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Apprenticeships and the pandemic: Is this the right time to recruit? 

All businesses are facing the own unique challenges, with survival being the main objective for many. Learning and development can often fall down the priority list, but in order to innovate and thrive, you need the knowledge and skills within your business. Apprenticeships are not only great to attract fresh new talent into your business but are also a great way to develop your current team, no matter what level they are at. 

Here at Skills for Growth – SME Support we speak to our newly recruited apprentices about their experience of joining the group and why it’s important for businesses to explore their options. 

 

Why You Should Consider an Apprenticeship 

 

Morgan’s Story 

 

After finishing college, I was left to decide between going to university or doing an apprenticeship. Initially I was unsure which career path I wanted to go down but after much thought, I decided I didn’t want to go to university, wasting time and money if I didn’t enjoy what I was doing. Instead I decided I wanted to do an apprenticeship where I could gain valuable real-world experience, whilst also earning a living and learning at the same time. This would allow me to start my career whilst also still being educated and earning a recognised certificate which is the beauty of doing an apprenticeship. 

I started as a digital marketing apprentice at a previous employer for a few months before the pandemic hit which unfortunately caused me to lose that job. This apprenticeship allowed me to take my first step on the career ladder and start developing the necessary skills for a career in marketing. In the time I was there, I got used to working in a professional environment and got stuck straight into making a difference to the business, whether that was by updating the website, updating and maintaining their social media profiles, creating a flyer for potential clients and much more. This allowed me to gain career skills and build my confidence as an effective team member, laying the foundation for future progression of my career. 

Whilst doing all of this at work, the money I was earning allowed me to pay for the things I wanted to do outside of work, for example I could afford a car which allowed me to meet my friends to play football on the weekends or go to my table tennis matches during the week. For many, this will understandably be the most appealing part of an apprenticeship especially when you compare it to the student debt acquired by going to university, of which there is none from doing an apprenticeship. 

In the past, there were some stigma’s around apprenticeships, mainly suggesting they were a lower form of higher education compared to the traditional route of going to university, these days however apprenticeships have evolved vastly and are becoming more and more popular as investment from the government and employers into apprenticeships continues to grow. There are also some apprenticeships that are equivalent to doing a degree so the notion that apprenticeships are a lesser form of education compared to university is well and truly outdated.  

Overall, I would strongly recommend doing an apprenticeship whatever your age. Although I’ve not been at the Growth Company long, I have already extremely enjoyed my time here and the support I have received being a new apprentice has been outstanding. The benefits I have outlined give more than enough reason to consider doing one and it provides an excellent alternative to going to university if you are not convinced that’s the path for you. This is even more true during this COVID controlled economic climate where the need for relevant, vocational skills is higher than ever. On top of this, where some of my peers who are at university have had their learning heavily disrupted by the pandemic, I am still able to continue my apprenticeship gaining more experience every day and progressing my career. 

How you can get involved 

Taking the first steps towards hiring an apprentice is easy. Here at Skills for Growth SME Support we offer a free consultation. We have an Apprenticeship specialist, Suzanne McNicholas who can guide you through how an apprentice can help your business growth, showcase the financial gains for recruiting apprentices, introduce you to the funding available for all ages and help you with local authority connections. 

To find out more, talk to Suzanne and the team by calling 0161 237 4444, or contact enquiries@skillsforgrowth.co.uk. 

 

The Growth Company is an award-winning, not-for-profit social enterprise with a mission to enable growth, create jobs and improve lives. We provide individuals and businesses with a wide range of services that improve employment, skills, investment and enterprise for the benefit of all, and have been working in the Greater Manchester city region for more than 30 years. 

This project receives funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.  

The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme.  

Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding. 

About the author

Suzanne McNicholas

As Apprenticeship Specialist for Skills for Growth - SME Support, Suzanne McNicholas works with a wide variety of businesses and individuals, helping them to better understand apprenticeships as a whole, and to find the right training and providers to suit every individual's needs.