide you on how - and why - we mentor.

What the Best Mentors Do

Apprenticeships, Internships, and Job Shadowing

There are many ways to mentor directly in the workplace.  These kinds of on the job training programs can be highly beneficial for a someone looking to gain an understanding of a specific trade or career path.  In the page below we will explore variations in the requirements and rewards of apprenticeships, internships, and job shadowing.

Apprenticeship

 “a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a trade or profession with on-the-job experience…” 

Apprenticeships come in several forms – from formal programs with certifications to less formal relationships.  An Informal Apprenticeship refers to the system by which an apprentice acquires the skills for a trade or craft in a micro or small enterprise learning and working side by side with an experienced practitioner.  Formal apprenticeship programs result in a certification related directly to the profession being studied.

Best Practices for creating an apprenticeship position: 

The link below contains a document from the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum. It includes a sample Training Plan for employers. This document also includes Best Practices for Apprentices (p.20).

There are many formal apprenticeship programs registered with the State of Washington.  To learn more about establishing and offering a formal apprenticeship program here is a link to Washington State Formal Registered Apprenticeship Programs:

Dig deeper to learn more and see a brief history of apprenticeships at:

Internships 

“Job training for white-collar and professional careers generally consisting of an exchange of services for experience between the student and an organization…”

Professional Standards for unpaid internship position: Unpaid internships remain widely available in the American workplace. There are federal rules to guide employers on when an internship may legally be unpaid.  (full document link):

Paid vs. Unpaid Guidelines: Background:  The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines the term “employ” very broadly… Internships in the “for-profit” private sector will most often be viewed as employment, unless the test described below relating to trainees is met.  Interns in the “for-profit” private sector who qualify as employees rather than trainees typically must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over forty in a workweek.

The following six standards must be met in order to establish that an intern qualifies to work unpaid: 

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

You can learn more by digging a little deeper into these two links:

Differences between an Apprenticeship & and Internship:

There are several key differences between apprenticeship programs and internships.  They vary in duration, compensation, and benefit.  Here is a clip from the International Labor Office’s guide on “Upgrading Informal Apprenticeship” International Labor Office (p.8):

Both forms of training are workplace based and follow a similar learning process of guidance by an experienced worker. Yet, they differ in three essential aspects:

  1. Internships are shorter than apprenticeships. Durations for internships usually vary between four weeks and six months, while apprenticeships usually vary between one and four years, depending on the trade.
  2. Internships cover a limited set of skills relevant for an occupation. Apprenticeships, by contrast, aim to impart all skills needed to master a trade, which explains the longer duration.
  3. For apprenticeship, the heart of learning takes place in a business. Here is where the major share of skills is acquired. Interns usually acquire their main knowledge and skills at a training center or a university, and only learn supplementary skills through an Internship.

Job Shadowing:

“Job shadowing is a work experience option where students learn about a job by walking through the work day as a shadow to a competent worker. The job shadowing work experience is a temporary, unpaid exposure to the workplace in an occupational area of interest to the student.”

Job shadowing allows a student, employee, or intern to gain comprehensive knowledge about what an employee who holds a particular job does in that job every day.