An Employer's Introduction to Apprenticeships: Train, Retain & Achieve
Written on: 9 February 2021
Written by: Frances Hardcastle
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Apprenticeships are a powerful tool in your organisation's learning and development strategy - you just might not know it. During National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we’ll explore and celebrate the many ways that apprenticeships can help your company train, retain, and achieve.
Forget the stereotypes – apprentices can take many forms, from a driven 16-year-old looking for a head start in Software Development, to a Digital Marketer working within a brand management position.
Simply put, apprenticeships are a tried and tested mechanism to hire and develop fresh talent, upskill current employees, and build a loyal workforce with a thirst for knowledge and the drive to succeed.
Apprenticeships are a high impact and cost-effective form of staff training. There are many funding options available, ranging from government hiring grants, to subsidised training fees for small businesses and large organisations’ pre-paid Apprenticeship Levy funds.
You can use apprenticeships to take on new staff, building up their skills and knowledge to mould your ideal employee. For many tech and digital businesses, training apprentices is a way to futureproof their talent pipeline, especially as the demand has grown for experienced Software Developers, Data Analysts, Cybersecurity Technicians and Network Engineers.
Apprenticeships can also be used to upskill existing staff. Nationally, 46% of apprenticeship starts in 2019 were aged over 24, which demonstrates how widespread workforce development apprenticeships have become.
There are Apprenticeship Standards for just about any job role, across traditional and emerging industries. Apprenticeships range from entry-level training right up to highly specialised post-graduate levels. These programmes offer a great way to learn new skills, discover up-to-date techniques and develop industry best practice within your organisation.
With any apprenticeship programme, the training and assessment takes place in synchronisation with a learner’s day to day job role. The knowledge, skills and behaviours acquired through each training session can immediately be applied to real work projects, generating results rights away.
Businesses face extraordinary challenges and opportunities in 2021 as both Brexit and Coronavirus transform the UK economy. Many organisations have needed to adapt to new technologies and pivot their operations in response to accelerated industry trends, such as the boom in data. Apprenticeships can play a role in retraining valued members of staff to face new challenges and drive your organisation forward.
Apprenticeships are also an amazing way to identify new talent and lock it down early. After completing their apprenticeship programme, 95% of Baltic Apprentices reported that they remained in employment, including progressing onto further training with their employer.
Apprentices are fiercely loyal, and often recognise the investment and support made by the company who first gave them opportunity.
Michael Janes, Director of 1600 Systems Ltd and North East Area Leader of the Federation of Small Businesses, believes that loyalty is built into an apprenticeship, for the benefit of both the business and the learner.
“A lot of organisations look at apprenticeships as cheap labour, and it shouldn’t be,” Michael explains. “They are a valuable member of staff. It’s about doing justice to the apprentice. If you start from day one respecting the apprentice, you are more likely to keep them for longer and get better value from them in the long term. When people see that you are investing your time and effort into them, the payback and return is increased.”
Brooke Urwin, Baltic Apprenticeships’ Customer Success Director is a living example of this philosophy. Brooke started as an apprentice in 2011 and has since risen through the ranks to become a company Director.
“I've been lucky to never be short of role models here,” says Brooke. “I've always looked up to Tony, Laura, and the other Directors, who have always given me time and encouragement to grow and develop. […] Not many people can say they can see themselves retiring at the first place they ever worked – not out of complacency, but out of choice."
Apprenticeships can help you build your team, expand your capacity, explore new areas, and ultimately achieve your business goals. By equipping your people with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive, your organisation can thrive. Apprenticeships can do all this for a fraction of the cost of other skills training schemes.
Here are just a few examples of how apprenticeships have helped our customers to realise their goals:
Charlie, a Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprentice at international electronics firm Sharp, led the way in overhauling the company’s LinkedIn engagement strategy. His efforts increased clicks by an astonishing 825%.
Lee, a Level 4 IT apprentice at SJOG Hospitaller Services, took a lead on arranging the entire IT infrastructure for a new project, setting up devices and connections for vulnerable people and, in the process, saving the charity £70,000 by sourcing free software licences.
Katie, a Level 4 Data Analyst at CAP, developed the charity’s fundraising section by taking their data analytics to new levels. She now sits within the Fundraising and Marketing Leadership Team, where she discusses her insights with Heads of Department and drives significant change.
Kieran, a Junior Developer and Level 4 Software Apprentice at Pebble, has been integral to the development of new software features, working closely with the digital team at gov.uk, and helping to make a difference to the lives of children and young people throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Karl, a Level 4 Cybersecurity Technologist apprentice at Loomis UK, has contributed his skills and insights to give his organisation an increased level of information security protection against a rising global threat.
To find out more about our programmes, or to explore how digital and tech apprenticeships could fit into your organisation, please get in touch with our Employer Engagement team.
Written on: 4th March 2021Read blog post
Written on: 4th March 2021Read blog post