Should you be considering setting up an Apprenticeship Scheme?

Business Owners & Leaders state that one of the biggest barriers to them growing their business is talent acquisition and retention.

With experience of being a Recruitment Leader in large corporates and as a Co-Founder of a small specialist recruitment business I have tried many different types of hires:

  • High achiever from another recruitment firm
  • 1st move into the recruitment industry following training
  • Industry Salesperson or Account Manager ideally from our chosen sector
  • A hire from a different industry sector who has expressed an interest in recruitment
  • A graduate
  • An apprentice

All of these sources of talent offer varying levels of success. Even with supposedly high achievers there is no guarantee they will succeed in your business. It can be unbelievably frustrating and costly to invest in an individual for months only to lose them.

When Recruitment Apprenticeships were first announced I was really excited about the opportunity they afforded our industry for a number of reasons:

I believe in vocational training and qualifications

I have been frustrated for many years with a secondary school education system that seems set on only allowing people to focus on vocational courses if they have struggled academically. During my life-time this obsession with academic studies has also moved to tertiary education. No one needs a degree to be a plumber, and electrician or a great recruiter for that matter. Surely vocational studies including apprenticeships are a much more cost effective, targeted way to become qualified and successful in these arenas.

 Apprenticeships are financially attractive to the employer and apprentice

Most of the training costs are covered by government funding. Meaning minimal or no training costs for either the employer or the apprentice. Click for more information.

As apprentices are gaining on the job training and development they have lower financial expectations. This is often an alternative to them enrolling on a degree qualification where they would have to pay the fees and living expenses (often meaning they would incur large levels of debt).

The government has recently introduced incentive payments for hiring a new apprentice. The scheme provides employers who hire a new apprentice between 1 August 2020 and 31 January 2021 with a payment of:

  • £2000 for each new apprentice aged 16 to 24
  • £1500 for each new apprentice over the age of 25

The government will make this payment in addition to the £1000 payment that employers already receive for taking on an apprentice so long as the apprentice fits certain criteria. Click here for more detail.

Quality training is provided by the training partner

As well as selecting the right apprentice it is critical to select the right training provider. We chose Davidson Training as they were able to provide all training to our apprentice at our rural location in Kent. They have provided a great level of support to us as the employer and to our apprentice. The trainer is not a generalist, she is a specialist recruitment trainer who has developed a good relationship with our apprentice, providing quarterly face to face tutorials, monthly scheduled telephone guidance sessions and ad-hoc support. Having a training partner as part of process has been a time benefit to our Managing Consultant, who would normally have had to cover every area of training need.

A structured certificated training programme helps to attract the best talent

The best junior recruits are focused on their career right from the start and will likely have multiple offers. A structured, certificated development plan like an apprenticeship scheme can help employers standout from the crowd.

Improved chance of success

Recruitment is a tough industry and a large proportion of new recruits do not succeed. I do believe though that people have much more commitment where they have invested more. There is a lot of work required to complete an apprenticeship and the apprentices are developed far more broadly than I believe an average new hire would be. The result is a significant increase in the level of success.

I would encourage any school leaver to consider their future plans. If they genuinely require a degree to achieve their aspirations, then that would probably be their best course of action. If they want to pursue a career that does not require a degree, I would encourage them to look at apprenticeship schemes, there are a huge array of choices and levels available. With an apprenticeship they will have a job and an income, their tuition costs will be covered by the government and employer and they will not be saddled with large debt.

I would also encourage employers to consider introducing an apprenticeship program to their business to help win the war for talent, reduce costs and invest in the future. It is pretty rare for a new recruit to break even in their first year, however, our recent apprentice provided us with a 137% return on invest in their first 9 months. All in all, a pretty amazing result for all parties.

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