Making a success of apprenticeships

May 10, 2018 | Apprentices & school leaver

Simon Reichwald of MyKindaFuture and ISE Honory Vice President, shares insight to a recent breakfast event in Birmingham on the hot topic of the moment, Apprenticeships.

Leading employers attended from a range of sectors. Key topics of discussion included:

  • How to deliver a great attraction campaign when there are so many schools and colleges
  • How to get more of the right quality apprentice applications
  • What could a bespoke apprentice recruitment process look like, which delivers the behaviours and values you need, whilst being candidate friendly
  • How employers employ young people, is not always what young people want, so how do we change how we recruit and employ them
  • How to close that gap to ensure that we get the talent we need and that they are as productive as possible
  • The skills of the future and whose responsibility is it to develop them
  • The variable vendor quality when it comes to training providers and how to ensure that you get the bes
  • Levy transfer, and only being able to provide it to one supplier partner

To address some of these issues, employers shared the following suggestions:

  • Bring apprenticeships to life in a way that young people can understand and get excited about them by having apprentices and managers share insight and experiences, face to face or digitally.
  • Use strength-based recruitment as young people don’t tend to have the experiences needed to evidence competencies; this approach also supports diversity.
  • Go to market earlier than spring in the year that you want them to start. Even as early as summer term of Year 12. Try to align to UCAS timings, as this is what schools know and understand.
  • Market to parents – 45% of major employers do – such as parent guides, insight/open days for students and parents, and digital marketing of roles to parents via LinkedIn and Facebook groups. 

When it came to apprentices being ready for the world of work, the topic of resilience and how it can be developed was discussed at length. 

Work experience was suggested as powerful, but employers need to prepare potential alternatives as the number of 16 years old with part time jobs has declined by half in 20 years. 

Another potential solution was that students should be encouraged to try new things, fail and reflect in a supported environment.

To support employers in further understanding attracting and recruiting apprentices, MyKindaFuture will be running numerous cross-sector events across the UK to discuss the above, but also looking at: 

  • National Apprenticeship Week that takes place in March – is this too late and if so, when should it be?
  • How can employers provide more opportunities for young people to fail and be supported, both before job hunting and when they join as an apprentice, to build resilience and ultimate success?
  • Line manager training – an area the recent ISE Development Survey flagged as of growing focus with employers. 
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