Apprenticeships ‘Can Deliver Inclusive Future’

People from all backgrounds can use apprenticeships to develop their skills, gain access to valuable training opportunities and create exciting careers, which can help companies across the country to deliver an inclusive future to young people.

That’s the opinion of director of communications and apprenticeships at Cisco Helen Douglas. In an article for FE News, she recently explained that the company had developed various apprenticeships in recent years to enable young people to “discover their strengths, business interests and a sustainable career path”.

Ms Douglas cited the findings of a survey conducted by Cisco and QA, which revealed that many young people in the UK are hopeful that apprenticeships will bounce back quickly from the Covid-19 pandemic and economic downturn we’re now entering.

Those questioned also said that they wanted companies to have a more diverse intake of apprentices, to make sure that people from diverse backgrounds have similar opportunities.

This kind of inclusive approach to hiring for apprenticeships also delivers benefits for businesses. Ms Douglas said that this is certainly true based on the experiences they’ve had at Cisco. “We gain huge value from our apprentices’ new thinking, cultural diversity and fresh approach,” she asserted.

She also had some advice for any business that is considering creating its own apprenticeship programme in the coming months.

Her first tip is to “work with partners who can help you attract a diverse cohort and create new pathways to power an inclusive future”.

Her second piece of advice is to ensure that your programme allows your young apprentices to see different parts of the business and gives them the skills and experience they require to “become future industry leaders”.

Ms Douglas stressed that this is an opportunity for businesses to harness the various talent that’s present in the UK.

Independent think-tank the Centre for Social Justice recently released a new report in which it argued that the government should do more to promote intermediate apprenticeships to school leavers.

Personnel Today reported on the organisation’s findings, noting that the number of level 2 (or intermediate) apprenticeships being approved was relatively low. However, it pointed out that these are an excellent way for young people to get into work and develop valuable skills.

The Association of Employment and Learning Providers told the news provider that it’s important that more work is done, particularly within schools, to raise young people’s awareness of the level 2 apprenticeship opportunities open to them.

The report from the Centre for Social Justice also revealed that there is “considerable untapped potential” for apprenticeships among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK.

It argued that, with the right support, more SMEs in the UK would take on apprentices and therefore help alleviate what is likely to be a challenging jobs market for many young people in the coming months and years.

If you’re interested in running an apprenticeship scheme at your firm and are looking for support from apprenticeship providers in the North West, get in touch with us today to find out more about the training and skills development we offer.