The impact an apprenticeship program has on an individual is exceptional, but the impact an apprentice has on an organisation is equally as special.
To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2022, we want to shine a light on apprentices across Scotland. We are celebrating their efforts in not only committing to their studies, but also for their efforts in contributing massively to employers.
Historically, a lot of emphasis has been placed on where secondary school leavers go after they complete high school. Traditionally, the most prominent answer on further education is attending university. However, not always in the spotlight, is the impact on workplaces through an alternative system – apprenticeships. This blog looks at the importance and benefits apprenticeships provide an organisation, and their impact on workplaces, whether that be foundation, modern, or graduate apprenticeship level.
What is a Foundation Apprenticeship?
Foundation apprenticeships are work-based learning opportunities lasting up to two years which give anyone over the age of 16 the opportunity to learn and undertake work-like learning whilst being in secondary school. Focusing on the ‘mechanics’ behind a foundation apprenticeship in Scotland, institutes such as Skills Development Scotland’s apprenticeship programmes are normally provisioned through local colleges, giving apprentices the opportunity to choose courses and enhance their learning experience tailored to their needs.
To make it easily digestible, here’s a better way of understanding the journey for a foundation apprentice:
- Choose the apprenticeship of their choice and interests.
- Learn through a local college teaching the apprenticeship topics.
- Work with employers to implement and learn in ‘job-like’ scenarios,
- Get assessed by the workplace, build your skillset, and gain a government-approved qualification recognised in your chosen field.
Analogy incoming: Apprentices and Employers grow together.Within the workplace, a business and an apprenticeship scheme provider come together to tailor a programme to suit both the workplace and the apprentice. The employer ensures that work-based projects are relevant to an apprentice’s learning, and the apprenticeship provider ensures the apprentices have the right tools and mentors for the tasks in hand.
The two-work hand in hand and both parts of the process are what make a successful apprentice. Let’s use a simple analogy:
A tree can’t grow without sun, water, and nutrients. The roots need to grow, the trunk needs to grow, the branches and leaves need to grow. Without these three listed components, a tree simply cannot grow. Once a tree begins to grow and develop, its impact on the environment is unbelievable.
The benefits to businesses
- Investment in the future and local communities – apprentices are part of the future workforce. Investing in apprentices now means investing in the future.
- Tailored skillset – The business has spent time with the apprentice through their program, meaning everything the apprentice has learned from their mentors are relevant to the business.
- Lower recruitment costs – Bringing an apprentice on board lowers recruitment costs, less time and money is spent on recruitment campaigns and an apprentice doesn’t tend to be as financially costly for an organisation.
- Apprentice motivation – A massive benefit to an organisation is the hunger and willingness an apprentice brings to the job. They are constantly learning and developing, and this automatically keeps them motivated not only in their apprenticeship but also within the workplace.
The benefits to the apprentice
- Gain a nationally-recognised qualification – Upon completion of the apprenticeship, the apprentice gains a government credential, specifying their achievement and one which is recognised by employers nationally.
- No learning costs – With an apprenticeship, there is no need to worry about learning costs as it is paid for by the company.
- Gain skills and experience suited to employers – It can be challenging coming out of a university or a college and having to learn the realities of a workplace, but with an apprenticeship, you’re ahead of the game. You gain experience along the way, and the skills you learn are suited directly to what the employer wants.
Why do we support apprenticeships?
Alongside our sister company, Sitekit, we’re proud to be working with foundation apprentices for over 5 years, offering apprenticeship programmes in IT software development since inception. We are committed to offering industry-leading opportunities to our apprentices, hence our efforts to provide our apprentices access to the latest and greatest tech and not only level up their coding skills, but their problem-solving skills, and ability to give that bit extra attention to detail. Due to student demand across the Highland and Islands, Sitekit extended its offering to virtual placements enabling students to engage regardless of location. We believe in them and their growth. The idea of innovation, freshness, and young talent are all words that spring to mind when thinking about our apprentices.
Jess Igoe, Condatis CPO
“We love our partnership with West Highland College and working closely with Nicola. We have an active supporting role with FA’s in the Software Development programme during their 2nd year (it’s a 2-year programme). We provide the apprentices with engaging coding tasks and projects to complete throughout the year. We have 2 amazing mentors that support the apprentices to complete the tasks and participate in fortnightly demos to showcase their work. Our mentors have valued their time with the apprentices and thoroughly enjoyed it. As an employer, it’s a great opportunity to be able to provide staff with such engaging work, allowing them to support the wider community. One of our mentors even said to me: I wish there had been a programme like that for me when I was in high school. For other businesses considering this, the FA programme is so easy to run. Nicola carries the majority of the workload and we get loads of benefits from it as our staff enjoy working closely with apprentices.”
Joe Lyons, Developer, and mentor
“As a mentor in the foundation apprenticeship scheme, it has been a privilege in the past few years to help many talented and inspiring young adults realise and improve their skills both in technical ability and presenting their work to their peers. Many have shown flair and innovation by going above and beyond the requirements that we set for them and making the enthusiasm for their work clear. As a mentor, I’ve also learned myself how to give better feedback and how to explain complex problems in a way that gives students the confidence to not give up and to know when to ask for help.”
Life beyond apprenticeships
In terms of career progression, not only do apprentices walk away with a qualification, but they also gain a wealth of experience with work-based learning. Apprenticeship certifications are often recognised nationally, ensuring wherever you go, the credential you’ve gained comes with you. But the great thing about gaining a foundation apprenticeship qualification is the ability to actually go on and study the course at university. This allows for natural progression and is a stepping-stone into further education and career development. With education and experience being two massive components and advantageous qualities for employers, this almost seems like the perfect fit!
The platform an apprenticeship gives you is exceptional; an apprenticeship is only the start of an individual’s journey into their career!