A hidden benefit of Apprenticeships

Gareth Jones, Managing Director of In-Comm Training, explains why not enough firms are using Apprenticeships to upskill existing members of staff.

In-Comm Training Walsall - Apprenticeship ProviderWhen people think of Apprenticeships, they automatically think of someone leaving school or college and taking their first steps into the world of work. 

Whilst it is fair to say these individuals make up the majority of the vocational talent pool, it would be doing a disservice to thousands of more mature employees who have decided to become an apprentice to reskill in another job role or to gain additional skills that make them even more valuable to their company.

Yes, you read it right. Businesses can use an Apprenticeship to bridge competency gaps or to address an emerging skill they didn’t know they needed twelve months ago. The rise in digital manufacturing is only going to accentuate this demand, yet not enough management teams understand this is a real possibility.

As part of our ‘Equip the Recovery’ Campaign, we are looking to speak to employers and show them how they can upskill their staff through this route. 

The good news is that it is a very cost-effective approach, with the Apprenticeship Levy offsetting a large part of the cost.

Better still, Apprenticeships are designed by industry so the new standards focus on skills, knowledge and behaviours, meaning an apprentice will be trained in competencies they will be using in their daily roles.

Each learning journey will be unique, and this is where training providers need to step forward and make sure they’re not delivering off-the-shelf options. 

The best results come when you understand the need of the firm and the individual, so that you can guide them through the Apprenticeship and both parties get what they need. In some cases, this may be identifying additional courses that can be added to the Apprenticeship programme at an additional cost.

In the past six months, we have seen machinists retraining to be toolmakers, mechanical maintenance engineers becoming electrical maintenance engineers and fluid control specialists developing their metrology capability. 

Organisations, such as ZF Lemforder, Gestamp, the Forestry Commission and Fablink, are already benefiting from upskilling through Apprenticeships and we’re starting to see other firms take the opportunity.

The pathways cover vital areas of business excellence including Quality practitioners aligned to industrial quality standards, Improvement practitioners aligned to continuous improvement, Safety Health & Environmental practitioners aligned to IOSH & NEBOSH qualifications for example. And, of course, we must not forget Leadership & Management.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy as there is considerable off-the-job training and an Apprenticeship can take between one to four years to complete depending on the pathway, so there is a sizable commitment from everyone involved. But when have good things ever come easy?

We can help by supporting you along the journey and learning can be delivered around shift patterns, the current competency of the learner and any additional qualifications they may want to bolt on along the way.

Companies and individuals have been missing out on this underutilised opportunity for too long. With the recovery showing signs of promise and pent-up demand leading to increased orders and the need for more capacity, there has never been a better time to take a fresh look at using Apprenticeships for Upskilling.

Any strategic piece within a business starts with a gap analysis that helps you formalise a plan, the skills agenda should be no different. 

We are offering our clients an initial skills Organisational Needs Analysis (ONA) that can used as a platform to develop a formal strategy. This can then later be developed into more detail to fully understand what an employee requires in an organisation to make them successful, as every business is unique with unique requirements. 

To take advantage of the In-Comm ONA offer or to register for our ‘Simple Guide to Apprenticeships’, please email cassieg@in-comm.co.uk. Or click here to register for a 121 Client Manager consultation.