February 2024

Blog | Unlocking apprenticeship success with employers

By Samantha King

Share post:

Read time: approx 1 mins

Since May 2010, there have been over 5.5 million apprenticeships in the UK and with many industries experiencing a skills gap, a skills-based training programme such as an apprenticeship has never been more imperative for bringing in qualified talent to the national workforce. 

There are of course many advantages to hiring an apprentice, from diversifying your talent pool to receiving new perspectives that boost your own organisation’s growth. 

But what makes a successful relationship between an employer and a training provider? 

Strong partnerships with employers are essential in delivering high quality apprenticeships. It’s vital for training providers to work closely with the employer from the offset and it is that relationship which underpins the entire apprenticeship journey. It is also essential to really understand the employer’s business needs and future ambitions, so that the apprentice’s training plan can be designed to those requirements where possible, so that value can be added to the organisation. Not only then is the apprentice expanding their knowledge with relevant, industry-led skills, but also they are developing with the organisation’s ambitions and values.

As the apprenticeship is designed with the employer in mind, regular communication and feedback presents opportunities for the employer to adapt the curriculum as the apprentice progresses, building a close relationship and trust between the three parties. This trust ensures that honest conversations can be had in order to ensure it is the best possible programme for all involved. This approach means that the programme can evolve and adapt to suit the needs of the employer and the apprentice: the flexibility offered in this way lends itself well to the natural evolution of the working world.

Royal Academy of Culinary Arts apprentices training with University College Birmingham took home a record haul of medals last year.

It is imperative to work closely with the apprentice from the beginning to ensure that they receive career information, advice and guidance (CIAG) to fully comprehend their apprenticeship, what their training plan looks like and identify any support that they may need to enable them to flourish, pinpoint any potential barriers and understand career progression options. This is so that the training can also be developed with the apprentice at the heart of what the training provider delivers. Offering employers a ‘train the trainer’ session additionally enables them and their wider workforce to understand apprenticeships and learn how to put an infrastructure of support in the workplace.

Because apprenticeships can be offered from a GCSE level all the way through to a master’s degree, they have broad appeal to a wide range of people. The flexibility offered in combining paid work with learning new skills is of benefit to people who are entering the workforce, from full time education to career-changers or people looking to develop their career in a new capacity. As part of the apprenticeship, there is an underpinning personal development curriculum which enables the training provider to develop life skills alongside the skills required for them to do their job. It is so important that we develop fully rounded apprentices who are ready to progress and deal with life situations as and when they arise , giving them the best chances at success and forging a wonderful career. The apprentice may also be juggling other responsibilities such as caring responsibilities, housing issues, difficult family and financial situations, which can complicate their work and personal life. When challenges arise in these areas outside of work, this could inevitably affect the apprentice’s ability to train. Having that close relationship between the employer, training provider and apprentice then enables the three parties to work together and come to a solution that ensures that the appropriate support can be provided to assist the apprentice in continuing with their training, and not drop out. This support can really help those who have previously struggled to progress and fulfil their potential.

Success is not ultimately measured in just the qualification achieved at the end, but instead in delivering key skills, skills for life. Whether industry-related or in life, the development of these skills will enable both the apprentice to maintain a job and their family, and the employer to build a healthy business with skilled staff that have been trained bespoke to their needs. 

Discover how University College Birmingham works with industry partners to create a successful apprenticeship that places the organisation's values first. 

Back to top