Following Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK is in the midst of a skills and labour shortage. This means that employers are struggling to find high-quality candidates to fill their vacancies, and business is suffering as a result.
While many organisations look for solutions to this problem, we’d like to champion one in particular: age-inclusive apprenticeship schemes.
As well as helping you to attract exciting new talent, age-inclusive apprenticeship schemes have the potential to bring many benefits to your company – some of which we’ll cover below.
1. Expand your recruitment options
By casting a wider net and encouraging applications from apprentices of all ages, you give your company a better chance of filling vacancies and skills gaps.
2. Diversify your workforce
There are numerous benefits of a diverse workforce. Among other things, having a range of different perspectives has been found to boost creativity, productivity, and revenue. And setting up an age-inclusive apprenticeship at your workplace is an effective way to reap some of these rewards.
Not only will age-inclusive apprenticeships open up opportunities to later life career changers, but also people from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds – as traditional learning pathways, like degrees, can be relatively inaccessible, due to barriers like cost.
To find out more about how apprenticeships can increase diversity in the workplace, why not watch the webinar below? And for more information about the benefits of a multigenerational workforce, take a look at our article on the subject.
3. Attract multi-skilled employees
As mentioned, apprenticeships can be an effective way for older adults to make bold career changes.
By making transitions like this more accessible, you can attract employees with a broad offering of skills and experience from other industries – bringing fresh perspectives and a wealth of expertise to your team.
4. Attract confident and proactive employees
The prospect of heading back into the job market after years in one industry can be intimidating. But, by taking the leap, later life career changers demonstrate qualities like confidence, bravery, and determination – as well as proactivity and a willingness to learn.
These are all valuable characteristics in an employee, and by opening your organisation up to later life career changers through age-inclusive apprenticeships, you can attract more high-quality candidates.
5. Improve existing employee motivation and morale
Setting up an apprenticeship scheme at your company can attract new talent – but there are plenty of benefits for your existing workforce too.
By offering apprenticeship opportunities to employees, you can encourage them to upskill and progress into more senior roles – or even retrain entirely and move into new areas of the business.
Demonstrating that you’re invested in your employees’ development and offering career progression pathways can lead to increased motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction.
6. Improve employee retention
The National Apprenticeship Service’s guide for hiring apprentices reveals that…
“69% of employers say that employing apprentices improved staff retention [and] 65% of apprentices stay working for the company that trained them when they complete their apprenticeship.”
The guide also tells us that the average length of time an apprentice stays with the industrial manufacturing company, Siemens, is 26 years.
Compare these statistics to Acuity Training’s recent research, which found that the average longest time people in the UK stay with a single employer is 10.1 years, and you’ll be able to get an idea of the power apprenticeships can have on employee retention.
7. Bring up-to-date skills into your business
Apprentices will work part-time for your business and part-time studying with an education provider – such as a college or university.
This means they’ll be learning cutting-edge, industry-specific skills and knowledge, which they can immediately bring to the job. Not only will this benefit the apprentice, but it’ll also offer a learning opportunity for your whole company.
8. Encourage mentor/mentee relationships
As well as providing a safe working environment, one of the main responsibilities of apprenticeship employers is to offer on-the-job training. This can foster unique mentor/mentee relationships between team members, which are beneficial for the mentee, mentor, and company as a whole.
For the mentee, having a guide/ally can be invaluable for their learning and boost their confidence. As for the mentor, teaching someone can provide opportunities to develop interpersonal and leadership skills – and offer them a sense of fulfilment.
Plus, showing someone new the ropes can give long-time employees the chance to revisit procedures with a fresh set of eyes, which can help to improve the way your company functions.
9. Save money on recruitment costs
Between the revenue your company is missing out on when you’re short-staffed and the fees associated with things like job adverts and recruitment agencies, the cost of hiring can be high.
However, by using an apprenticeship scheme to expand your recruitment options and/or upskill your existing employees, you can fill vacancies faster and, as we’ve said, reduce employee turnover. This will, in turn, limit some of these costs.
10. Receive government funding to put towards apprenticeships
As an employer, you may be concerned about the financial impact of hiring an apprentice. However, businesses are entitled to financial aid from the government to put towards the costs of training and assessing an apprentice.
How much you’re entitled to will depend on the size of your company, whether or not you pay the apprenticeship levy, and where in the UK you’re based. Head over to the government’s website to find out more.
Research from The National Apprenticeship Service tells us that 96% of employers with apprenticeships have experienced at least one benefit as a result. However, most organisations report at least eight – and by setting up an age-inclusive apprenticeship, you could reap some of these positives too.
To find out more about how you can put your apprenticeship plans into action, check out our article on how to set up an age-inclusive apprenticeship scheme for your business.
Have you set up an age-inclusive apprenticeship at your company? Or are you considering it? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.