Safran Nacelles

Rolling out a bespoke mentoring programme to support apprentices.


Case Study

The Customer

Safran is one of the world’s two leading aircraft engine nacelle producers. They work with the leading manufacturers of both regional and business jets: Sukhoi, Embraer, Dassault, Bombardier, Gulfstream, etc. On mainline commercial jets, Safran provides nacelles for Airbus and Boeing, all the way up to the Airbus A380 super-jumbo.

The Vision

Development has traditionally been invested at a senior level and now Safran wanted to invest in the front line to enhance the roles and responsibilities of employees who supported Apprentices. The apprenticeship investment supports a major part in the recruitment and retention of a future skilled workforce.

Given the cultural impact of such development the company wished to invest in a mentoring programme that supported those in the mentoring role whilst also enhancing the experience of the younger workforce beyond the key skills base.

The Discovery

Following a diagnostic it was agreed that, to be successful, the investment should operate on multiple levels to ensure transfer of learning, impact and commitment.

Managers needed to be involved to support the mentors in their new role. Mentors would be selected based on their passion to be involved and recommendations based on expertise, attitude and behaviours displayed.

Apprentices would be involved later in the development programme to develop their own understanding of the role and the organisation’s expectations.

The Process

The Client Manager met with a number of key personnel to ensure the design solution was realistic, achievable and blended well with current leadership approaches that had already seen much investment. It was important to embrace current organisational cultural aspirations and leadership values and competencies that had recently been rolled out across the wider business.

Key to the design was the opportunity to review and evaluate impact at the varying stages and levels, so ensuring focus groups and one-to-one sessions were part of the feedback process added value to the solution.

The Solution

  • A programme was designed that encompassed all levels. 25-30 Managers undertook a one-day programme to understand the mentoring role more fully and to experience the type of learning the mentors would undertake
  • Following selection, 48 Ambassador Mentors initially undertook two days of training to focus on their own skills, attitudes and behaviours and how the role could be enhanced. Each day was separated by a month to allow for learning consolidation, and personal reflection
  • The first phase saw 40 Apprentices attending an away day supported by managers and mentors so they too understood the role of the mentor and their own part in enhancing their development through this relationship
  • Three focus groups were facilitated with managers, mentors and apprentices and key performance improvements were identified plus a range of continuous improvement suggestions that have enabled the programme to continue to a second and third stage.

The Results

  • Feedback from focus groups has consistently suggested that a number of new processes are now in place and that the role is taken seriously across the business. There are many reports of improved attitudes and behaviours in the Apprentices and that mentors now feel more able to challenge unacceptable behaviour and highlight good performance. A number of the 4th year Apprentices are keen to develop into an Ambassador role suggesting that they see this not only as a developmental opportunity but that they value the support and investment made
  • A network of 48 Ambassador Mentors exists and meets, as a whole, twice a year to reflect on progress to date and celebrate their efforts
  • New evaluation and review paperwork exists and the mentor is a key part in the feedback process
  • A monthly drop-in meeting for Ambassadors is facilitated by the Training team and is an opportunity for mentors to source peer support and learn about opportunities for involvement in other mentoring activities
  • A number of mentors have been involved in the recruitment of new Apprentices, more have been involved in the Apprentices day and some will support the 1st year out-of-bounds residential event
  • A Lead Ambassador programme is being developed to provide an opportunity to take the learning to a higher level
  • The company has invested further in shared CPD sessions and continues to offer learning to the wider network to ensure the programme continues to make great impact.