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Recruiting an Apprenticeship Team

It’s estimated that 1000s of end point assessors will be needed alone with the change in apprenticeship standards

With the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and the change in standards, there is a growing demand for skilled and knowledgeable talent such as apprenticeship managers, tutors, levy consultants, learning and development managers and student recruiters.

It’s estimated that 1000s of end point assessors will be needed alone with the change in apprenticeship standards. However, there are a lot of factors currently at play which is making hiring talent in this industry very difficult to do.

  1. The expectations upon these roles is increasing. For example, apprenticeship managers are often expected to be student recruiters whilst assessors can be expected to act as mentors and tutors. This means a very specific skill set is often sought.
  2. Salaries are not increasing proportionately meaning other aspects of recruitment with higher salaries can prove more attractive.
  3. Political changes and training providers going bust can make it seemingly look like a volatile industry and mean other ‘safer’ looking roles can be more appealing.

All this means recruiting talent in this sector can prove very difficult and it’s why every month I receive messages from employer and training provider contacts asking if they know of any potential candidates.

So, I’ve put together some key tips to hopefully make your next search that little easier.

Think beyond your sector. Often many employers want to source talent that have both experience of apprenticeships and within their specific industry, which can be difficult to source.

I’d question this and argue if the more important factor is that they understand apprenticeships and the rest they can learn within your organisation as part of a thorough on-boarding strategy. Hiring people from other industries can also bring a different a more diverse way of thinking.

Consider hiring a contractor. There are many people in the space who have become very knowledgeable and accordingly have chosen to go freelance.

They may seem expensive on the face of it but depending on your aims they may actually prove to be a more cost and time effective solution. They will be often be available to start immediately which can be very advantageous within this fast moving sector.

Get specialized. Generic job boards will lead to generic job applications, get specialised with specific job boards and networks such as the Institute for Student Employers, FE Jobs, National Skills Agency, AOC Jobs and AELP | association of employment and learning providers.

Batch your hiring. You’ll be going to a lot of effort to find your apprenticeship support staff so think about your future needs and see if you can batch your hiring in order to benefit from economies of scale and bulk discounts on job boards.

Think national. When you combine the need for sector experience, knowledge of apprenticeships and a geographic radius, it doesn’t leave a particularly large talent pool within a given area. Question if you can hire a virtual staff member to broaden your potential talent pool.

Use your networks. It never fails to amaze me how many people know each other in this sector. Use your networks by asking around for recommendations, posting on LinkedIn and finding well connected people who can help you spread the word about your vacancies. Just be careful not to rely solely on your network as it can prove limiting in your potential search.

Spencer Mehlman from National Skills Agency commented:

“For the apprenticeship sector to continue to grow and develop it requires a new route to access these hard to reach experienced apprenticeship professionals.

“The level of demand is increasing rapidly as more and more providers and employers wish to recruit and develop apprentices and young talent and discover they don’t have the required skill set or available resource currently in-house.

“Ensuring the quality of individual that is put in place to assist the person as they start their apprenticeship journey is imperative and it sits at the heart of any successful program.”

A few tips for employers from me:

  • Don’t leave long gaps between first and second interview as it can really frustrate candidates and often leads to other offers muddying the water
  • Try and get as many candidates seen in the same day it helps when comparing them
  • Get your interview process clear and concise with the various interviewing managers delivering the same brief and corporate message
  • Make your job spec as detailed as possible high lighting any essential and desirable skills

Article by Christos Orthodoxou

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