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Employer commitment is vital to the success of apprenticeship schemes

Published 6th March 2018 by Charlotte Smith

Last year Investors in People developed a hypotheses for the components of a successful apprenticeship scheme as part of a broader suite of work looking into how organisations can create good quality opportunities for applicants. The process involved both qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys with 160 organisations across a range of sectors, from transport infrastructure to construction and beyond.

This process allowed our researchers to distil opinions and statistics into six key elements necessary for an apprenticeship to guarantee a quality experience for participants. They are as follows:

  1. Employers must have a long terms commitment to training and development

It is vital that organisations only take on the development of an apprenticeship scheme if they are dedicated to its success. IT doesn’t matter the motivation; whether it is intended to assist long-term organisational growth or give local people an opportunity to upskill. The important factor is that you are dedicated to facilitating a great scheme for participants.

  1. ‘Diverse approach’ to the creation of the scheme, from recruitment to pay

Good ethical approaches to developing apprenticeships are important in creating a legitimate reputation for your organisation’s apprenticeship outlook. Practices should actively respect and seek equality and diversity in apprentice profiles. Ethics-conscious employers will also pay above the apprentice minimum wage.

  1. Consistent and dedicated mentoring and support for apprentices

The most high-quality apprenticeship schemes will have an inherent support structure for apprentices. From having a hands-on, engaged programme facilitator, to dedicated mentors from elsewhere in the organisation, the presence of someone to talk to is vital in building aspiration and providing a valuable experience for apprentices.

  1. Clear progression routes

Organisations with apprenticeship schemes offering a clear route of progression upon completion are likely to be those providing the best quality opportunities. If an apprentice can see where their training could take them, it is likely that they’ll be more inclined to work hard and invest in their experience with the business, rather than wondering if there will be the offer of a permanent job.

  1. Ensuring good relationships with external training providers

This factor outlines the understanding that an employer has of the intrinsic value of the apprenticeship model for the apprentice. It means that the highest quality apprentice employers will have good working relationships with the local colleges/ educational establishments through which their apprentices are studying with to gain the formal qualification that makes up their entire apprenticeship.

  1. Motivated to take on apprentices for company growth and apprentice growth

These employers see apprentices as a key part of their recruitment and growth strategies. Employers providing the best quality schemes will be those who see today’s apprentices as tomorrow’s business leaders. Developing and retaining talent throughout an entire career is vital to specialist organisations who value internal knowledge as well as external skills.

With the Government pledging 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020, it is down to employers to ensure that the opportunities they’re presenting to applicants are of the finest quality. Not only will this guarantee a valuable experience for employees, but so too it will safeguard organisational longevity by developing a succession plan filled by employees who know your business and have seen it evolve as they themselves have developed.