At my software development apprenticeship, the last month or so I have had a lack of work given to me by my team leader. Usually, this is not a problem as I had plenty of apprenticeship coursework to be getting on with. But recently I have finished it all and am waiting for the marks coming in so I can sign off all of the work and be done with the apprenticeship.

This has then left me with a lack of work and no laid out training to be getting on with. I have tried to fill the time with free online courses and exercises in C# (which there are plenty of) and it was getting to the point where I didn't feel needed and wondered why I was hired.

As for trying to obtain work, we have morning scrum like meetings to see what everyone is working on. Each morning I tell my team leader that I am looking for work to do, which then leads to an acknowledgement of that statement but no follow up. I even have emailed him asking if there is anything and had a soft no reply (or similar).

After voicing concern for my own well being to a family member who works in the company* it came around to my manager who then told me to always ask my team leader for work as there is plenty to get on with. Making it feel like it's my fault.

My question is just that. Is it this my fault? Did I take enough action to try and obtain work or should it be given to me?

* I know that this was a mistake as it may have looked like I was going above my seniors but I thought I was doing this in confidence, another question for a different SE.

  • 2
    What is your management structure like? Have you made it exceedingly clear to your manager / team lead that you have nothing to do at the moment? If it's an internship, why do you not have a mentor of sorts who should be guiding you on topics like this?
    – Lilienthal
    Dec 13, 2017 at 11:32
  • @Lilienthal Working from the top, there is an MD then an operations manager, a development team manager (my manager) and a team leader that distributes everyday work. I think from my opinion I have made it clear that I have no work. As for why I don't have a mentor? I'm unsure, no single person has ever been paired with me, just asked for help where and when I've needed it. Dec 13, 2017 at 11:39
  • 1
    Why didn't you just tell your manager that you've mentioning that you're looking for more work, but nothing came of it? Although it would be better to ask for more work one-on-one in person - in the middle of a team meeting or in email means it's not going to get processed immediately, and your lead may be a bit too forgetful or lazy to follow it up. Dec 13, 2017 at 12:17
  • @JoeStrazzere I think the OP did. Each morning I tell my team leader that I am looking for work to do
    – Nobody
    Dec 13, 2017 at 13:08
  • 2
    One more try. Ask your lead for work. If you are not assigned work tell your manager.
    – paparazzo
    Dec 13, 2017 at 14:22

2 Answers 2


Making it feel like it's my fault.

I think your manager doesn't know you already tried talking to your leader. Mainly because he found out about this from another person and not you. So it's your fault he found out this way, but not to be out of work to do.

Did I take enough action to try and obtain work or should it be given to me?

You could ask the rest of your team if there is something you can help with or volunteer to do certain tasks that come up on your meetings.

  • I think this might be my next step for looking for work. From what I've seen some others around seem, at times, swamped with work. If I am doing this, should I make sure my team leader is aware? Dec 13, 2017 at 11:43
  • that's what daily meetings are for, i'm sure if you tell him you managed to get yourself work to do (when he can't do it) he should be relieved. Take in mind that any work he assign to you should be prioritized over any work you get on your own. Dec 13, 2017 at 13:43

You could try being more pro-active in the scrum meetings. There are two cases:

  1. There are tasks that you could do given your current knowledge. If so, try volunteering to work on one of them, especially if there are tasks that are getting delayed for lack of workers.
  2. You do not yet have the skills to do any of the tasks. In that case, make it about what you should be learning to make yourself capable of doing them.
  • Also, if you could reach to your manager for 1 on 1 meeting or email (better make it email) to ask what skill set should you concentrate on developing toward new assignments coming your way.
    – Strader
    Dec 13, 2017 at 16:05

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