Closing the Skills Gap Through the Power of Apprenticeships

First Intuition hosted the ‘Apprenticeship Stage’ at Form the Future’s Annual Conference themed ‘How to prepare young people for a rapidly changing world’. From this stage, we hosted four sessions talking about Apprenticeships and the value they bring to students and employers. This article highlights some of the key points discussed in one of these sessions about ‘Closing the Skills Gap Through the Power of Apprenticeships’.

Closing the Skills Gap Through the Power of Apprenticeships

Closing the Skills Gap Through the Power of Apprenticeships

First Intuition hosted the ‘Apprenticeship Stage’ at Form the Future’s Annual Conference themed ‘How to prepare young people for a rapidly changing world’. From this stage, we hosted four sessions talking about Apprenticeships and the value they bring to students and employers. This article highlights some of the key points discussed in one of these sessions about ‘Closing the Skills Gap Through the Power of Apprenticeships’.

The UK is currently facing a skills gap crisis where the skills employers require to meet the evolving demands of the job market are not available within the workforce. This article summarises a discussion from industry experts about why the skills gap is so critical and how apprenticeships could hold the key to closing it. As well as the employer’s and educator’s role in helping to close the gap.

Speakers included:

  • Richard Kerr, Skills Hub Manager, Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity
  • Charlotte Steggall, Global Employer Brand Manager, Early Careers, WTW
  • Susan Earnshaw, Careers Development Professional, Form the Future
  • Joe Crossley, Director of Membership Services, Association of Employment and Learning Providers – AELP
  • Amy Forrest, Managing Director, First Intuition

How apprenticeships can help to close the skills gaps

  • Structured soft skills training in apprenticeship programmes helps to fill the skills gaps seen in the post-covid generation entering the workplace
  • Apprenticeships train people for a career in a particular trade/ role. Sometimes it is beneficial to start learning at level 2 so staff are better prepared for a successful career in the long run
  • Apprenticeships help to break down the education journey and make training towards a career more digestible. Apprenticeships therefore help people to make the first steps and move them forward. They also instil a love for learning and developing oneself
  • Employers benefit from staff members who are passionate about learning
  • Apprenticeship training is up-to-date and relates to the skills needed in the role at that time. Learning is therefore flexible around the skills needed and the apprenticeship program is easily adaptable
  • Teachers can’t always pass new techniques and ways of doing things on as they are restricted to a syllabus but apprenticeships can
  • This means apprenticeship programmes can more easily adjust to changes such as the introduction of new tools and technologies
  • There is not a talent shortage but a system that does not exploit the talent that there is
  • Young people don’t always understand the system of work they are entering very well so there are often retention issues. Apprenticeships give a structured programme and the opportunity for trainees to try different aspects of a role which can help them understand what is right for them

Young people and the skills gap

  • Young people have transferable skills but they do not always recognise they have them. This means they are not always able to communicate their skills to employers. Employers can help by being clear about how young people can demonstrate these skills or examples they can give
  • Young people need these transferable skills to help them succeed in the workplace. These include skills such as good communication, resilience, time management etc.
  • Employers should help young people build their confidence by telling them what they have done well as they can’t always articulate it themselves. They need to be built up so they can reflect on what they have to offer
  • A rapid change in skills and job roles is required to fill the skills gaps. Young people therefore need to pick up soft skills like communication earlier than they currently are so they can arrive at the workplace better prepared and progress faster
  • This can be achieved by working in collaboration with schools and employers

The employer’s and educator’s role in closing the skills gap

  • Employers should have a presence in schools and colleges including employability workshops that talk about apprenticeships
  • Employers can offer more work experience to make it easier for students to know what it is like in a professional working environment
  • Engagement with organisations and trailblazer groups that help to decide the needs of employers and drive decisions about apprenticeship syllabuses
  • Acknowledge what skills are still needed after students finish school when they enter the workplace
  • Engage with young people
  • Acknowledging there is an issue and that talent a provision is there but it is currently being overlooked
  • Try to understand the reasons that could impact why people are not in training
  • Help young people to know and understand the opportunities that are out there for them

Further Resources

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

Date

Title