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How can my organisation attract more apprentices?

schedule 15th January 2018 by Melanie Thompson in Virtual College

Co-worker with young apprentice

Taking on more apprentices can deliver a wide variety of potential benefits for your business, so it's vital to consider how your company can make itself more attractive for those looking for apprenticeship opportunities.

In recent years, more and more companies have been moving to step up their recruitment of apprentices, thanks to a growing awareness of the unique benefits they can provide to an organisation.

At a time when many industries are facing a worsening skills shortage, apprenticeships provide businesses with an opportunity to take on enthusiastic, talented and hardworking young staff members, who can be trained and guided over several years to deliver value in a way that's tailored to the needs of your company culture.

As well as often being cheaper to hire than more experienced staff, apprentices are much likelier to be loyal, long-serving members of your organisation, allowing you to maintain high retention rates that ensure your staff development investments pay off. What's more, a commitment to apprenticeships allows you to make a visible contribution to tackling youth unemployment, putting your business under the spotlight within the community for all the right reasons.

With all of these benefits in mind, it's important for all organisations with an interest in hiring apprentices to consider how they can make themselves more attractive as a destination for young talent, as this will give you an edge in an often underserved but nevertheless competitive sector of the recruitment market.

Offering attractive salaries and professional opportunities

In certain ways, attracting apprentices is no different from any other form of recruitment, in that it's ultimately all about what your organisation is able to offer candidates that makes you stand out from your competitors.

One of the most important considerations in this regard is that of salary. Naturally, apprentices won't expect to receive as large a pay packet as an experienced industry veteran, but it's vital to ensure that applicants are offered a pay rate that at the very least meets the legal minimum level for their age group. It's also worth considering that the best recruits also tend to be the most ambitious, so offering more than a bare minimum should be seen as an important strategy.

Of course, school leavers don't usually look on apprenticeships as a means of getting rich; primarily, it's about gaining the experience they'll require for a long and successful career in their chosen industry, so you'll need to make sure your organisation clearly advertises how it can help apprentices gain skills and qualifications, working within a nurturing environment that allows them to learn from experienced mentors.

Engage with industry partners, schools and the local community

One of the challenges of taking on apprentices is that school leavers aren't necessarily combing the jobs pages or other conventional recruitment channels in search of opportunities. In many cases, generating interest in apprenticeships is more about taking your pitch to the candidates, rather than waiting for them to come to you.

In practice, this means that your organisation should be working alongside schools, industry bodies and community groups to ensure that young people are made aware of the opportunities and career paths you're able to provide. Build relationships with educational bodies to make sure your company has a presence at career days, shows and exhibitions, or get involved in running workshops and events or organising work experience placements more proactively.

By taking steps to reach out to schools, parents and teachers in addition to your standard online and social advertising, you'll be able to get the attention of skilled young people in your local area and create a strong perception that your brand is one that goes above and beyond when it comes to apprenticeships.

Consider the needs and perceptions of young talent

No matter how much effort and resources you put behind your recruitment efforts, it's unlikely to pay off without a solid understanding of the specific needs that young people approaching apprenticeships are likely to have.

It's important to remember, for example, that parents and school students often harbour misconceptions about apprenticeships being some kind of "soft option" compared to attending university, so you should be looking to find ways to emphasise the unique benefits of choosing a vocational pathway that doesn't necessarily require a degree.

Additionally, it's vital for everyone involved in your apprenticeship scheme to realise that the mindset of a school leaver differs considerably from that of a graduate jobseeker, and that their approach should be tailored accordingly. Interviews should be conducted in a way that makes young people feel comfortable and able to present themselves at their best, while discussions taking place during the hiring process should have a strong focus on how an apprenticeship can help them to learn, develop and grow as a person, not just as a professional.

By taking these needs into account, you can turn your organisation into a first-choice destination for the most talented apprentices - an achievement that will deliver tangible rewards for many years to come.

Virtual College Apprenticeship programme

Virtual College have chosen a blended delivery model for the Digital Marketer Apprenticeship programmes we deliver, meaning that our apprentices benefit from a range of online live learning sessions, teamed with face to face support sessions that are all complimented by our bespoke LMS System Enable which includes additional bite-size learning aids. Enable also allows employers quick and easy access to see that their apprentices have reached competency and retained knowledge. They receive regular updates on learner progress to confirm that goals are being met and we use their feedback to continuously improve their training and its effectiveness. This allows us to offer our employers and apprentices a truly personalized apprenticeship experience.

If you would like to find out more about our Digital Marketer Apprenticeships, please get in touch here, we can:

  • Help you understand the funding available
  • Help you recruit an apprentice
  • Help you upskill existing staff

Related resources

Melanie Thompson Author

Author: Melanie Thompson

Melanie leads the apprenticeship division for Virtual College and prides herself on operating a high-quality provision. She has a wide range of qualifications, including a degree in Education, and keeps up-to-date with educational reforms. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three daughters.

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