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Apprenticeships: The Secret to Upskilling your Workforce in 2024?

Keeping your business ahead of the curve in 2024 requires more than just embracing change – it demands a proactive approach to building and maintaining a workforce that is agile, fresh-thinking and open to innovation.

Apprenticeships have proven to be an incredibly practical solution – addressing talent shortages with in-house development opportunities, diversifying the workforce, and bridging the gap between the workplace and traditional education.

Understanding the changing nature of work and the challenges this presents will enable you to understand the evolving skills requirements and talent shortages within your business – providing you with the opportunity to outline a skill strategy that drives innovation and welcomes early talent.

This article outlines how you can identify skills gaps in your business and implement a strategy for skills development with apprenticeship opportunities.

diversifying the workforce with apprenticeships

Identifying the skills gap in your business

Dominated by technology and shifting industry demands, the skills gap has become a challenge for employers across every sector.

As new technologies emerge, the demand for aligned skills rises, leaving businesses grappling with the need to equip their workforce with the latest knowledge and capabilities.

Recognising this gap is the first step towards addressing it, and apprenticeships present a unique opportunity for employers to actively participate in the solution.

Here are three effective ways to identify skills gaps in your workforce:

  • Regular employee skills assessments: Whether this is a self-assessment, manager evaluation or even third-party assessment/survey, this should cover the specific skills required for each role within your organisation. Ultimately this will allow you to compare the skills of your workforce against the skills required for optimised business performance, enabling you to pinpoint departments and even individuals that would benefit from further development opportunities.
  • Performance reviews: By facilitating conversations about skills and competencies in performance reviews, managers can encourage open discussions about challenges, gain invaluable insights into department-wide development needs and provide individuals with a comprehensive understanding of areas for improvement.
  • Industry analysis and benchmarking: Tracking industry benchmarks and trends, you will be able to regularly assess the skills in your business and understand their alignment with the evolving industry themes. By participating in industry events, networking with professionals and monitoring publications related to your business sector you can proactively identify areas where your employees may need additional training or where new skills may be required.

Implementing a strategy for upskilling in 2024

Identifying the skills gap in your business is the first step – implementing a comprehensive strategy that defines how you can fill those skill gaps in your business is arguably the most important step.

Your upskilling programmes should be bespoke to the unique needs and goals of your business.

As part of the skills gap identification stage, you will have gained an in-depth understanding of the different roles and distinct skill sets they require. At this stage, you can start to leverage available technology and e-learning platforms that provide flexible and accessible training options for your employees.

By incorporating a mix of on-the-job training, workshops and online courses to accommodate diverse learning styles you will be able to develop a strategy that includes tailored training initiatives, ensuring all employees acquire the skills directly applicable to their roles, increasing the efficiency of your upskilling strategy.

Consider integrating apprenticeships for hands-on learning opportunities.

Introducing apprenticeship opportunities to employees as part of your 2024 upskilling strategy can ensure your employees have access to hands-on learning experiences that bridge the gap between theory and practice, without entirely removing their contributions to your workforce.

Look at apprenticeships for existing employees as an investment in their personal and professional growth that will ultimately transform the value of your business operations without the costs associated with outsourcing training initiatives for the professional development of employees.

Upskilling with apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are not a new concept, but their relevance in the modern workplace is invaluable for businesses looking to address the skills shortage.

Figures supplied by the UK government’s Apprenticeships and Traineeships data suggest ‘Apprenticeship achievements increased by 18.3% to 162,320 compared to 137,220 in 2021/22.’

By offering apprenticeship opportunities to existing employees or taking on young apprentices to diversify in-house talent, you’re investing in the development of your talent pool from the ground up.

Unlike traditional hiring, apprenticeships allow you to tailor your training programs to wider business needs, ensuring that all employees are aligned with the skills required, a personal investment in your employer value proposition and the agility to drive business innovation amidst significant change.

This focused approach not only narrows the skills gap but also nurtures a loyal and skilled workforce that understands the intricacies of the business.

Beyond immediate skill acquisition – By providing structured learning opportunities, employers send a powerful message to their workforce: the commitment to growth and development is not just a one-time initiative but an ongoing priority.

This mindset shift not only boosts employee morale but enhances overall productivity and innovation, acting as the gateway to a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Government support and incentives for apprenticeships

Governments around the world are recognising the importance of upskilling and apprenticeships, offering various incentives and support programs to encourage business participation.

While the benefits of upskilling through apprenticeships are clear, employers need to view this strategy as a long-term investment.

The initial challenges, such as designing effective training programs and dedicating resources, may seem daunting, but the returns in terms of a skilled and loyal workforce far outweigh the initial hurdles. There are also opportunities to collaborate with educational institutions and industry associations to streamline the process and create a sustainable framework for ongoing apprenticeship programs.

Upskilling your workforce through apprenticeships is not just a strategy, it’s a mindset shift towards investing in the future of your business.

Get in touch

Ready to do something about the skills shortage in your business? Eager to learn how easy it is to attract early talent with ETA? Get in touch.

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