This week is National Apprenticeship Week (6th – 12th February). For some companies, the prospect of hiring an apprentice can feel like it comes with a significant commitment and investment of time and resources, which can often serve to deter firms from considering it seriously.
But should more companies include apprenticeships in their recruitment and talent management mix?
If you are keen to develop future talent, recognise development opportunities and fill hard-to-recruit positions efficiently, apprenticeships can be a highly effective instrument to do so.
How to go about it
The process of hiring an apprentice can seem daunting, however there is plenty of help available.
The main source of information is in the apprenticeships area of the Government’s website. Here you will find details on what apprenticeships are available, training providers and funding, how to advertise your apprenticeship or set up an existing team member as an apprentice.
Whilst the line manager will be responsible for providing the real-life, hands-on experience, the training provider is available to support your apprentice as well as to deliver the qualification or training framework.
Who can apply?
Apprenticeships are available for anyone over the age of 16 and can be offered to existing team members or advertised externally.
Something which is often forgotten about apprenticeships is that they can be undertaken at any stage of life.
The traditional three-phase life of ‘education, work and retirement’ is being replaced by a more progressive mix of lifelong learning and more career variety.
It can be refreshing to become a learner again, wherever we are in our careers, and is something we should embrace at different points in our lives.
Last year at Progeny we undertook our own research into the type of apprenticeships we could provide and saw an opportunity to offer our first apprenticeship scheme within our Law & Tax team.
We identified the University of Law’s ‘Graduate Solicitor Apprenticeship Scheme’ as a suitable programme to support this. Working closely with them we were able to offer this apprenticeship in September to one of our Trainee Solicitors, Ellen Drew.
Speaking about her experience, Ellen comments:
So far, the Graduate Solicitors Apprenticeship has been great. It has been beneficial to be able to put what I am learning into practice straight away because I am working alongside my studies.
Although it can be hard work as there is a lot of content, there is plenty of support available from both the University and Progeny and I am really enjoying it!
For me, as a Talent Manager, being able to offer people the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills, build their career or enter a new profession in an alternative and more accessible way is highly rewarding.
For a company considering it, the many benefits of hiring an apprentice include enhancing and developing the skills of team members, providing practical training, supporting career progression, and widening the pool of talent.
At a societal level there are benefits too, as apprenticeships can be the levers of widening access to a profession, promoting workplace diversity and improving social mobility.
Given the success of our first foray into apprenticeships, we are planning to explore potential for rolling them out across further areas of the business.
More information on apprenticeships can be found on the Government’s website.