Apprenticeships Solving the Talent Challenge

As fears of recession and a more complex trade environment continue to grow, CEOs across the globe are focusing on the top challenges they can directly impact. Last week we reported that some of the key challenges dominating the landscape for 1400 CEOs were around hiring, training and staff development.

HR and L&D teams are at the heart of most of the internal issues that concern CEO’s. Talent, attraction, diversity, development: these, and more, are areas that HR and L&D are best placed to support with. And apprenticeships should form a key tool for combating these challenges.

Importance of apprenticeships

In September, we reported how apprenticeships are bridging the tech skills gap. Higher-level apprenticeships are now widely used, and tech programmes are becoming more popular as our economy demands more a more digitally savvy workforce.

Unlike with other forms of training, apprenticeship training is supported by the Government and funded through the Apprenticeship Levy. This means most large organisations have a significant amount of money ringfenced for apprenticeships, and the amount available is replenished every year. 

The CEO report highlighted those business leaders were concerned about developing a technically skilled worked force, equipped to work effectively in digital economies. They also had a focus on diversity and culture of their workforces. 

Good apprenticeships combine profession-specific skills like data analysis, software development and IT management with soft skills like effective communication, leadership for non-managers and conflict resolution. 

Apprenticeships are a key tool for creating real diversity within workplaces, particularly for businesses which traditionally have recruited entry-level talent through graduate programmes. Many elite employers are using apprenticeships to attract recruits from a wider range of socio-economic backgrounds.

HR driving apprenticeship agenda 

Human resources can get ahead of their CEO’s concerns by integrating apprenticeships into their people strategy. Set against the Government’s drive to increase the number of high-quality apprenticeships, attracting apprentices and providing opportunities to progress to higher-level programmes can help meet the skills needs and maximise levy fund. 

Therefore, apprenticeships can be a valued high-quality skills development opportunity for new and existing employees, of all ages, across the organisation to meet the CEO’s internal business challenges around skills. 

Increasingly apprenticeships are being used to create diversity within workplaces – a key consideration for CEOs. Recent research highlighted the importance of apprenticeships in improving diversity in UK businesses, with 44% of UK managers stating they were the most effective way to promote diversity in their organisation.

Apprenticeships are also now increasingly seen by business leaders as a preferred method for hiring. As we recently reported, 49% of leaders prefer to see the experience from a relevant apprenticeship, with only 24% saying they prefer to see someone who had a relevant degree qualification. 71% of leaders say that apprenticeships show candidates have demonstrated their skills in a practical setting. The shift from traditional sourcing and development routes to apprenticeships demonstrates the fundamental change in mindsets when it comes to the viability of the apprenticeships to provide solutions to HR and ultimately, their CEOs. 

For free advice on how you can maximise your apprenticeship levy for hiring, training and development, contact our expert team.

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