Why it’s so important for employers to nurture apprentice talent

Why it’s so important for employers to nurture apprentice talent

As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we must acknowledge how exciting these training systems are for both apprentice and employer and the mutual benefits they bring when done properly.

The theme of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week is “build the future” which is most apt. As we emerge from the pandemic, our national apprentice programme and its providers are in the most positive of positions.

New data shows that 70% of employers consider apprenticeships to be crucial to the UK’s economic recovery, whilst another report states that 72% of businesses plan to recruit more than ever over the next 12 months.

Only days ago, Amazon announced 1500 new apprenticeships for 2022, with BT planning to bring 600 on board this year. And they’re not alone.

Here, Andy Wiles, Head of Apprenticeships at Pareto shares six reasons why it’s so important to nurture apprentice talent.

1. Apprentices provide a great alternative to graduates

The fact that you can be £52,732 better off after three years by swapping university for work is influencing even the strongest candidates to ditch degrees and opt for apprenticeships instead.

This means that the talent pool is full, and your funds can be used to pay for training that shapes these bright and ambitious beings into perfect employees – without the elevated graduate salaries.

At Pareto, more large employers – who previously only employed graduates – are increasingly hiring apprentices based on their qualities, talent and potential rather than their degree classification.

In turn, universities are being pressured to add value to their courses by aligning them to the real-life commercial requirements and skills sets that will help get them a job.

2. They can bring lots of new experience

A report shows that three fifths of UK workers intend to make career changes as a result of the pandemic – many of them graduates with lots of life and career experience, which adds even greater value to apprenticeships.

They’re also an ideal option for existing employees who fancy a change or to increase their skills and knowledge and to fill any skills gaps that may have emerged as a result of your company having to adapt during the pandemic.

Offering existing employees the chance to retrain in this way boosts employee motivation, improves retention and means that the programme can be developed and adapted to meet the exact needs of your business.

3. They spread widespread positivity (and profitability!)

From fresh perspectives to having a passion for learning, the best apprentices bring so many positives to the table. And, with the right approach and support, employers will reap the rewards – both directly and indirectly.

According to data from National Apprenticeship Service, 92% of companies that have taken on apprentices believe this leads to a more motivated and satisfied workforce, with 80% seeing a significant increase in employee retention.

4. They’re helping to drive our economic recovery

The last couple of years have been incredibly challenging for us all and, as the economy starts to recover and we adapt to the new normal, it’s great to see such confidence in training new recruits through apprenticeship schemes.

Statistics such as 66% of employers who continued to train their apprentices during the pandemic believe their businesses recovered faster than anticipated are doing wonders to support us.

In fact, 70% of employers believe apprenticeships will be crucial in helping businesses recover post-pandemic, with 72% announcing plans to take on more apprentices over the next 12 months.

5. They’re a great was to bridge the digital skills gap

The fact that many apprentices are digitally native means that they can also play an important role in bridging the digital skills gap – an issue that more than two thirds of business leaders say their companies are facing.

6. They should be paid fairly

If you’re a HR looking to recruit apprentices for the first time, this is a key point that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Please be prepared to pay for good talent. Recognise the many benefits from investing in an apprentice rather than seeing it as an opportunity to cut costs. Pay a fair salary rather than the national minimum wage and support them to realise their potential, grow and excel in their field – and within your organisation.

At Pareto, we’re hoping that the Apprentice Decent Wage Pledge, which was launched last autumn, will support this. Unfortunately, many apprentices feel forced into a better paid role offering them little long-term development and it’s just not fair, or sustainable, for the future.

Apprentices can bring so much brilliance to an organisation but, for everyone to enjoy the biggest benefits, employers must take responsibility for their talent development. If not done properly, with a trusted partner, apprenticeships can easily fail.

At Pareto, our apprenticeship programmes provide an excellent opportunity for anyone over the age of 16 to learn. Combining on the job experience with vocational training, we ensure that our apprentices are equipped with the vital skills to succeed in their career and add value to your business.