National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is being held from 5th to 11th February 2024 and will be a major focal point in theyear’s calendar for anyone involved in recruiting and training apprentices. In the last couple of years, NAW has got bigger and louder, and with UCAS recently launching their new Apprenticeship Service it is only likely to have even more traction in 2024.
As employers increasingly find it difficult to get in front of young adults entering the workplace, it is important for them to plan for how they can best engage with potential candidates during NAW, or alternatively, how best to use the week to raise awareness about the value of apprenticeships to help others. Below are some of the key activities businesses can be doing to maximise impact during NAW.
You can watch a recording of the session where these activities were discussed by clicking the button below.
Preparation tips for NAW 2024
1. Utilise the NAW Toolkit:
Only 37% of employer surveyed by TheTalentPeople / GetMyFirstJob use the useful NAW toolkit available at naw.appawards.co.uk. You can use the page to:
- Explore the toolkit for advice, inspiration and resources
- Sign up for the newsletter
- Add your events into the event calendar
- Post your vacancies on the Find An Apprenticeship site on gov.uk
- Find real apprenticeship success stories that can inspire ways to celebrate and share your own
2. Build Local Connections:
Start forming connections with the career leads at local schools and colleges where you want to engage with young adults. You can do this by:
- Speaking to other organisations that you work with who offer apprenticeships so that you can take a collaborative approach to talking to schools and colleges; make it easy for the careers lead to engage with several employers in one go
- Collaborate with intermediary organisations like Form the Future for existing local career links
3. Define Objectives:
Clarify your goals for NAW 2024 and ask yourself what you want to achieve. Is it to:
- Raise external awareness of your apprenticeship opportunities?
- Raise internal awareness amongst existing staff who might consider upskilling with an apprenticeship programme, or managers who would mentor them?
- Celebrate achievements of existing apprentices?
- Help attract and recruit new staff?
- Improve your brand recognition locally?
4. Identify Target Audiences:
Think about the audience you want to target, beyond young adults who might be potential apprentices, consider targeting:
- Current staff who want to increase their skills
- Other internal staff who would be key stakeholders in apprenticeship programmes such as line managers
- Career changers looking to move into your sector
- Careers leads and teachers at the local schools and colleges you recruit from
- Parents who are crucial influencers in the decisions of their children and who may not understand how modern apprenticeships differ from those of 20 years ago
Structuring NAW 2024:
National Apprenticeship Week 2024 will have daily themes. These themes can be a good way to structure your own plan for the week, plus gives the opportunity to piggy-back on other activities going on in the skills sector.
- Monday: Apprenticeships for All – consider: all ages, all levels, all job roles, all sectors, all backgrounds. Share and celebrate the amazingly broad relevance of apprenticeships to your organisation.
- Tuesday: Employer Tuesday – the opportunity to boast about what makes employers great: the range of apprenticeships they offer, and the variety of occupational and job roles individuals can pursue with them. A great day to highlight specific vacancies for apprentice roles.
- Wednesday: Apprentice Wednesday – focus on leaners: let them tell their stories of how they found their apprenticeships, why they choose to be an apprentice and the great things that are possible through an apprenticeship programme.
- Thursday: T-Level Thursday – with many T-level completers planning to progress onto an apprenticeship, this is an increasingly visible part of National Apprenticeship Week and an opportunity for employers to showcase how they engage with local schools and colleges who offer T levels.
- Friday: Celebration Friday – Shout about the success your apprentices have achieved, and the talent your apprenticeship programme has delivered. Showcase graduation ceremonies, newsletters and team meetings where apprentices get deservedly recognised by the organisation. You can also celebrate the internal staff and external training partners who organise and deliver your apprenticeship programmes.
- Saturday and Sunday: The NAW Weekender – Look back at National Apprenticeship week 2024 and share highlights of all the engagement and activity you have undertaken, including images and videos of the week.
Encourage user-generated content and involve different staff groups in social media takeovers for diverse perspectives into the impact of apprenticeships.
Prospective apprentices are most interested in hearing from relatable role models and ‘near peers’ so try and include content from your current apprentices talking about their experience and giving advice to other young adults about how to become an apprentice.
Event Ideas for NAW 2024:
Once you have determined your objectives, target audiences and structure for NAW you can fill your plan with specific events you want to run. These can be physical or virtual, delivered by individual teams or the whole organisation, and even done in conjunction with other businesses or training partners. Some examples include:
- Podcasts interviewing apprentices
- Award events or graduations for successful completers
- Exhibitions to upskill existing staff about apprenticeships
- Site tours for students at local schools and colleges
- ‘A Day in the Life’ of an apprentice TikTok videos
- Articles in internal or external newsletters highlighting success stories
- Competitions between teams of apprentices to produce the most engaging content
- Virtual or physical open evenings where ‘near peers’ talk about their apprenticeship experiences
- Visits to local schools to talk about apprenticeship opportunities
- List your events at naw.appawards.co.uk
- Use #NAW2024 and #SkillsForLife on social media for maximum traction
Promoting Your NAW 2024 Plans:
You can ensure wide visibility for your planned activities by:
- Listing events on NAW Home (appawards.co.uk) and your website and social media platforms
- Utilising appropriate platforms (e.g., Facebook, TikTok) that relate to your chosen target market
- Incorporate #NAW2024 and #SkillsForLife in your social media posts
- Consider new marketing channels such as advertising on Spotify to reach young adults
- Engage with young adults in schools and colleges. Find out who the careers leads are and share your NAW2024 plans with them or try and go into schools a few weeks in advance to tell pupils directly
- Engage with intermediary organisations to give an easy route into a number of careers leads at various schools in one go
- Join the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network (apprenticeships.gov.uk) or use the Careers and Enterprise Company’s Career Hubs to start building valuable local connections
- Promote internally to your staff
- Try and collaborate promoting your activities with other organisations you work with who also offer apprenticeships
These steps can help you plan, promote, and execute a successful NAW in 2024, contributing to the broader celebration and awareness of apprenticeships. However, employers will benefit from educating themselves or spreading awareness about apprenticeships and engaging with schools and colleges throughout the year to increase brand visibility and recruitment opportunities.
One way First Intuition has worked to increase apprenticeship visibility and share information about their benefits is by working alongside UCAS to curate information about accountancy apprenticeships as part of UCAS’s exciting developments to their website. These include the introduction of advice and guidance on apprenticeships and the ability to search apprenticeship vacancies alongside full-time undergraduate degree courses.