Apprenticeships have taken centre stage in educational policy debates in the last few months. At the Conservative Party conference, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced their plans to replace A-Levels with the new Technical Levels. Expanding education with vocational skills and an increase in subject matter has become the centre of the current government’s educational policy.
Statistics show that the number of 18-year-olds entering higher education has fallen dramatically, with subjects like English down from 37.2% to 35.6% last year. Many argue that this echoes a greater interest in apprenticeships and vocational learning.
So, what does that mean for employers?
Too many applicants and not enough employers
There aren’t enough employers for students seeking vocational training in the market. So, from Autumn 2023, UCAS will now give applicants the opportunity to apply for apprenticeships through UCAS. Not only will you benefit from greater visibility for your apprenticeship, but you’ll be hiring someone who can add value across your business.
With more students wanting the choice of an apprenticeship degree programme, the addition of apprenticeships to UCAS will make your opportunity available to thousands of new applicants.
Raise the profile of apprenticeships across the country
Currently, apprenticeships don’t hold the same significance as academic qualifications. A former Conservative special advisor, Nick Hillman, argued that there was a “substantial gap” in “positive rhetoric on vocational education.”
The solution isn’t all policy-based though. It’s employers that can make those changes. To change how people view vocational qualifications, you can create opportunities in your business that promote positivity. Your passion for your business can help create a better environment for apprenticeships everywhere.
Apprenticeships don’t have to narrow opportunities
People who criticize apprenticeships for limiting opportunities are mistaken. Apprenticeships introduce are person to necessary employability skills, in addition to marketing, operations, coaching and pedagogy. The fact that apprenticeships cover student fees makes them an attractive option too.
Apprenticeships actually widen opportunities, especially when they are exposed to all parts of a business. Every new graduate is introduced to new software that works for a business, for example. That doesn’t mean if they move they won’t be able to use new software. It just becomes the first platform for their learning experience.
Apprentices have never been full-time students
Apprentices are not full-time students. Many employers think that when they’re hiring an apprentice, they’re hiring a student who will be in class most of the time. Apprentices choose these programmes so they can get stuck into work whilst learning, not spend all their time in a classroom!
Apprenticeships are designed by employers, as well as universities and professional bodies. They deliver high-end skills as an alternative to the traditional degree course. Apprentices spend around 80% of their time working. That’s more than half of their time working at your business.
Work with partners to produce high-quality programmes
Employers can collaborate with universities and local authorities to develop degree apprenticeship courses. These courses are for students working in your business. The Midwifery Degree Apprenticeship was produced by The University of Greenwich. Since 2019, they have partnered with local health authorities to test a new Midwifery Apprenticeship program.
Working with Universities can give you the opportunity to reduce your work and provide more value to your business. It also gives your business more options and a better value proposition when you’re looking for an apprentice.
Places are in demand – help fill the gaps
Apprenticeship degree programmes don’t exist without employers. Approximately 430,000 potential apprentices are seeking apprenticeship roles, which is about 40% of UCAS undergraduate applicants. There aren’t many places available, so without employers, there are no new opportunities. And you miss out on that talent!