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8 ideas to make your apprentice attraction work harder
6 March 2019
To mark National Apprenticeship Week Grahame Jones of Soukias Jones Design uncovers the secrets to attracting students to apprenticeships.
Eighteen months ago we developed the new branding for the Institute of Student Employers. This gave us valuable insight into the changing patterns of student recruitment, not least the growing popularity of apprenticeships. With this insight, we decided to investigate how professional services firms are performing when it comes to attracting apprentices.
8 ideas for success
1. Make the effort to understand them: Generation Z (those born from 1995 onwards) live for social media, particularly on smartphones. These young people seek out knowledge and know-how, respond to visual material, and create and share content. They are technologically savvy, socially and globally switched on, and entrepreneurial. They also crave relevance and authenticity.
4. Embrace social media: Teenagers live on, and for, social media. Embrace it too. Many firms are using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to reach potential candidates. The truly digitally savvy are delivering ‘in the moment’ content, such as Facebook Live streams and Instagram Stories.
5. Map journeys from school to work: Students face many choices: apprenticeships, university, further education college and employment. It can be hard to know which route is the best one to take. Make life easy for them. Map out their journeys through Year 10 to Year 13 and provide them with the relevant information they need to make the right decisions every step of the way.
6. Influence the influencers: Parents and schools’ career advisers play an important role in guiding student career choices. Many of these groups have a university heritage and bias, and often have misconceptions about apprenticeships as a ‘second’ choice. From our findings, only a few progressive firms attempted to bust these myths.
7. Make them feel looked after: For students with little or no experience of the workplace, offer support and guidance during the transition to work and the on-boarding process. Be clear about the levels of pastoral care, mentoring, and career and personal development they will receive. Reassurance and education are important when students are making their choices.
8. Make the diversity connection: A key way for businesses to make the apprenticeship route appealing to students is to show how committed they are to developing talent from different sources. But, surprisingly, we found that most firms are weak at making this connection with diversity and inclusion when positioning their apprenticeship credentials. Showing the diversity and inclusion of apprenticeship candidates through case studies – and stressing the importance during the engagement and recruitment process – can only help to attract students (and their parents) to the apprenticeship route.
Our research tells us that there has been a transition away from ‘Why do you