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Why higher apprenticeships can be a great route into HR

Modern apprenticeships offer exciting opportunities for both potential apprentices and employers

Gone are the days when apprenticeships were seen as roles only undertaken by young people looking to learn a trade and take their first steps onto the career ladder. People can now embark upon an apprenticeship programme at any stage in their working lives, either to further their existing careers or to help them change paths completely.

Here, we take a quick look at how apprenticeships in the people profession can offer an excellent, well-structured route into HR and provide even more experienced workers the opportunity to progress their own careers.

One of the big advantages of apprenticeships is that they are paid jobs, combining practical hands-on training with additional ‘off-job’ learning. This can be particularly appealing to people either already in employment in the profession of their choice, or who don’t have the option to take time out of work in order to study.

How do HR apprenticeships work?

Apprenticeships in Human Resources are delivered via a partnership arrangement with a number of organisations. Firstly, the employer offering the apprenticeship must be committed to the programme for at least 12 months, ensuring effective on and off the job training. Secondly, it is the responsibility of the registered training provider – which could be a Further Education College, University or independent training provider – to deliver relevant, structured and credible training. Finally, the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) in its role as the registered apprenticeship assessment organisation, must conduct robust assessments at the end of the apprenticeship to ensure the quality of the training is maintained.

What level apprenticeship is right for you?

Depending on whether you wish to embark on a career in HR, or have a desire to progress your existing career to a higher level, there are different tiers of apprenticeships available to suit your needs.

Level 3 Apprenticeship – HR support

Designed as an entry route into an HR career, this training programme could be ideal for someone looking to work in an HR support role, providing front-line advice to managers and employees across a range of issues.

Level 5 Apprenticeship – HR Partner/Consultant

These are aimed at existing HR professionals who are already leading on people projects and have a role influencing good HR practices across their organisation.

Whatever the level, every HR apprenticeship will take into consideration the existing qualifications and skills of the applicant, so previous training and expertise can be taken into account rather than be wasted or repeated. This initial assessment process helps to ensure that applicants are working at the right level, so that both they and their employer can reap the most benefit from the process.

Throughout the duration of the apprenticeship – which could be anything from 12 to 32 months depending on the level taken – there is an unrivalled opportunity for continuous professional development while working in a paid job. Apprenticeships culminate in a recognised, graded assessment (fail, pass and distinction), making them an ideal route to gaining a practical and purposeful HR qualification.

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