Are Young People Ready for the Workforce?


On apprenticeships, do you think/believe young people are ready for the working environment when they leave school/college?

If not, what in your opinion requires addressing? 

Donna Still

Hi Donna

Whilst questions on whether young people are ready for an apprenticeship ( or the workplace), or whether the apprenticeship framework is right for the young person are important and valid, the real question is whether the workplace (employer) is ready for the young person.

An apprenticeship is training with a wage. Not a job with some training bolted on. It is as much about learning employability skills and developing appropriate in-work behaviours as it is developing vocational skills.

Therefore the success of an apprenticeship lies in employers investing time into supporting and developing a member of staff, as opposed to getting some cheap labour or being charitable for a while.

The real benefits of an apprenticeship are often long term, for the young person and the employer. The success of any apprenticeship therefore is based on the intent and commitment from the employer to make it work in the short term.

Micro-businesses are only ideal for this if they have specifically dedicated the time to support the apprentice. Larger SME’s (50 – 250 staff) and larger organisations with more resources (e.g. HR) are better suited – as long as they dedicate the time to support the apprentice.

If you want to sign up more businesses to take on apprenticeships I would suggest creating a sub group of 6 dedicated businesses who have experience of successfully taking on apprentices and create a travelling roadshow where they speak to other business owners and HR Directors explaining how they have successfully brought young people into their business, the benefits it has created for their companies and the young person, PLUS the very real challenges they had to deal with in order to make it a success.

I suggest a ‘roadshow’ or at least a series of meet ups and discussions where only businesses are invited to attend, because another report or powerpoint presentation means very little. (And I would ensure the usual gaggle of training providers and consultants who attend such events and have never actually employed an apprentice themselves are not invited. A single preferred training provider, ATA or specialist would suffice).

Business owners need to see, meet and hear from other business owners in order to decide whether there are any real benefits, and quite frankly, why they should bother.

A group of ‘Apprenticeship Champions’ – six businesses who are happy to promote apprenticeships to other businesses for no material benefit other than networking and PR, but with a remit to recruit X no. of businesses over X period of time will do far more to increase the recruitment of young people than many other initiatives.(IMO).

Hopefully all of this already exists and therefore all of the above is a moot point.

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