We know that organisations across the world are looking for ways to change how they work to slow the spread of COVID-19. In times like this, it’s often HR, talent and people leaders who are tasked with keeping their teams safe and the business moving.

As the backbone of the organisation, you are the first responders. We’re here to do whatever we can to help make that role a little easier. If you are making the shift to remote work and hiring, it is more important than ever to align your workflows and stay focused on building a diverse and mission-driven team.

We had been building a range of remote modules and using a blended delivery model for several months and knew this was becoming an increasingly important part of our offer. However, we didn’t expect we would be delivering a fully remote service so soon. We’ve been fortunate that we have had the right infrastructure in place to support this transition. While we don’t have all the answers, we do have some thoughts on how to best support apprentices and line managers throughout this uncertain time.

Transitioning to a fully-remote offer

The support and wellbeing of our apprentices is our first priority. It was clear to us that we would need to go further than simply moving delivery sessions online in order to ensure our apprentices have a really positive experience.

Our apprenticeship curriculum now supports end-to-end remote working through interactive programmes that deliver more touchpoints to both apprentices and managers, including guidance and tips on how to manage remote teams. This spans our coaching model, boot-camps, and the WhiteHat apprentice community.

Recreating the in-classroom experience remotely

Our coaches have received extensive training on how to recreate the in-classroom experience remotely and we are continuing to invest in additional resources to maintain the level of engagement, support and relevant training for as long as it takes.

Every day we are working to ensure that all WhiteHat coaches have access to the right tech, including double screens, Slack classrooms, full Zoom functionality, and a technical assistant for additional support.

Improving visibility and support

We are also supporting apprentice success by providing better data visibility to coaches and line managers so they can quickly see if an apprentice has missed a session and provide extra check points and mental health support where needed.

Apprentices partner with one dedicated coach throughout the entire programme, enabling tailored support as we transition to a fully remote framework (e.g., where an apprentice might have a difficult home environment). This one-on-one approach also ensures our apprentices are set up to work from home correctly, even when employer resources are tight.

Coaches and apprentices also have access to crib sheets on managing mental health, as well as access to Spill, the chat-based workplace app supporting employee mental health. In addition, we are hosting regular wellbeing focused events, such as live instructor-led yoga sessions delivered virtually every week.

Bolstering social connections

We want people to feel more connected than ever to their community and the wider apprentice network, so we’ve created a series of virtual events to provide opportunities for apprentices to connect with one other without leaving home.

We are now hosting live weekly quizzes, gaming nights, and virtual meet ups to help apprentices stay connected and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

For more support, make sure to encourage your apprentice to join our Community Hub today.

You can also read our Note to Our Community and our Guide to Remote Working for more information and resources.