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Apprenticeships – You ‘reap what you sow’

The view from many training providers is that Recruitment Managers tend to apply a three-month lens to what is a 12-18 month programme

Is the recruitment sector ready for the new Trailblazer standards for Level 2 and 3 Apprenticeships? Will they make the investment and do they recognise the ROI?

The first recruitment ‘Trailblazer’ Apprenticeship has been submitted to BIS for approval and will be available in a few months time Trailblazers frameworks are intended to put Apprenticeships firmly in the control of employers as the government believes by doing so the training will be more relevant and of a higher quality. Maybe.

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It is certainly an opportunity, but  there is still potential for it to be a terrible failure if the industry does not approach the issue with positivity. It all depends on whether firms can recognise the real value of apprenticeships and can commit to each new recruit on a  ‘long term’ basis.

The view from many training providers is that Recruitment Managers tend to apply a three-month lens to what is a 12-18 month programme.

If the new recruit is not showing signs of billing in three months, they’re managed ‘out of the door’. If they are billing well in three months, then they can’t be spared during work time to continue their studies. Yes this really happens. Successful young people are sometimes encouraged to fail their apprenticeship by their own employers… To keep them on the phone. ‘Short-termism’.

Of course where apprenticeship pay is not reviewed frequently, those who do show an early aptitude for recruitment get ‘headhunted’ by other recruitment businesses, and, all too often, the new employer will not allow the apprentice to continue with their apprenticeship.

These factors have contribute to some disappointing statistics in terms of historic apprenticeship success rates, which could dissuade others from offering the framework, but the new Recruitment Apprenticeship can definitely be a success if we all choose to make it so.


  1. Recognise the value in ‘growing our own staff’. The financial contribution is recovered very quickly.
  2. Commit to bringing in young people with the intention to keep them as apprentices for at least 30 months, beginning as resourcers at Level 2 for 12 months, and developing into full consultancy (Level 3) over 18 months as their skills, confidence and business acumen develop.
  3. Pay well. Recognise progression ‘quarterly’ at very least, and pay them their worth accordingly…Or else another recruitment business will  lure them away and benefit from the talent you’ve nurtured.
  4. Respect your training partners, after all, we all want the same thing, a successful, billing apprentice consultant and a great ROI for the recruitment business.

These four considerations can help ensure that the recruitment sector will the government that it can be trusted with the futures of our young people.

By Ian Shephard – a former recruitment consultancy owener/director, and has been involved in Apprenticership delivery for 8 years. He is a Director or EDO, Director Designate of the IORs own Business School, an Awarding Body external verifier for Recruitment Qualifications and one of the IORs expert panel with a special remit for Apprenticeships.

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