The benefits of apprenticeships for both employers and apprentices have been widely reported, but a key (and entirely justified) question we hear from many organisations is: what impact will it have on my business?
Put simply, apprenticeships help organisations big and small to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce that meets their skills needs. Alongside this, degree apprenticeships are co-designed by employers, which ensures that apprentices are equipped with the specific skills employers need while apprentices boost their own employment prospects at the same time.
By boosting the skills of the workforce, apprenticeships help to improve economic productivity. An apprenticeship is a real job with training, with current apprenticeships in 1,500 occupations across 170 industries – a list that is ever growing based on employer demand. This choice and flexibility means that businesses of all sizes and sectors in England can recruit an apprentice and the programme can last anything from 12 months to six years. Also, because most of the training is on-the-job, working with mentors to learn job-specific skills in the workplace, it means disruption to normal working patterns and productivity is minimised.
Backing this claim up is Neil Weller, Managing Partner at engineering consultancy Troup, Bywaters and Anders, where employer-supported study has become an integral part of their business operations. “I think communication and clarity are the important things. Our students are on day release. Everyone knows they’re at college on a certain day, and so work patterns fit around that. I think there are benefits all round – they come into the office from college energised and enthused, and the same is true the other way around as well: the theoretical learning feeds into the practical work, and vice versa. We offer them time off for study too, if they need it, and they can use the computers and other facilities here in the office.”
In terms of the cost, apprenticeships enable levy-paying employers to recoup their levy by training staff to have the skills needed, while non-levy-paying employers have 90% of the training costs funded by government via the levy. Employers can offer apprenticeships to new entrants or use them to grow talent from among current employees. The focus of an apprenticeship is always to equip individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge required for specific job roles.
So, with apprenticeships offering a cost-effective way for organisations to meet their skills needs, this can only be an advantage for both individual businesses and for the wider industries in which they operate. This is something that Emma Choat, Emerging Talent Development Manager at Arcadis, agrees with.
It is her belief that the Management Apprenticeship standards are of interest and value not only to her company but the construction sector as a whole. “At Arcadis we are taking the skills crisis very seriously. In order to evidence the scale of the issue we have undertaken a detailed analysis of how many people are needed to build our homes and infrastructure to make sure our economy succeeds. As a nation, this is now the biggest issue we face. Alongside this, one of the overarching Arcadis values is to improve the quality of life in all we do, so developing people through apprenticeships helps with this. A greater emphasis on regional, needs-based training and upskilling is required if we are to truly tackle the issues at play in a short timeframe, and partnering with LSBU, is a way to tackle these needs. Arcadis views these Trailblazer Standards as an opportunity to upskill and develop our people to become specialist in their field, building a loyal and dedicated workforce.”
Here at LSBU, employer engagement is at the heart of offering successful higher and degree apprenticeships, and they provide the opportunity for us to establish new and long-lasting relationships with employers, build on existing and successful collaborations and complement the existing ways in which employers recruit graduates. With 22 standards on offer at LSBU for 2017/18 and more on the way, there’s never been a better time to take the next step, so get in touch to find out more.