How-to convert a graduate programme to an apprenticeship

Jun 20, 2019 | Apprentices & school leaver

ISE Development Survey 2019 found 56% of employers have started to develop apprentices to do work that would have previously been done by graduates. Lydia Romero, Apprenticeships Director at Fitch Learning shares five tips for converting a graduate training programme to an apprenticeship.

Graduate training schemes have long been a great way to formally introduce new employees to your business and bridge the gap between university and working life. But there are other options now, which may suit your graduate employees and your business better. 

Apprenticeships are fast becoming the preferred alternative training choice for many leading employers. Levy paying employers can utilise their levy funds to upskill their graduate population and take advantage of the many benefits an apprenticeship programme offers including a more holistic approach to personal and professional development as well as the allocation of a skills coach to support the apprentice throughout the duration of the programme.

However, not everyone in the business will embrace apprenticeships from the outset so it’s vital to get the messaging right and be clear about what it involves.

Here are our five tips for success when converting your graduate training scheme to an apprenticeship:



1. Find the right training provider

It’s vital to work with a training provider who understands your business needs and can offer the right guidance around apprenticeships. Look for a provider who has experience delivering not just apprenticeships but the specific standards and qualifications you’re interested in. As a government initiative there’s a lot of regulation to consider and your training provider should be able to answer any questions you might have or at least point you in the right direction. Your training provider can also be instrumental in gaining support at the decision-making levels of your company.


2. Get senior buy-in and engagement

There’s still some resistance to apprenticeship programmes, so make sure you get buy-in from the decision makers in your business. Although levy-paying employers can take advantage of their levy funds to pay for an apprenticeship, they may not immediately recognise the value of this type of training over an established graduate training scheme. Do your research, know which Standards will work for your population and understand all of the benefits that an apprenticeship can bring. Fitch Learning delivers “Insight” sessions to key stakeholders to ensure they fully comprehend both the commitment and the advantages of apprenticeship programmes.


3. Rebrand if it makes your proposition more attractive

Don’t be afraid to re-brand your apprenticeship programme – you don’t need to use the word “apprenticeship” or even “apprentice”! Unfortunately, the terms still carry some negative connotations in certain industries. If the terminology doesn’t work for your business, give the programme – and your learners – a different name.


4. One size does not fit all

There’s no right or wrong way to develop your apprenticeship programme. Make sure it fits your business needs and most importantly works for your graduates. Again, your training provider can help you to design the best solution for you.


5. Don’t lose sight of why this initiative was introduced

Using the Levy to fund your graduate training is a great way to shape your future workforce. You may even find you’re taking on graduates from different disciplines who would not have been traditional candidates for your business previously. This kind of diversity can only be a good thing for UK business.

 Apprenticeships are all about bridging the skills gap in the UK and supporting the development not only of technical skills but also a range of essential skills so that your employees deliver at the highest possible level for your firm. Email to learn more about Financial Services apprenticeships and how they could benefit your business.

For data on how employers are recruiting and developing their graduates and apprentices read the latest ISE research.

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