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Why apprenticeships are a great solution to workforce challenges

07 Feb 2023
People 1st International

The theme for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week theme is ‘skills for life’ which unequivocally describes the reward a learner gains from completing an apprenticeship.

Across the hospitality, retail, travel and aviation sector since 2016 over 100,000 individuals have used apprenticeships to kick start their career and embark on a structured pathway of learning. That’s before even looking at the number of apprentices supporting in head office or auxiliary roles.

National Apprenticeship Week is an opportunity to ‘shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy’. And as we hit day two of the week’s celebrations titled ‘employer Tuesday’, we take a look at how apprenticeships across the hospitality, retail, travel and aviation sector can benefit employers, and reflect on some of the feedback received from businesses over the past few years.

Recruitment and development a highly skilled workforce that helps grow the business

As businesses face acute challenges around staffing and people, many are exploring innovative ways to attract and retain talent. Apprenticeships continue to be a popular solution for employers. Proven to improve employee retention, they also ensure there is a pipeline of highly trained talent entering the industry each year.

“The benefits of apprenticeships for our business have been widespread. Apprentices stay with us longer, are more engaged, and are more likely to view their role as a career choice. Not only this, they also deliver improved guest satisfaction, better food safety scores, increased number of meals served and decreased food wastage.” – Mitchells and Butlers

Apprenticeship training is also a great way to develop skills aligned to the employer’s future needs. This helps to fill any skills gaps and allows businesses to develop a pipeline of future managers and leaders from within.

Apprenticeships are a huge asset to our business as they enable us to attract new talent and upskill our existing workforce.  Apprenticeships are equally as beneficial to both the organisation and the individual. Our apprentices feel valued and invested in and we get motivated and skilled people growing with us.” – TUI

Improvements to productivity and profitability

Apprenticeships also offer businesses a fantastic route to develop the skills needed to positively interact with customers, help match products and services to customer needs and increase spend. Data from the National Apprenticeship Service shows that 78% of businesses say that apprentices have improved productivity and they become highly skilled even before they finish their training.

“Our Apprentices receive targeted training that produces highly skilled staff. It has enabled us to build a pipeline of talent that meets our business needs. It has increased retention, productivity and created a positive culture of learning in our business.” – East of England Co-Op

“Apprenticeships create a talent pipeline across your business, improve productivity and support the upskilling of existing staff. They enable you to match the skills of the employees to the skills you need, which in turn raises staff morale. In addition, apprenticeships improve your company image and thus attract the best candidates and increases diversity which in return reduces staff turnover.” – Compass Group UK & Ireland.

Increased employee retention

Promoting an agile workforce and encouraging colleagues to gain a broader understanding of the business can produce a confident, inspired and multi-skilled workforce. And employees who have been trained in-house tend to be highly motivated, committed to the company and supportive of its business objectives.

According to data from the National Apprenticeship Service, 80% of businesses who invest in apprenticeships have seen a significant increase in employee retention.

“We have a higher level of measured capability from colleagues who have completed an apprenticeship and also a much higher retention rate of colleagues who are either completing or have completed an apprenticeship. The skills, knowledge and behaviours are all designed to apply to the day job which makes every module worthwhile.” – Iceland’s

A ladder for social mobility

With an increased focus on spreading opportunities more evenly across society, businesses have a key role to play in securing the social mobility of future generations – an area that apprenticeships can play a vital role. Apprenticeships are often considered a ladder for social mobility, helping to deliver a resilient workforce that can deliver results, drive innovation and offers access to all.

“We have used the level 2 standard to bring young people into DFS. This offers an opportunity for them to learn skills that will provide a valuable foundation for a successful career in areas such as retail and supports our diversity and inclusion strategy as a business.” – DFS

“Apprenticeships are part of our broader commitment at the Co-op to improve social mobility. By attracting new talent and developing existing colleagues and making the sector more appealing to people of all ages and backgrounds, we are able to bring in new ways of thinking that help us to achieve a better way of doing business, whilst also progressing colleagues’ careers.” –  Co-op

Get involved in National Apprenticeship Week 2023 here.

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