Like all of us, apprentices found their time cut short when the UK went into lockdown. With another lockdown period upon us many more companies will have to close again or consider some downtime dependent on their circumstances. Those already undergoing apprenticeships may have stop work, or work from home again and those due to start training will have had the start delayed and even cancelled in some instances. Apprentices are at the start of their career journey and it’s a crucial time for learning and development before becoming a fully fledged employee. While we can’t do anything to stop the spread of Coronavirus beyond following government guidance, we can try to ensure our apprentices are ready for the world of work, even as it changes before our eyes.
Taking on an apprentice is an effective way of improving your workforce without huge overheads and you can access untapped talent too. The government has pledged support for companies willing to take on apprentices, but the training providers are also required. Smaller businesses are most at risk of the storm that COVID-19 has created, and many find themselves unable to easily access government funding. Some providers are calling for the government to offer a “training guarantee” for existing apprentices, guaranteeing they will be offered a place elsewhere should their current employer need to close. This has yet to happen, but it is one way we could help our apprentices continue to get the training they need.
Companies and training providers could also look for ways to support apprentices in ensuring their learning is time relevant. Training in areas such as infection control, adapting to change and resilience and customer service in the current climate are of particular importance as the working world has changed significantly and the usual norms have shifted.
Apprenticeship Funding Options
We have discussed it before but there are many incentives to encourage employers to take on apprentices in these difficult times and it’s certainly an option worth keeping in mind if you want to support your local community and engage with young employees who are keen to find work and develop a career.
Engaging Apprentices in the Current Climate
The unpredictability of the current situation is stressful for people of all experience’s and new apprentices aren’t immune to this. Choosing now to hire apprentices not only comes with financial incentives for business, it also means you’re helping support your local community and hiring a new employee who is a prime prospect for the future. You may need to adapt some elements of the regular apprenticeship programme, with online modules and elements becoming more common, but this is something tech-savvy younger employees should be more than happy to accept.
The uncertainty of current times is taking its toll on all of us but consider being a school leaver looking to make your first career moves and struggling to find anywhere to turn. All businesses can benefit from new and motivated talent and the right apprentice could be just that.