This week marks National Apprenticeship Week, a campaign aimed to bring together employers and apprentices from across the UK to celebrate the success of this career option.
Many organisations are choosing to offer an alternative route into the world of work, as opposed to the more traditional university path. Leading workplace specialist Active, for example, has had many successes with apprentices in the past and has recently appointed its latest at its HQ in Reading. Emily Draper joined the team as a business administrator in February.
If you’re recruiting for an apprentice, have a programme in place already, or are looking to get something set up, then here are a few tips from Active, who have welcomed an apprentice every year for the past five years.
Encourage apprentices to keep on learning
Supporting your apprentices’ development needs to be an essential part of any programme. The journey shouldn’t stop once they join you. You are effectively their pathway into the world of work, so it’s important they have the skills, training and even qualifications to achieve their full potential, along with the knowledge they’ll gain as part of your organisation. Giving your apprentice as many opportunities as possible to apply their training in real workplace situations is vital for the overall success of the programme.
View an apprentice as part of your succession planning
An apprentice has real potential to grow within your business, and they are arguably the most beneficial way to futureproof your workforce. Bear this in mind during training and try to keep them involved in business decisions to make them feel a real part of the team – as one day they may well have taken up a more senior role. Jennie Armley, for example, joined Active back in 2015 as an apprentice, and is now a permanent member of the marketing team working towards her CIM level 4 qualification.
Choose the right programme
There are many different types of apprenticeship programmes to choose to get involve in, from GCSE level to school leavers and higher apprentices (which equate to the first year of undergraduate study) – it’s worth looking on the GOV.UK website to find out about funding, various standards, general support and the pay apprenticeship levy. Choose one that is right for your particular organisation, that will not only support and develop your business and your newest recruit in the best way possible.
Have mentors in place
A good mentor will be invaluable to your apprentice’s development. This does not necessarily need to be a manager – in fact, it helps to have another point of contact in the organisation, for all the technical questions and general advice they need. Mentoring provides a great development opportunity for staff within the business. As well as supporting the apprentice, it will give potential managers the chance to enhance their skill set and get hands-on experience supervising others.
“Apprenticeships are a great way of improving productivity and profitability, while attracting fresh new talent in the sector,” said Adrian Powell, managing director at Active. “Our latest addition to the team is doing fantastically well and it’s great to see such a positive female role in an otherwise male-dominated sector.”
Emily Draper believes the apprenticeship scheme with Active is more beneficial than the traditional route into university, saying
“After going through the interview process and being offered the role, I was immediately given responsibilities and put under a good amount of pressure. I was instantly treated as a work colleague, not as a young helper.”