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5 Key Takeaways from NYEC Panel with YUPRO

Published by Meghana Machiraju on June 6, 2022
3 min read

Meghana Machiraju

Meghana Machiraju is a B2B content marketing professional at Symba. Previously, Meghana worked as a Content Marketing Lead for a SaaS healthcare startup. She holds a Masters in Marketing from Schulich School of Business, Canada, and an MBA in Advertising from Symbiosis International University, India. Outside of work, you will find her traveling or looking for the next vegetarian restaurant to go to!

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Symba was honored to partner with the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC) to learn how YUPRO leverages technology to engage 300+ apprentices in their remote program.

YUPRO is an award-winning organization that supports opportunity talent in career readiness and job placement throughout their careers. Through apprenticeships, contract assignments and direct hire placements, YUPRO is a unique alternative to traditional staffing models. YUPRO earned #38 on the 2021 Staffing Industry Analysts Fastest Growing Companies. 

Alongside our CEO and Co-Founder, Ahva Sadeghi, the panel featured incredible YUPRO talent leaders - Margaret Walkup, VP Partnerships and Programs, Deidra Prather, Talent Program Manager, Jasmine Walthall-Drakes, Apprenticeship Services Manager, and Kelsey Weaver, Director, Apprenticeship Operations. All joined to share their knowledge and experience on how to leverage tech, talent, and trainers to future-proof your talent development programs. 

If you missed the event, don’t worry! Below are 5 key takeaways that stood out to us as being particularly thought-provoking:

Takeaway 1: Tools and technology to manage and support your apprentices

1. Symba: is an all-in-one platform that helps organizations streamline the management of their talent development programs, including apprenticeships. On Symba, teams can easily onboard program participants, provide resources, manage projects, design consistent feedback loops, and build community and engagement. YUPRO leverages Symba for apprenticeship management and community building, as well as a place to offer skills to their apprentices.

2. Hinterview: is a tool for interview preparation and practice. It is award-winning video recruitment software used to improve forecasting and increase company growth.

3. LinkedIn Learning: builds skills at scale to help your employees and organization grow. Dedicate time to review and provide LinkedIn Learning courses that would be beneficial for your apprentices.

In addition to these external resources, you could offer resume review services, share job search strategies, conduct interview readiness workshops, and hold weekly office hours to keep apprentices on track.

Takeaway 2: Turnover and retention strategies

We understand that retaining your top talent is the highest priority. Here are some turnover and retention strategies shared by YUPRO:

  1. Foster engagement by hosting 1:1 coaching with your apprentices.
  1. Provide weekly office hours for apprentices to drop into when they need guidance. Seeing your apprentices regularly is key to keeping them engaged!
  1. Always make your talent feel like they’re growing: upskilling and resources play a key role in this. IBM Skills and Grow with Google are great tools for upskilling your talent community.
  1. One way to retain top talent is by constantly collecting feedback from them throughout the course of their apprenticeship. You would want to do frequent pulse checks and course-correct when necessary.
  1. Be a sounding board to your apprentices. Your apprenticeship managers need to be a support system for your apprentices, someone they can come to to bounce off ideas, work through challenges, and help make big decisions like salary negotiations.

Takeaway 3: Take care of your managers, not just your apprentices

“When we are at our best, we are able to provide the best.” - Jasmine Walthall-Drakes

One way to do this is by adding wellness days to your apprenticeship managers’ calendars. Providing wellness days and breaks will allow managers to re-energize and focus on the work they do.

Takeaway 4: Emphasize coaching over managing

It is crucial to train your apprenticeship managers on how to coach versus manage. To develop a coaching mentality, encourage your apprenticeship managers to think about the ways in which they’re disseminating information to apprentices and the importance of being fully present. What does it mean to be fully present? One of the most effective ways to be a present and strong manager is to stay up to date on the latest news, both in your company and the industry.

Currently in the job market, the energy behind apprenticeships is booming. Apprenticeships are the best way to set up participants for success in their future careers or at the same company. Apprentices and managers need to work together to foster a symbiotic relationship where they can both learn and thrive.

Takeaway 5: Be a Chief Motivational Officer or hire one

Last but not least, your apprenticeship managers should strive to be ‘motivational officers’ for their apprentices. It is important for the managers to not only have the mentality of a motivational officer, but also to act as the role intends. How can they become great motivational officers?

  • By increasing engagement within apprenticeships: Your apprenticeship managers should try to see apprentices regularly for professional development hours and for social interactions not related to work. They should try to establish meaningful connections and position themselves as a mentor and motivator for each and every apprentice.
  • By fostering a community and making apprentices feel motivated and important: Do so by conducting group coaching sessions, professional development sessions, and more.

For more such takeaways, watch the entire panel session here. We will offer many more virtual events and panels throughout the year, stay tuned for updates and join us next time!

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