Value of apprenticeships has changed.
Both employers and prospective learners may not untap the worth until they delve into the world of further education in the workplace themselves.
Fortunately, some businesses – and big ones at that – understand and promote the benefits of including apprenticeships as part of their team.
This includes employers in the technology sector. A sector that is expanding at quite a rate. Described as ‘embracing the change’. This sector aims to address the skills shortage across the UK by welcoming apprentices.
In the Financial Times article ‘Tech companies buck trend and embrace apprenticeship levy’. It explains how data hosting business UKFast invests over £1m of its £40m-plus annual turnover on apprentices.
Why invest so much?
Well, it works for them – with recruitment such a costly process, apprentices have loyalty to the business after their training.
Why else does it work?
Some – including David Richards, chief executive of WANdisco, a Sheffield-based data technology company. Believe that school-leavers learn more quickly than graduates do. Therefore, reaching out to schools and opening younger learners’ eyes to the possibilities of apprenticeships, is a smart investment of time.
Perhaps the introduction of the apprenticeship levy has increased the awareness of apprenticeships. And the value they can bring. N Brown, an online clothing company in Manchester, would vouch for that. Before 2017 it had 19 apprentices in its warehouse, which has grown nearly five times as much since the levy. This figure includes existing employees – a resourceful way to utilise the levy while creating new opportunities for current team members to gain a qualification in the workplace.
Like N brown, smart employers look past the labels of cheap labour. Too much hassle to organise and confusion of the levy – stigmas that are often attached to apprenticeships. As Mr Jones of UKFast sees it, there is ‘demand for qualified talent’. Now an accredited apprenticeship provider for other companies. UKFast encourages other employers to reap the benefits of investing in apprentices.
They’re not alone: the chairman of Tesco and Barratt, John Allan shares in a Telegraph article: ‘The sad thing is some businesses are giving up on apprentices altogether and just seeing it as another tax.’ He proposes that levy administration is simplified, ‘If you don’t want business to give up…you have got to make these simple changes.’
Do you believe in apprenticeships?
The deeper you delve, the more success stories you come across, the more value you will realise.