Why apprenticeships are good for your business?

Apprenticeships, Fire it Up, Apprentice

When the Department for Education launched its “Fire it up” campaign back in Jan 2019, it deployed a series of adverts on national TV and social media, promoting the benefits of apprenticeships to young people, parents and employers featuring real-life apprentice stories. The aim was to shift away from the “Outdated and snobby attitudes” which were “still putting people off apprenticeships” and so missing out on high quality training, great jobs and higher salaries in sectors as diverse as financial services, aerospace engineering, nuclear science, digital marketing, fashion and law. A former social media apprentice, Alim, provides this ringing endorsement of his own experience,

“My apprenticeship was an amazing combination of world-class on-the-job learning, hyper relevant qualifications, with a clear potential career ahead of me. All while earning a salary.”

And despite the very recent barrage of negative noise surrounding apprenticeships, many are well-regarded by the apprentices themselves who are arguably integral – if not essential – to a firm’s future success; its reputation, growth, sustainability and profits. Thus, in partnership with accredited training providers, it makes sense for employers to invest the time and effort to implement the EDSK’s latest recommendations and create the required ‘world class’ apprenticeship opportunities for the industry leaders of tomorrow and not to just re-badge and re-hash existing training courses for the sake of meeting their levy quota.

The following shared experiences from individuals aged 17-25 show the value and benefits of apprenticeships to employers over and above standard training. Its seems they also foster qualities of personal empowerment, demonstrable confidence, motivation, pragmatism and time-management which have strong employer appeal and should readily add value to organisations. Because as time passes, employees who are conscientious and made to feel invigorated by what they are doing become more involved and engaged; they will contribute more without being told to do so and more likely to help cement a bedrock of positive energy and culture in the firms they work for. The exact opposite is also true for those who are saddled with just the menial grunt work that no one else wants to do.

Megan, 24, started a degree in psychology and had a job in a high-street bank to earn money while she was at university. “All the while I was also keeping an eye on more job training because I wasn’t enjoying juggling work and my degree,” she explains. She then saw an advert for an apprenticeship in banking and had a few interviews before getting started. Megan says, “We have skills coaches who are helping us through the whole apprenticeship journey” and that. She’s had “a really good experience”. She will finish the course in the next few months by completing an “end point assessment” – which if passed will be proof of her having the skills required to continue doing the job. The qualification is also recognised globally. She says,

“If someone presented me with this opportunity at 17 I would have snatched at it, I sort of regret doing it so late. But at the same time, I’m just glad I found it.”

{Source https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-50982063}.

Georgia is doing a Level 6 degree apprenticeship. She chose to do a degree apprenticeship after completing work experience during her A-levels. She likes the “hands-on experience’. Another deciding factor was the long-term prospects and that all employers prefer proven work experience. So it made sense to do the apprenticeship and thus gain “an advantage over traditional graduates.” Georgia studies one day a week online which offers her flexibility – so that she can do her uni work in the office or at home. From the outset, she has enjoyed the responsibility and ownership for her work and the trust put in her to deliver. She says: “[the apprenticeship has] been a massively positive experience. If you like a challenge, and want to do something different and exciting, an apprenticeship is a great option.”

Ciaran is 20 years old. Instead of “listening to everybody else” he opted for an apprenticeship which is divided into blocks of 10 weeks in full-time work whilst studying online or via  distance learning and attending the university campus. The “campus week” block is demanding “full of lectures, course work and homework”. After re-sitting his AS-levels, Ciaran realised that he was more of a ‘hands-on’ learner and that an academic route wasn’t for him. Whilst he felt pressure from his mum to go to university and agrees that “having a degree is a good tool – it opens doors”, his dad was more open to other paths and encouraged Ciaran to look at apprenticeships. A degree apprenticeship has given him “the best of both worlds”… and helped him to keep both parents happy!

Ciaran thrives in being “thrown in the deep end,” he says, as “…you learn how to swim much quicker.” When he completes his apprenticeship, Ciaran will have a degree plus 5 years worth of work experience alongside thousands of experts in a big corporation, which he believes “will set me apart in the job market”

He believes that you have to choose from “different paths and different doors” and identify a pathway for yourself. [The apprenticeship] has given me the confidence and opportunity to excel”. {Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zvqyqp3 }

Jasmine chose to do an apprenticeship when she realised that uni was the wrong choice for her as she preferred to learn in a more practical way: She says: “I was used to learning on the job, doing more hands-on tasks.” For Jasmine, an apprenticeship was empowering as she could gain “a qualification alongside unbeatable industry experience”. It gave her, “a huge advantage” over traditional graduates. Jasmine works on real-life, key high-profile projects which she says has “given me the confidence and opportunity to excel.” Jasmine is in the office four days and spends one day a week at university on campus in the university grounds, surrounded by other students. “This is surely best of all possible worlds” she says and “it has immensely helped to improve my time-management and organisational skills and has really driven me to succeed.”

{Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zjw7bdm}.

Omar, 19 – “Some of the benefits of the degree apprenticeship involve actually getting a degree, a salary and a qualification as well as long-term job security. Initially, when I told my parents I wanted to do an apprenticeship, they were a bit worried as they thought I really needed a degree to be successful. However, having explained that I get a degree without any of the university debt, they were very supportive of this choice. Aside from getting my degree paid for, some of the other benefits that drew me in was the status of working at a big accountancy firm and also the opportunity to rotate in lots of different departments before deciding which sector I’d like to specialise in. “The degree apprenticeship has been absolutely fantastic and for me it was definitely the right choice.”

{Source https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zhjhd6f}

These accounts clearly show reasons why more firms should up their game and use the levy more purposefully to offer genuine apprenticeships to train new recruits and reinvigorate existing staff. They are the lifeblood of any organisation, very often energising and transforming tired, staid and stale cultures into much healthier and ‘buzzier’ working environments.

APPs_NAW_2020_RGBTo discuss your requirements or to find out how your organisation could be utilising apprenticeships get in touch with us today by either email us at apprenticeships@fstp.co.uk or call us directly on 02031784230.

Apprenticeship Team