This article summarises a discussion between a panel of apprentices and employers that share their experiences, challenges, and accomplishments using apprenticeship programmes. Including stories from individuals who have completed their programme and from individuals who are still training. This discussion gave valuable insights into the different perspectives of what it is like to work as an apprentice and mentor one. Including the lessons learned and the importance of a strong relationship between both parties to encourage productivity and development.
- Reece Flatts (apprentice) and Byron Wiley (mentor), COEL
- Silas Turner Jones (apprentice) and Daniel Edwards, Marshall
- Katie Scott (apprentice) and Tracey Leavold (mentor), First Intuition
- Christina Dumitriu Jackson (apprentice), AstraZeneca
Why should employers take on apprentices?
- Employers can mould apprentices and their skills how they want/ need them to be to fit the requirements of the job. This is important to continue trades for the next generation.
- Apprenticeships encourage a coaching culture within a business, where skills are shared and staff teach one another. This can help staff feel more equal and valued by their teams. There is still a big lack of awareness about the benefits apprentices bring to a business.
- Apprenticeships provide someone the opportunity to learn and develop skills where other forms of higher education, such as university, have not worked for them.
- Apprentices tend to develop quicker in a role due to the structured nature of the programmes.
- Additional soft skills training is incorporated into apprenticeship programmes. Apprentices therefore benefit from more personable skills that can help take them further throughout their career
- A combination of different benefits creates a domino effect which means apprenticeships are a ‘no-brainer’ for employers
What is appealing about an apprenticeship to the learner?
An apprentice was going to study at university, but after looking into it, realised they could get a job, have no debt, receive training, learn on the job, and try working in different departments through an apprenticeship programme.
A lot of the appeal for apprentices is that they can earn money while they learn. It means they can gain work experience while getting paid and working towards a qualification.
Apprenticeships provide the opportuning to back up knowledge in real-life scenarios as well as develop soft skills.
What are the benefits of apprenticeships for the learner?
- Access to senior people in an organisation that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to
- They learn not only technical skills but other beneficial workplace skills under the supervision of a mentor. Such as communicating with clients in a professional manner
- The practical application of skills they are learning in the classroom
- Mentoring from a senior member of staff with years of experience and expertise. Apprentices also have the opportunity to form strong relationships with their mentors that can help them throughout their career
- The opportunity to develop life-long skills
What are the challenges of apprenticeships?
- The workload for students can be a lot as they are studying alongside working. Being organised from the beginning is important in order to stay on top of the workload
- Employers need to be mindful of what is expected of the apprentice and ensure they are keeping up and on track
- Each apprentice is different and will have different strengths and weaknesses, employers should be mindful of this. Some apprenticeships for example will struggle more with the change from school as well as the extra studying on top of work
- Employers need to ensure trainees are keeping up and effectively managing their time from the beginning so they don’t get overwhelmed later down the line
- A challenge for trainees can be what they are going to do at the end of their apprenticeship. Employers can help by offering their trainees rotation programmes. As well as listen to what individuals want out of their training and try and link this with the business’s needs
- Businesses need to ensure there is appropriate support for apprentices in place
Encouraging apprenticeships in employers and apprentices
- Employers can encourage existing apprentices to learn more cross-functional skills and get involved with different activities their company is doing that interests them. This can spread awareness about apprenticeships within an organisation as well as outside
- Engage with schools and colleges about apprenticeships and encourage them to engage back
- Make sure there is access to information about apprenticeships and accessible/ provided to young people
- Ensure the mentor is trained in how to manage and guide an apprenticeship as their relationships are important
- Just give it/ them a go. Push yourself or your business’s boundaries
- Take opportunities when they come to find something you are passionate about and shape your career around it
- The key benefits of apprenticeships
- Apprenticeship Resources
- How to make the most of National Apprenticeship Week 2024
- National Apprenticeship Week 2024
- Form the Future