View from the boardroom: Simon Reichwald

Jul 27, 2020 | Apprentices & school leaver

Simon Reichwald, ISE Honorary VP and Strategic Lead for Emerging Talent at MyKindaFuture considers apprentices and the digital world.

One of the most concerning and striking stats from the recent ISE report on the impact of Covid-19 on graduates and school leavers, was the 32% cut in apprentice roles and 40% cut for interns this year.

This will have a significant impact on young people, not just in terms of fewer opportunities, but also the message it sends about their value.

Having worked in the early talent field for over 25 years, I remember previous recessions when early talent suffered severe cuts. Subsequently, a few years later, businesses had no future talent, and saw their labour costs increasing rapidly.

The risk of this happening again is even greater now with a perfect storm headed our way – an ageing workforce, combined with an impending skills gap and Brexit, will see businesses suffer further.

Myself and my fellow board members (thanks Helen Alkin, Karen Handley and Karen Luckly-Tang) who lead the ISE Apprentice Steering Group, have made a commitment to support all our members re-make the business case for apprentices within their organisations. So do keep an eye out for what we create!

Apprentices are one of the key strategic tools that will help us to address the ensuing perfect storm, and help build the business case. Apprenticeships remain the most robust assessment of qualifications in 2020, due to the cancellation and postponement of school and university exams.

As we continue to be in a remote world, the phrase ‘pivot to digital’ may have exhausted many an employee by now. Earlier this month, I spoke to a head of early talent who said, ‘If I get another call about some great new tech to help me, I will scream!’ Whilst we all know great tech is necessary, there are three other things that really matter if we are going to ensure our digital replacement offerings really ‘land’ with our target audience and have the impact we want:

  1. How we shape what we deliver – short sharp bursts of engaging content and plenty of interaction, both in the moment and afterwards.
  2. Accessibility of digital and virtual content
  3. The next steps or call to action – ‘Apply now’ may be what we want, but most won’t (immediately), so help them to keep learning. That way they are much more likely to make the right decision for them and you.

And to give you the best chance to secure the engagement you want with schools and colleges, support them in these very challenging times. An effective way to do that is to align what you deliver with the Gatsby Benchmarks and give them plenty of notice for your plans. Everything we can do to make the lives of teachers a bit easier right now will be appreciated!

Apprentices are, and must be, a fundamental part of how we rebuild post-Covid, and beyond. The Board want to help all our members achieve that and I am proud to be a part of the ISE, who are leading the way.


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