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ViewPoint: Top Tips for Recruiting the Best Apprentices
March 14, 2019

With the end of the academic year approaching, recruitment for apprenticeships is likely to be the focus of many L&D managers. FrancesFrances Nicholson NicholsonHead Of Operations at National Skills Academy for Health,  shares her views on “how to get the cream of the crop”.

Be modern, social and mobile friendly
The young people of today have grown up in the digital age and are incredibly tech savvy so you need to engage with them through online platforms. You can reach out to the post-millennial generation through social media rather than simply relying on the Find an Apprenticeship website.

Use your recruitment strategy to try to engage people who might not have even considered apprenticeships yet. Link your social media posts to your careers site so prospective candidates can find out more about the culture of your organisation.

Develop a relationship with colleges and parents
Many prospective applicants will still be at school or college when considering their options and will rely on advice from their teachers and lecturers. It could help your cause greatly by establishing a good relationship with local educational establishments, particularly those with courses relevant to your line of work.

Parents are also influential in advising their children whether to apply for apprenticeships. Some may still see them as inferior to university, so invite parents to career open days at your organisation to show them what you offer. Put out information that covers areas such as training, career development opportunities, pension and other benefits.

Clearly outline career progression paths
Talented apprentices are the managers of the future and can add real value to an organisation. However, it’s important that they have a structured career path to follow that gives them an opportunity to grow. Your apprenticeship will be more attractive to high-quality candidates if you show how they’ll be fully involved and not just a gofer.

You could demonstrate the potential for career growth by presenting case studies or vlogs from previous apprentices on your website.

Offer a good salary
While money isn’t the be all and end all, a decent wage can help to attract the best apprentices.

The national minimum wage for apprentices is currently £3.70 per hour, but to attract the best for your organisation, it’s recommended you start with at least £4.70 an hour, with quarterly increases based on progression within the training programme.

Higher level and foundation degree apprenticeships pay considerably more. The latest government figures show that, on average, level 4/5 apprentices are paid £10.80 an hour, level 3 £7.37 an hour and level 2 £6.66 an hour.

Don’t put too much emphasis on qualifications and experience
Young people are not going to be highly skilled or experienced in the world of work. But what they will be is keen to learn, quick to adapt and bursting with fresh ideas.

Try not to put them off with a formal application and interview process. It’s more about finding out about them and their passions at this stage. Ask them to show how they’ve handled similar scenarios that they’re likely to face in the role you’re recruiting for. The important thing is that you get a feel for whether they’ll be a good fit for your organisation or not.

Showcase opportunities to learn
When asked what they wanted from an apprenticeship, 81% of school leavers said they wanted the opportunity to learn while receiving a wage. The chance to study while gaining hands-on experience is an appealing factor for many young people.

Employers hoping to attract the brightest talent should make the potential to gain qualifications clear during the hiring process.

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