It was great to read how well some Gloucester based businesses are doing in providing work experience opportunities to young people via Apprenticeships and the ‘Skills for Stroud’ team. According to Southwest business news, ‘overall 22 businesses, four schools and one college have been awarded either a Work Experience or Employability Charter award over the last 18 months. They range from large international companies like Renishaw plc, to small independent companies such as greengrocers P&S Fruit and Veg.
Grow your own
At citrusHR Consulting we’ve helped more and more of our clients take advantage of today’s keen young school leavers, by designing apprenticeship roles and seeing great returns. Apprenticeships and work experience opportunities are an excellent way to ‘grow your own’ enabling you to mould your new recruits to your way of working.
In the beginning there is no doubt that it’s a timely process designing a role for the school leaver market, understanding the college requirements and which college courses are the best match (who to approach) planning of the induction and training. But over the last 12 months we’ve seen IT Apprentices, Farm Workers, administrators, customer service, and hair stylists – being recruited via an apprenticeship scheme, many of whom have been appointed to permanent roles on completion of their college course or work experience/apprenticeship.
How to ensure your Apprenticeships programme is a success
The key to a successful training programme is almost certainly in the planning, you’ll need;
- A robust recruitment process – if you can take the time to get an independent person on the panel to give a really objective view, this can be invaluable.
- To set expectations from the start -the working environment, don’t interview in an office without doing a tour of the working area, if the role is in a factory or manufacturing environment.
- To understand the college requirements- how much study leave is required, what they need to achieve outside of work, as well as in.
- To ensure your contract of employment is up to date, and is for the period of the training only.
- A structured training plan- this is crucial, many school leavers aren’t used to being in a ‘professional environment, so you need to explain the very basics, what to wear (or what not to wear as the case may be!), how to answer the telephone politely, how to interact positively with colleagues.
- To set clear goals – giving your new young workers small achievable targets in the beginning, review the goals and tailor to the workers abilities if need be. Remember this process is about giving young people confidence to grow, so lots of praise – where due.
- To be quick to give constructive feedback – this is a two way learning process, always check understanding at every stage of induction and training.
- To think long term – plan financially for the growth of the role, if you want to genuinely commit to providing career opportunities for young people, design a career path, not just a job.
And don’t forget that Apprentices have different minimum wage rates, and there is often extra funding available so they really can be a cost effective solution for small businesses.
If this is something you are considering for your business get in touch (email us here) discuss how we can help you get everything in place, or alternatively get in touch with your local college or Skills for Stroud team.