An apprentice is a trainee who is acquiring the required skills on the job. Many companies today take apprentices for several months before hiring them fully for the job. During their training, the apprentice is given a lot of training on the job so that they can be perfect when they get hired. However, their work is just like that of any other employee in the company and therefore, they should be treated as equal. For example, an Office Administration Apprentice is an employee just like any other and is expected to deliver just like the others. The only difference is that, the apprentice does the job in order to gain the necessary skills or experience.
Generally, apprentices have the same rights and responsibilities as those of other employees working for the same company. As a result, you would wonder why they are given different contracts from those of other employees. The best thing is to give them a regular contract with an addendum attached to it. That way, they will have something to show when they get back to their studies. A Teaching Assistant Apprentice for example may need a certificate or similar proof to show that they learnt valuable skills during their apprenticeship. This proof can easily be documented.
From what we have seen, the apprentice contract should not differ so much from that of other employees. It should have normal terms of contract stating the roles both the apprentice and those of the employer. For example Customer Service Apprentice plays the same roles as those of the other employees in the customer service department. Such an apprentice should get a contract detailing their working hours, payment, security protocol as well as accommodation plans. What could be different in the contract is the fact that you have to include their training details as it is the main reason why the apprentice is taking the job in the first place.
The contract should have a detailed description of what the apprentice is supposed to do as This is will enable you to achieve two things. First, since the apprentice is not experienced in the job, the detailed description will help him understand his roles better. As a result, they will feel motivated since their efforts are being recognized. And when the apprentice is leaving, give him a recommendation letter that is based on his performance. Secondly, the job description will form the basis of making a recommendation. You will appraise his performance against the description and as the apprentice leaves your company and goes ahead to look for a job, he will find the recommendation useful.
It is however advisable not to make the contract look complicated. To the contrary, make it as simple as that of the other employees in your company. This comes with a benefit to both the apprentice and yourself. When an apprentice feels that he is valued and respected in his capacity, he is inspired to perform better. This will bring you a lot of benefits in terms of increased work output.