You and your business : Apprentices
Are apprentices the answer to the skills shortage?
It’s no secret that we’re experiencing a skills shortage in the industry and many businesses are finding it difficult to recruit and retain the right calibre of employees. Recent research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggests the problem is only getting worse, with 40 per cent of employers surveyed saying they’re finding it harder to fill vacancies than they did last year.
We recently commissioned some independent research of our own which revealed the skills shortage is one of the key concerns facing installers at the moment, further emphasising the extent of the problem.
The uncertainty ahead of Brexit is not helping the situation either. The latest Office for National Statistics data shows that net migration has fallen and the number of new workers in the UK from EU countries is significantly down from 2017. With more people leaving and fewer coming in, the skills shortage looks set to continue for businesses throughout the UK.
Will the skills shortage improve?
It’s clear that something needs to done to address the issue. This is demonstrated by research published this year by City and Guilds Group which found two-thirds of UK employers think that the skills gaps in their businesses are likely to get worse or remain the same in the next three to five years. So, what are the options?
One potential solution to the problem is to take on apprentices and train them up to fill the skills gap you have. Apprenticeships haven’t always received the best press in the past, but they may just be one of the best answers to the skills shortage.
How can apprenticeships help solve the skills shortage?
According to Government statistics, nearly all apprentices feel that they acquire or improve their skills as a direct result of their apprenticeship. One of the great benefits of training your own apprentices is you can teach them the exact skills they need to succeed in your particular company. Investing time in apprentices helps you in the long run as it enables you to develop ideal future employees who know your business inside out.
Apprenticeships can also help you out when it comes to employee retention. It’s difficult enough finding skilled workers without having to worry about your existing employees leaving to work for someone else. When you train an apprentice, they tend to be appreciative of your help and support in teaching them the skills they need. As a result, employees who have been trained by you are often more committed to your company and more likely to stay with you. This is backed up by figures from the National Apprenticeship Service which state that 92% of companies that have taken on apprentices believe it has led to a more motivated and satisfied workforce, with 80% seeing a significant increase in employee retention.
Invest your time in apprentices for skilled future workers
Whilst apprenticeships may not solve the skills shortage on their own, it’s clear that they offer a viable option for getting capable workers involved in the industry. Teaching apprentices the right skills and giving them valuable on the job experience can result in highly motivated, committed workers for years to come.