The act of recruiting has many innovations taking place, mainly within the realms of technology, but the approach to acquiring talent is changing too. Angela Love talks about how apprentice talent is changing the way people work at Active.

Artificial Intelligence may very well be taking over, and instead of searching through filing cabinets full of CV’s and cover letters to find potential candidates, recruiters and hiring managers are instead using specialised computer programmes to analyse thousands of applications and CVs, filtering them by skills and qualifications.

However, just because technology has transformed the world of recruiting over the past decade, does not mean the special skills possessed by all those in charge of attracting talent haven’t remained firmly in place, as they should. There certainly is an ability to see through it all and choose someone who’s a great fit for the company.

So, the act of recruiting of course has many innovations taking place, on an almost daily basis, mainly within the realms of technology, but the approach to acquiring talent is changing too. Long gone are the days of writing your CV as you go through college, updating it in your final year of university and applying for jobs that fit the skills of your specific course you graduated from. Enter the ‘alternative’ routes to employment – such as apprenticeships!

The stigma attached to apprenticeships seems to have finally diminished. Apprenticeships offer a career route into an organisation and an invaluable opportunity to develop the expertise employers need now, and in the future. Employers have realised apprenticeships are a unique way to ‘grow your own’ talent; they combine on-the-job training within your organisation with off-the-job learning, and provide employers with an effective way of developing their skills base. The apprentice’s learning takes place in context and provides a real understanding of the working world, combining practical skills with theoretical knowledge.

Young people receiving their exam results this year have more choice than ever before when it comes to choosing a career path. According to, over 90% of apprentices currently go into work or further training. Undoubtedly, this high percentage stems from the fact that apprenticeships provide individuals with the relevant skills, energy and commitment required for full-time employment. Apprenticeships are particularly important in today’s labour market as employers increasingly ask for job-specific skills and work experience. The business case for employers to invest in apprenticeships is therefore pretty clear and policymakers have committed substantial public funding to this already.

With apprenticeships, there’s no HR manager scrapping an application because the candidate doesn’t have the correct experience in x, or the right skills for y. A lot of the time, it’s down to willingness and interest in the sector or particular company that will get them the role, the rest is taught on the job!

The services sector is a great place for apprentices to be able to explore the right career path; as there is ample room for growth, both personally and professionally. It’s up to us, as employers, to educate young people about the fantastic benefits that an apprenticeship can offer, both in a personal and professional capacity.

At Active, our apprentices have been living proof that there should be no stigma associated with this less traditional route into the world of work, and that with the right attitude and work ethic, you can reap the rewards alongside those who have chosen a university route. Not to mention the fact many apprentices still go on to gain higher qualifications.

It’s important to add that employers have just as much to learn from apprentices as apprentices do from employers. Having a young pair of eyes looking at something, with passion and eagerness to excel and learn can only be a good thing. We all know that working the 9 – 5 can take its toll after a certain amount of years. By surrounding ourselves with people who haven’t had to do this (yet) we have the ability to look at things differently, and often refresh our approaches. The benefits of having fresh and impartial talent ready to grow organically within an organisation are tenfold. So, in-line with doing things in a less traditional way, consider a mix of producing your own talent, as well as more conventional recruitment.






Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.