Apprenticeships are real jobs, with real training; meaning employees can ‘earn while they learn’ and gain the necessary skills and professional competencies in their chosen career. Apprenticeships have historically been linked to the construction industry, however, the vast majority of industries now offer some form of an apprenticeship. Not only does this allow school leavers to choose from a range of opportunities, it also makes it easier for individuals to start a dream career without committing to a costlier option, such as university.
Year on year, an increasing amount of the younger generation are exploring alternative options to university, consequently meaning that there is a pool of bright and talented young people willing to learn out there, just searching for a different career path and point of entry. By hiring apprentices, there is no worry of candidates not meeting criteria or having the right amount of experience or skillset. The hiring process is considerably more focused on willingness and enthusiasm in the sector, as both parties understand the employment is just as much an educational program as it is a working job.
At Active, we’ve enjoyed many successes with apprentices. Our marketing coordinator, Jennie Armley, joined the team as an apprentice in 2015 and is a leading example that with the right attitude and work ethic, apprentices can reap the rewards alongside those who have chosen a more traditional university route into employment. Jennie is now working towards her CIM level 4 qualification and is a permanent member of the team. Our success with apprentices is down to four very key factors.
Make your new recruit feel at ease
Provide your new apprentice with a work mentor who can be on hand to answer any questions and make them feel at ease, which in turn helps boost their confidence. Learning the answers to these questions will build their expertise and will increase innovative thinking further down the line. As well as the mentor having the lead role, it can be beneficial to encourage other members of staff to join in to make the newcomer feel as welcome as possible. Depending on the programme, apprentices will learn more if they can take part in cross-team collaboration.
It is imperative in a leadership role that communication is a priority, as it helps eliminate misunderstandings and encourages a healthy and happy working environment.
Taking time out to communicate with a new employee is the key to successful employment, this allows for early corrections or improvements to be made. It also gives the apprentice an opportunity to ask questions of things they are unsure of and give feedback on how the process is going for them.
View your apprentice as part of your succession planning
An apprentice is arguably the most beneficial way to futureproof your workforce. Having a successful apprentice develop through the company is a great driver for future employees. For example, an apprentice who started off with little to no experience could train up to one day run a department within the company, having learnt everything first hand, on the job and specific to your organisation! This also reiterates the success of apprenticeships to new potential recruits and they also become a role model to other future apprentices. It is also important to add that employers can learn from apprentices just as apprentices do from employers. Having a young, fresh set of eyes looking at something with passion and eagerness to impress can only bring positives.
Encourage apprentices to keep on learning
Supporting your apprentices’ development is necessary to successful, however, the journey shouldn’t stop once they join. Your business is shaping their pathway into the world of work, so it’s important to encourage the learning of additional skills, training and qualifications so they reach maximum potential. Providing an apprentice with multiple opportunities where they can apply their recent training to real life situations is key.
Apprenticeships are undeniably a great way for individuals to enter the workforce, offering them a chance to develop the vital skillset they will need to help them improve on a personal and technical level. It ultimately improves productivity and profitability, while attracting fresh new talent into your sector or industry.
Having managed her own small business Angela joined Active in 2007 to support the senior management team. Her remit was to build a strong people infrastructure to support business growth. Recognising that employees are at the heart of any successful business Angela works to attract, nurture and retain a talented workforce.