Gaps in the candidate market can be problematic for employers; finding candidates for difficult to fill roles can be costly and time consuming, in addition to this problem, the candidates that are found may lack the skills required due to desperation to fill the role.
The outcome of an underqualified workforce is obvious: below average performance and added time to train are just two by-products. Furthermore, the pool of candidates is growing, in England the number of people entering apprenticeships in 2014/15 was almost 500,000, and this is 50,000 more than the previous year (TES).
Plugging the Skills Gap
Using apprentices is one way to overcome these issues as, whilst the time and cost to train continue, the positives outweigh the negatives. Primarily, an apprentice can be taught with either specific skills in mind or a more holistic overtone and throughout, and will not demand the same steep pay as an experienced professional. In short, an apprentice can be moulded to best suit a company’s needs; where there is a gap in skills, an apprentice can be taught how to bridge it, where conversely they can be taught skills necessary to the company as a whole.
Loyalty to a Brand
By using apprentices, a skilled and loyal workforce is built that will stay within the company for longer. Not only do some apprenticeships last up to 4 years, but a level of loyalty to a business’ brand can be built that will encourage them to stay within the company for longer; with around 75% of apprentices staying on with their employer after 12 months (apprenticeship.connect). On the contrary, graduates and professionals will not necessarily have an allegiance to a company and may only use it as a stepping stone.
Making Financial Sense
Some employers like Bae Systems, the multinational defence giant, are recognising the financial benefits of employing apprentices. In November 2015, Bae announced that it would cut 370 jobs in 2016 however that it also intended to recruit 680 apprentices from a range of education backgrounds, from higher education to Master’s Degree level. This initiative is part of Bae Systems’ on going ethos of nurturing and growing talent.
Government grants are available for some businesses in order to help them have the means to accommodate apprentices; however there are a number of other financial rewards for taking an apprentice on. An apprentice is forecast by the government to bring in an extra £1,500 per annum whereas when qualified, they are predicted to attract anywhere between £10,000 and £20,000 depending on the sector.
British Consumer Trends
Studies conducted by the government have found that the British consumer is much more likely to purchase goods made by apprentices and will pay higher rates for services. The study found that a quarter of all consumers will actively change their buying habits to purchase goods from an employer that has an apprentice working for them whereas they are happy to spend an extra 2% on services.
Hiring an apprentice will overcome certain problems with recruitment such as skills shortages and staff retention as the skills are trained in-house but the positive effects reverberate through many aspects of business. The number of those looking to join apprenticeships is growing as an alternative to university educations meanwhile the attitude of the British public is growing favourably to the idea to the point where consumer trends lean towards the idea of helping out companies that are investing in the country’s future.Download the infographic here