How Apprenticeships Can Help Close The Skills Gap

The past few years have been a particularly intense time for employers and employees alike, as both have rapidly had to adapt to a major shift in how we work and collaborate.

This has, consequentially, exposed a considerably digital skills gap in many businesses that employers and employees alike have adapted to in real-time by adopting a collaborative training environment where everyone in an organisation builds up their skills together.

This is just one example of how a skills gap can affect an organisation and stop businesses and employees alike from fulfilling their potential, as it highlights a gulf between the skills required to complete a particular project and the available skills employers know their employees have.

Identifying and analysing skills gaps are important as part of both continuing professional development and recruitment processes, two aspects of skills acquisition that apprenticeship providers can help with.

With qualifications designed to meet the on-the-job needs of businesses, here are some ways apprenticeships can help close the skill gap.

Emphasise An Environment Of Development

The best working environments are ones where learning, improving and developing are central, and adding an apprentice to a team can help in this regard in emphasising the importance of education.

As apprentices must by law spend 20 per cent of their working week training or studying, but adopting a similar proportion of the working week for other employees to develop skills to make them better at their profession is beneficial to the organisation at large.

Develop Transferable Hard And Soft Skills

Whilst apprenticeships are primarily based around training in a specific field, by extension, they also help trainees to build up a range of transferable skills that will help them in all aspects of their professional careers.

These include a range of hard skills such as public speaking, presentation and proficiency in written communication, as well as soft skills such as leadership, critical thinking, observation and the ability to work in a team or independently.

These skills do not only help an apprentice whilst completing their qualifications but also for other aspects of working life, such as interviews, meetings, networking and customer service.

Creating A Pathway To Progression

One of the biggest motivators for employees is progress, and feeling that their hard work, training and developed skills can be put to use in more senior positions in an organisation.

The entire apprenticeship philosophy is built on this principle, where someone with a willingness to learn and build their skills can become a professional in an industry, and adopting this throughout an organisation keeps employees motivated and willing to develop their skills further.

Improved Morale And Talent Retention

There are two main causes for skills gaps in businesses; talent and their skills leaving the organisation and a lack of initiative in filling the gaps through recruitment or training.

Both of these can affect morale. The fewer employees that have a certain set of skills means that the people who have these will need to work harder to ensure that work is completed within appropriate time scales, which can lead to less satisfied employees.

A lack of a development and support framework for apprentices and trainees can cause low morale for both them and their mentors as they both suffer from a lack of support.

These can lead to higher employee turnover, as employees with the most skills will look towards other businesses that can offer them more.