Apprenticeships can benefit companies across all sectors but many organisations seem to have a limited understanding of how they work and the positive impact they can have on developing a future workforce.
Introducing Apprenticeships can create endless opportunities for both the employer and the apprentice and with the unemployment figures amongst 16-24 year olds at just under one million, businesses have the potential to capitalise on this and equip young apprentices with skills designed around their business needs.
On paper, students may have outstanding GCSE, A-level, undergraduate and even postgraduate qualifications but they often have very little experience of application of the academic knowledge in a practical environment that would satisfy the needs of a business.
The recruitment process is becoming an increasingly difficult task for many employers as applicants have excellent academic qualifications yet fail to have the necessary practical experience to understand the day-to-day runnings of a business.
To encourage more employers to recruit apprentices, schools, colleges and universities need to strike more of a balance between academic excellence and valuable work experience throughout the curriculum, as it is often candidates with work-ready skills and experience that can help employers to deliver real returns to their bottom line.
For businesses looking to recruit young people, Apprenticeships are an ideal solution. Having the capacity to offer on-the-job training not only allows you to mould your own employees by guiding them through your company values and ethos, but will also lower the overall training costs and recruitment fees as they are learning whilst working.
The government has also launched a Traineeship initiative, for 16-to 24-year-olds who want to work, but who need extra help to gain an apprenticeship or job. Traineeships will give these young people the chance to develop their skills and feel more confident about the transition into a working environment.
Investing time into the development of young people not only reduces the growing skills gap in many industries, but also improves their understanding of working life, helping them to get into a routine, gain an insight into the running of a company and learn to communicate and interact in a professional way.
We’d never say that learning at a university or college is any better or worse than doing an Apprenticeship, but in my view the benefits of undertaking an Apprenticeship are the balance of a practical application of work- based experience, nationally recognised qualifications and earning a wage.
Gaining work experience can often be a challenge for young people as many internships are often unpaid which can be a huge burden for youngsters, whereas Apprenticeships offer funding and help employers to save dramatically. However, the size of contribution does vary depending on the age of the candidate and the sector they want to work in.
As many companies are aware, hiring apprentices can also be of an advantage as younger generations tend to be more technologically-minded and web savvy, adding a productive and competitive edge to any business. Young people are great at generating new and fresh ideas, they have knowledge of up-and-coming trends and many have an in-depth understanding of social media channels.
Apprentices tend to be eager, motivated, flexible and loyal to the company that invested in them, therefore, Apprenticeships often come with less risk as they have made an active choice to learn on-the-job and commit to a specific career path.
Businesses that offer Apprenticeships see them as highly beneficial to their long-term development as having the additional capacity will help your business to grow its talent and develop a successful and motivated workforce for the future.
Steve Gray is chief executive at Training 2000, a North West based training provider offering high-quality work based learning and training programmes across a wide range of sectors.
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