As well as great leadership and direction, a business’ success often hinges on the quality, enthusiasm and knowledge of the team. A strong team can be built with experienced employees, but with the advent of the apprenticeship levy drawing ever closer, there’s never been a better time for organisations to consider investing in an apprentice, and drawing on the benefits they can bring.
Plugging the Skills Gap
In recent years – particularly following the 2000s recession – industries across the UK have been faced with the prospect of an ever-widening skills gap. The main cause of this is believed by many to be a combination of lack of training and entry-level jobs during the recession, and the imminent retirement of a working generation.
Tackling this skills gap has caused much debate amongst professionals and government ministers over the years, with an increase of apprenticeship schemes implemented in key industries. Construction, food production and technology have embraced apprenticeships as a means of tackling the crisis, with positive results.
Apprenticeships aren’t just helpful on an industrial scale. For your own business, it is an opportunity to bring in an individual with talent you can shape and mold with a particular skill set, working towards specific goals. It’s a way to grow departments over a long-term basis, explore new service offerings and improve internal processes – all with support from the government and third parties.
Unearth New Talent
Apprenticeships offer businesses the chance to discover an individual and their talents before competitors do as well as open up different career paths previously unavailable to school leavers. Not only is this beneficial to organisations looking for that competitive edge, but the apprentice is granted an opportunity for training that they might otherwise have been unqualified for.
The twenty-first century phenomenon of entry-level jobs requiring years of experience has placed a firm barrier between graduates and young people and the roles they’re looking to get into. Apprenticeships are key to breaking that barrier down, attracting the sort of young talent and enthusiasm we need across the board.
Additional Responsibilities for Key Individuals
Apprentices are still employees, and as such they need to be a considered factor in the company’s structure. Whichever team an apprentice is becoming part of, someone needs to be responsible for their work reporting, guidance and day-to-day support. For members of your team pursuing a higher position within the organisation, this is a great opportunity for them to demonstrate their capabilities with measured responsibility over another member of staff.
Writing for Training Mag, Margery Weinstein notes that over time, employees can benefit from additional responsibilities “to prepare them for a promotion” or simply to spur on their learning and professional development. Managing a new team member and being actively involved with the business’ apprenticeship scheme could offer exactly the sort of responsibilities an employee is after in a promotion, all the while teaching them about themselves and their own management skills, and positioning them as integral to the business’ development.
This is perhaps the most simplistic benefit of hiring an apprentice, and yet that does nothing to undermine its value to your business. Most apprentices will come straight from school, college or other industries, and therefore ask questions experienced professionals won’t think of, will view things with a different perspective and don’t have existing ideas or processes entrenched. They may have extremely useful insights and experiences to share which transcend industry borders or existing practices.
The results of encouraging and embracing these fresh perspectives and nurturing new ideas can result in anything from simply improving the workplace environment, to sparking an innovative new service, technology or company approach.
Investing in the Future
It’s important to provide apprentices with useful on the job education, offer them your time and patience, and create an environment where they can thrive. Support is essential for their continued success, no matter how capable you may think they are. Read about the apprenticeships we’ve had at Kaleida and the way investing in individuals has had many great benefits for us as a company.