Opening New Opportunities for the Next Generation

Hannah Kirk

We’re coming to the end of the 15th annual National Apprenticeship Week.

This year’s theme is Build the Future. So, a spotlight is on how apprenticeships nurture new skills and knowledge. As both are needed to build a thriving career and business.

Hannah started her career as an apprentice, so we asked for her thoughts on the route and share her thoughts on what we can do.

“It wasn’t always like this. As the narrative has certainly changed since I started my apprenticeship. I’m now seeing that more colleges and employers are talking about this route. As a result of the variety of skills that you learn.

But, I do think that we could start talking about this earlier. I still find it crazy that I didn’t really know about the apprenticeship route until I applied- aged 17. 

Throughout my education, I was told that the journey was: primary, secondary, college, uni and then work. If apprenticeships were mentioned, it was always about manual work and never in a business setting.

So, when I learned that I could ‘earn whilst I learn’ in a creative sector, I snapped up the opportunity and never looked back.”

It is great to see that this route is becoming more common. Now, nearly every sector in the UK has some form of a course available, and apprentices can earn a bachelors level qualification.

Employers and their apprenticeship schemes

We wanted to research into ways that businesses can enhance their apprenticeship schemes. To both build awareness and support their apprentices.

In this section, we will talk about what we found:

Be active within education.

As part of your candidate attraction strategies, you should assess to see if you can be more active in the education community. This will help you to build awareness of your brand in the upcoming generation. See if you can:

  • Attend careers fair
  • Host open days
  • Be a guest speaker at education presentations.
  • You could even look to partner with training providers. `Which will help boost awareness around your own apprenticeship schemes.

As part of the strategy, businesses should create educational resources for apprentices. For example, videos about what it is like to join the company and industry guides on where their career can go.

Apprentice Friendly Application Processes

As an apprentice, applying for roles can be daunting.

So, businesses should assess their current application process to see if it can be adapted for apprentices. For example, if you usually have a multi-step interview or assessment process, see if this can be reduced or develop a more relaxed setting with group interviews.

Supporting apprentices in work

Businesses can support apprentices in work by ensuring they have the resources to succeed. This can be giving them a mentor within the company or creating a quiet space to complete their studies. But, a key factor for this to be successful is creating clear communication channels. So that apprentices can speak about their challenges or quickly get their questions answered.

What are we doing

Our focus for National Apprenticeship Week has been centred around awareness. 

Part of this is highlighting the apprenticeship journeys within our industries. This year Hannah returned to her old college, for instance. She’s going to talk about her journey and the options that students have. It was great to support Hannah in this endeavour and help spread awareness of this route. This will be happening on the 11th, so we will update you with the feedback after this.

In addition to this, Natalie Chapman, one of our Senior Recruitment Consultants, is an Ambassador of the Builders Merchants Federation. Which is a trade association that focuses on supporting builder’s merchants and suppliers in the UK and Ireland.

As an Ambassador, Natalie plays a core part in raising awareness of the options this industry has. As a result, she has been working closely with the group to shout about the apprenticeship routes available.

We’re also going to act on some of our research by being more active within education. On top of this work, we will also be attending careers fairs. We have two coming soon, one at Loughborough University on the 22nd and one at the University of Leicester on the 23rd.

Want to join the SW team?