Apprentices are essential for future talent strategies

May 11, 2023 | Apprentices & school leaver, Home Featured, Webinars

A recent ISE webinar discussed the trends reshaping early career hiring and why apprentices are essential for future talent strategies.

Macro forces are reshaping early career hiring and our sector is already starting to forge new paths to recruit for potential.

In a recent ISE webinar we explored why apprentices are an essential element of future talent strategies. We discussed how using apprenticeships might help to bridge the broadening gap between supply and demand.


Macro forces

There are three key macro data trends that are going to influence the reshaping of early career hiring:

  1. Changing demographics: people are living longer yet births have declined by 14% over the last 10 years. 99,085 fewer children were born in 2021 compared to 2011.
  2. Increasing demand for highly skilled workers: employers will face a shortfall of 2.5 million highly skilled workers by 2035, which will cost the UK employers and the economy £120 billion.
  3. The UK’s skills mismatch: 14% of the UK workforce is overqualified but 27.7% are underqualified.

ISE CEO Stephen Isherwood explained these trends further in his blog early careers strategy must be more than school leavers and graduates.

The data is clear.  There is a growing gap between the supply and demand of future talent, which will impact how employers recruit and develop talent in the future.


Hire for potential, build capability

Hiring for potential and using apprenticeships to build capabilities are ways some of our members are already looking to solve this challenge.

By engaging with different types of talent, organisations can hire for potential and increase diversity at the same time.

Nearly half (47%) of all the organisations represented on our webinar are engaging with career changers (those who have trained in one profession and now wish to retrain in a new one).

We also heard that 41% are working with returners (people returning to the workforce after a period of absence).

Neurodiverse talent however was the biggest area of focus, with 69% of the audience engaging with hiring this group. Help with improving the recruitment process for neurodiverse talent was shared in a blog by Meet and Engage.

Like traditional early careers talent, hiring for potential requires support and skills development to ensure successful transitions into new organisations and to become productive.

One tool that is being used to support this is apprenticeships, with 67% of our audience using apprentices to support skills development of new hires.

We also learnt that half the organisations at the webinar are using apprenticeships to technically upskill and reskill existing employees. This year’s Student Development Survey found that 28% of people, on average, enrolled on their apprenticeship programmes were existing staff.

The webinar also found that a quarter of attendees are using apprenticeships for leadership development.  This is clear recognition that apprenticeships can be valuable at all career stages.

Unfortunately, challenges persist around the stigma that can too often be associated with being an apprentice. However, the desire to overcome this and help better articulate the value apprenticeships bring to individuals, organisations, and the wider economy is clear.

During the webinar, Simon Reichwald from Connectr and an ISE Fellow, took us through the work the ISE’s apprenticeship working group is undertaking to support members with this.  Four subgroups have also been established to support in the areas of apprenticeship recruitment, development, strategy and policy.


You may also be interested in…

Early careers strategy must be more than school leavers and graduates

How Aon maximises the apprenticeship levy to support the development of its workforce throughout the employee life cycle

How to use apprenticeships to maximise business growth

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