Are you effectively using apprenticeships as a tool to attract and retain skilled talent?

31 March 2023

Competition for the right talent continues to be one of the biggest challenges faced by organisations in today’s business environment. The ‘people challenge’ will continue to be a key area of focus at board level as businesses look to balance ‘business as usual’ with the need to be transformative and meet innovation, sustainability and digitisation agendas.

Developing the skills of people must be seen as a priority for any business wanting to achieve its ambitions of attracting and retaining high-quality staff. This means creating an environment where employees’ skills are invested in and where the employer is seen to provide support where needed.

As the war for talent rages, falling short of the expectations of potential hires or current employees can have significant consequences. A high-quality apprenticeship programme can play a key role in supporting businesses to build effective teams.

Whilst apprenticeships are not new or the only initiative, they are one of the most effective tools available.

Is your business utilising them effectively?

Successful strategies use apprenticeships to recruit directly into new roles and to support career development through appropriate training and development for existing staff.

What can we learn from the ‘Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers’?

The ‘Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers’ listing for 2022 is made up of businesses from a wide variety of industries and sectors, and complied of more than 250 employees and 25 apprentices.

The listing provides some interesting insights, including:

  • the proportion of ‘Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers’ workforces that were apprentices ranged from less than 1% to more than 40%.The median for 2022 was 7.5%;
  • over 40% of apprentices were new recruits;
  • only one in six apprentices was from ethnic minority backgrounds;
  • on average, 65% of apprentices successfully completed their apprenticeships; and
  • at a fifth of organisations, more than 90% of apprentices progressed into employment or a further apprenticeship.

Some takeaways

There is no one right way to implement or develop a strategy for apprenticeships. Defining your goals and managing the associated risks will help you maintain your long-term vision. In the current climate, making the most of the apprenticeships could be beneficial.

Your organisations could consider:

  • creating a specific apprenticeship strategy, or highlighting apprenticeships in your workforce planning, people or wider talent strategy;
  • whether your apprenticeship programme is meeting your expectations;
  • clear measures for determining the quality of the apprenticeship programme; and
  • showcasing the opportunities and impact apprenticeships have had.

Regardless of where you are in your apprenticeship journey, we can help you ask the right questions to frame your thinking.