Apprenticeships: What you need to do to attract apprentices

Peter Jones, founder of specialist KBB and building sales recruitment agency Foyne Jones, urges KBB leaders to provide apprenticeships and help build a strong foundation for the stars of the future

11 Feb, 23

Peter Jones, founder of specialist KBB and building sales recruitment agency Foyne Jones, urges KBB leaders to provide apprenticeships and help build a strong foundation for the stars of the future

Apprenticeships: What you need to do to attract apprentices

We all know that the skills crisis is a massive concern right now, especially when looking at the future scope and longevity of our sector.

Supporting the next generation is very close to my heart and I am passionate about using the latest advances in technology to showcase the amazing career opportunities in the kitchen and bathroom sector.

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I believe we all need to step up to raise the profile of the industry so that we can attract and retain the best talent going forwards.

Video recruitment

One way of doing this is to capitalise on the power of video as part of your apprenticeship strategy.

Just look at the popularity of the social media platform TikTok. Its success over the past two years demonstrates how ‘vertical video’ is becoming the must-have medium for businesses in 2023.

The immediacy of video is a great way to capture current apprentices talking about their roles, informally, as well as convey the opportunities available in your business.

Video interviews and CVs are becoming increasingly popular, as recruiters seek the best apprentices more quickly.

Video also has a massive role to play in building a company’s ‘know, like and trust’ factor and so, dialogue between the employer and apprentice on video, prior to first-stage interview, is on the rise.

Evaluate strategy

As a new generation rises through the ranks, this is a golden opportunity for us all to re-evaluate our apprenticeships and training strategies.

We need to ensure there is ongoing people-development alongside tried-and-tested technical training.

This will not only ensure our businesses are appealing to young people but also promote a vibrant, ‘can do’ working environment, leading to a profitable bottom line.

The latest Government statistics show the number of UK job vacancies has decreased in the last quarter, but youth unemployment is up from 9.8% to 10.5%,

So helping the stars of the future get on the ladder via apprenticeships is crucial.

Be flexible

In my experience, the type of workplace which will be attractive to Gen Z and Gen Alpha apprentices need to be both flexible and supportive.

Hybrid working is here to stay, according to Forbes, and it is becoming a benefit for employers to support their apprentices’ lifestyle aspirations, as well as desire to ‘earn and learn’ as part of vocational training.

Our ‘always on’ working culture has led to a greater appreciation of downtime to prevent burnout and work-related stress, so the best businesses offer flexibility around core hours.

This is rapidly becoming standard practice in many industries as we are finding salary is just one part of the picture when an apprentice or school leaver is looking for an entry-level role.

I strongly advise employers to think outside the box when it comes to offering personalised incentives, as part of apprenticeships

Be creative so you can cater to your apprentices and deepen company loyalty. This will only come from getting to know them as individuals.

But remember, you can’t be flexible without trust, which is why you have to be brave and let your apprentices work when, and wherever they want; as long as they have a strong internet connection, laptop and phone the magic will happen.

Stronger engagement

In my opinion, an employer’s ability to provide a family-friendly workplace and next-generation company culture, like flexible working and access to childcare services, is critical to optimising an apprentice’s wellbeing, especially if they have a young family.

Better wellness contributes to a stronger performance and deeper employee engagement, so your apprentices will have more job satisfaction.

Research shows that happy workers are 13% more productive, leading to greater business success.

There are no short cuts. We must invest in our apprentices’ experiences so they stay in our industry for the long term, confident that they can build rewarding and lucrative careers in an established market.

Let’s be honest. Our apprentices will only be as good as the people leading them so our industry also needs to support managers, mentors and trainng providers.

We need team leaders to pivot to become excellent listeners and managers of people, while maintaining a commercial mindset.

By opening up to accommodate the needs of the next generation, we will keep broadening our minds about what is possible in a 21st century business.

The world of apprenticeships is rich with opportunities as everyone brings something to the party – we all have something to learn and something to teach, whatever our age or life experience.


Read more views by Peter Jones, including how to lead teams through tough times.