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Training the next generation of talent in your organisation - Apprenticeships

It probably shouldn’t come as a massive surprise that even in this 13th annual National Apprenticeship Week (3-7 February), our focus is drawn to opportunities to recruit and train the next generation of talent into our organisations.  

As part of this year’s campaign we’ll be encouraged to ‘Look Beyond’, and no doubt asked to consider the value that a diverse workforce underpinned by recruiting young people as apprentices will bring. We’ll be reminded of the benefits of injecting new talent with a fresh perspective, filling our skills gaps, increasing productivity, improving staff retention, minimising downtime through ‘on the job’ training, and of course some of the financial support and grants available for employers to help with recruitment and training. 

Those advantages are all legitimate and we’d encourage employers from every business sector to explore offering an apprenticeship to bring new talent into the business.  

But maybe 2020 is the year we should seriously entertain using apprenticeships not just to recruit new talent, but to nurture and develop the talent we’ve already got.  

That shouldn’t take us by surprise. We’ve been told for years through employer forums, consultations, and business engagement events that the nature of apprenticeships is changing. We’ve had significant reform in the way that training is funded and designed, all with us as employers at the centre of the process because at the end of the day we want apprenticeships to benefit our bottom line.  

What’s emerged is new thinking that re-purposes ‘apprenticeship’ as an opportunity to gain a qualification through intensive and focused training. Surely something we want for all of our staff? 

This presents us with two, not insurmountable, challenges.  

Firstly, as apprentices need to spend 20% of their time ‘off-the-job’ focusing on their training, we’ll have concerns about taking an experienced member of staff out of the business. The solution? Stay focused on the long-term. By developing that person you’re more likely to increase their productivity and retain their services for years to come.  

Secondly, because of historical connotations, skilled staff may think that it’s a step backwards in their career. This isn’t the case. Their job title, contract and terms and conditions all stay intact. The only change is the nature of the time you’re investing in their training.  

So this National Apprenticeship Week don’t forget to ‘Look Beyond’ the preconceptions and give some thought to your existing staff.

Want to know more about completing your own apprenticeship? Take a look at our apprenticeships page for further information.

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