As the academic year comes to an end, hundreds of young people are starting a new chapter in life as apprentices.
And in contrast to the dubious career potential that Lord Alan Sugar’s apprentices get, the latest government statistics show that seven in ten apprentices stay with the same employer when their training is completed.
But how can you ensure that your investment pays off and your new talent stays with you?
One Swansea based conveyancing company, Dezrezlegal, which has been driving a campaign to attract more young people to its industry, puts it down to several key factors.
Legal Director of Dezrezlegal Laura Burkinshaw shares:
“Over the last few years we’ve been fortunate enough to take on a number of fantastic apprentices, and seventy five percent of them have stayed with us permanently.
However you really can’t take it for granted that they’ll stay; as a regional company, we’re competing with the glamour of London and elsewhere. You have to make the apprenticeship really count and then ensure that staying seems the most attractive option.”
Here are some of the tips that Laura has learnt about making an apprenticeship work.
A block of time in the workplace
As your apprentice will be studying alongside working, there’s potential for work to feel a little stop-start. So before the apprentice starts studying, have them spend a block of two weeks in the office. This will help them get to know people and get stuck into work that they can later continue with.
It also gives them the opportunity to ensure that they’re going to enjoy the work experience – if they don’t, they don’t need to continue and can put it on their CV with no harm done.
A desk of their own
It can make you feel pretty surplus arriving at work in the morning with no idea of where you’re going to sit. After a few awkward moments, we now ensure that our apprentices have their own desk and chair so that they know that whenever they come in to the office, they’ll have a desk. They can also use this desk to study at on non-workplace days.
Those first experiences of the working world can be daunting – and it’s even worse if you don’t know what’s expected of you. Make sure that your apprentice is assigned a mentor who they will have regular reviews with, ideally at the one month, three month and then six-month mark. It’s an opportunity to discuss both what you’d like from the apprentice and to let them know that their contribution is valued.
Although apprentices will build relationships with the people in their team, we ensure that they are assigned ‘a buddy’ from a different part of the company, someone that doesn’t sit near them. This gives them an opportunity to mix outside their immediate group and ask any questions they have about work or the office environment in general.
A step up after the apprenticeship has finished
To stop your new talent from being enticed away to a better option, give them a better option where they are. Government statistics show that 46% of apprenticeships received a pay rise after completing, and 36% received a promotion after their apprenticeship finished.
Job security that helps build a future
Zero hour contracts… Since 2000, the number of people on them – particularly young people – has risen four-fold.
Although such contracts can work for some employees and employers, don’t be tempted to think that because your apprentice is young and living at home, that they don’t need a set income. Young people today are well aware of the challenge of getting on the housing ladder and so want stability to start saving for a deposit as soon as possible.