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Use apprenticeships to support your business objectives

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It’s now widely accepted that organisations are under pressure to adapt within the context of rapid environmental change, which explains why the conversation has moved on from what (is changing?) to how (can we respond?).

Many organisations are reassessing their overarching strategies to ensure they are building in the agility and adaptability needed to future-proof their organisation.

That’s where degree apprenticeships can play a role. Having the right high-level skills is crucial to being able to operate in this new, agile world. Apprenticeships help you to drive your organisation in terms of performance, productivity, quality of service – but only if you are clear on what your business needs are in terms of skills.

Linking your skills needs directly to those three priorities helps you build your future workforce and not only address key skills shortages and gaps preventing you from reaching your objectives, but also ensure business survival and maintaining high standards in today’s challenging environment.

What’s more, degree apprenticeships offer innumerable organisational benefits – a staggering 92% of apprentice-employing organisations say apprentices create a better, more motivated workforce, while 76% say they make their workplace more productive.[1]And if you’re looking to build a more diverse workforce, rich with ideas and fresh thinking, then degree apprenticeships enable you to bring in new talent and unlock the skills of your current workforce.

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Five facts about degree apprenticeships

1. Apprenticeships provide skilled workers for the future

By bringing in new talent, as well as investing in existing staff mid-career, you’re unlocking the potential of your current workforce, creating higher level skills, higher performance and increased agility. Some would argue that this mix of competencies and capabilities is what strengthens organisational resilience.

2. Employers rate higher apprentices as more employable

ICM Unlimited, a market research agency, found the 500 employers in England surveyed rate higher apprentices as 25% more employable than those who took alternative study routes to the workplace[2] and, according to data from the National Apprenticeship Service, 57% or employers report a high proportion of their apprentices going on to management positions.[3]

3. The benefits apply all-round

As well as higher apprentices benefiting from increased lifetime earnings of around £150,000 (about the same now as a graduate)[4], employers benefit too: businesses report average increases in productivity of £214 a week from apprentices, with 75% of bosses saying their apprentice programme reduces recruitment cost.[5]

Apprenticeships provide alternative routes for people who don’t have the finances to access traditional higher education routes. So, by investing in apprenticeships, you can support social mobility while providing your organisation with a more diverse workforce –along with the benefits that brings.

4. Apprenticeships quickly add value

In terms of the return on investment linked to Apprenticeships, 41% of employers surveyed by the National Apprenticeship Service say apprentices make a valuable contribution to the business during their training period, while a further third (33%) report that apprentices add value almost immediately.[6]

5. Higher apprenticeships are setting the standard

Trailblazers in England – groups of employers representing their sectors – have been given the responsibility of creating a set of standards that are aligned with specific occupational competencies. Higher and degree apprenticeship standards (designed to raise and standardise the skill level and competency of a range of occupations) are helping organisations build a skills pipeline to fulfil future roles. Standards are being developed in a number occupational standards, such as management, digital and technical, accountancy, finance, law and human resource management.