The Hub's people, skills and talent specialists give their top tips on apprenticeship recruitment.
Unless you’ve been living under a recruitment rock you’ll be very aware of the buzz surrounding apprenticeships and there’s lots of positive rhetoric out there. But, what does it all mean?
The current confusion in the marketplace has led to many businesses ignoring the opportunity completely. Choosing to maintain the status quo when it comes to recruitment and in turn, potentially missing out on some of the more positive outcomes from employing an apprentice.
The Business Growth Hub has set up the Apprenticeship Growth Service to offer businesses free to access, impartial advice that debunks the myths and gives you the honest facts.
Here are the team’s top tips on apprenticeship recruitment:
1. Give them a ‘Buddy’
Whilst apprentices can be any age the vast majority are 24 or under. Giving them a mentor or buddy who can be on hand to answer questions, however daft, can bring the best out of the individual. It builds confidence as well as credible skills and can ultimately lead to innovative thinking down the road.
2. Make sure you get the most out of your recruit
Challenge them! Nobody likes to be bored and the best way to prevent this is to make the role as diverse as possible. This also helps with one of the key positives to recruiting an apprentice – the ability to instil your company’s culture and values from day one - leads to employee loyalty.
3. Explain the rules
It may sound obvious but many new recruits don’t know the basics of a work environment and no more so than an apprentice for whom it might be their first job. So if you don’t like personal phones on desks or it’s inappropriate to wear trainers make it clear from day one. Rules and structure lead to a safe and happy work environment so don’t feel awkward about raising the points.
4. Give them something to aim for
By setting a variety of short and long term targets your new recruit can be monitored along the way, giving you the opportunity to tweak workloads/training etc. It also helps to motivate your recruit as completing a task is always a good feeling however large or small.
5. Know the importance of the external environment
Encouraging your recruit to attend training courses not only helps them to learn and train for the skills needed for you but can also bring new ways of thinking to your organisation. If your apprentice feels confident to come back to the workplace with an alternative way of doing something, it might actually be something that can help you in the long-term.
6. Chat is good
Taking time out to communicate is essential to success. Knowing what’s working and what’s not can make a huge difference. It also allows for early corrections or improvements to be made without wasting time or resource. Again it begins to instil a culture of openness and transparency into your recruit which is recognised as a key driver for growth.
7. Quiz your talent
Just because you’ve got your recruit in the finance department don’t assume their skills stop at sums. You might be harbouring the greatest salesperson or packaging designer and, remember giving someone a project based on skills is the ultimate confidence booster.
8. Recognise greatness
Whilst it’s widely seen that a benefit to apprenticeship recruitment is the lower than average pay scales, it doesn’t mean that you have to comply. Offering praise and incentives is a great way to ensure that your new recruit is constantly eager to please and do the best job possible. We all love to be recognised and who doesn’t love a little something extra at the end of the month?
9. There’s no ‘I’ in team
It’s important to make all new apprentices feel part of the team but bringing in someone who may have come directly from the community feel of a school or college to a smaller, single focussed environment can be extra daunting. Make sure that the recruit is introduced widely and remember to keep an eye for those extra skills… encouraging a team dynamic can seriously boost your bottom line.
You could have just met one of your future business leaders so remember to set the standards now. It’s never more true than in recruitment that ‘you get out what you put in’. By positively training, constantly steering and proactively encouraging your new recruit you’re developing the model employee and if you want that employee to be yours - you need to be the very best you can be.