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The Benefits of Apprenticeships for Employers and Employees

An apprenticeship is a cost-effective way for organizations to grow talent without spending money on new hires. While apprenticeships have associated costs, they lower long-term recruitment and training costs by giving employers access to a pool of talent within the organization. They also provide employees with the opportunity to learn the skills they need to progress in the company while remaining employed. There are several benefits of career development — it’s no wonder that apprenticeships are attractive for both employees and employers.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of apprenticeships for employers and employees and the best practices that make these programs a success.

Benefits of Apprenticeships for Employers

Apprenticeships have several benefits for businesses. Consider the following:

  • Diversify the workforce: An apprenticeship is an opportunity for employees to further their education while working, making it an attractive option for people from diverse backgrounds. Widening your talent pool allows you to build an inclusive culture and creates positive change. Your business also benefits from fresh mindsets and new ideas that come with a diverse workforce to develop your company further. In fact, around 75% of employees say that apprenticeships help you improve the quality of their services and product offerings.
  • Tailored training: An apprenticeship is a valuable opportunity to train employees so their skills match the needs of your business. It takes a more personalized approach as opposed to general forms of learning that apply to an industry or career path as a whole. A tailored apprenticeship is also a great way to develop an employee who is a good culture fit and excels in their role.
  • Reduced recruitment costs: An apprenticeship program gives you access to a talent pool of potential candidates, so you don’t have to turn to recruitment agencies to fill a new role. This approach reduces the time and money you spend on recruiting, screening and interviewing potential employees.
  • Improve staff retention: When you invest in your employees, they are more likely to stay within your organization. This commitment can lead to increased job satisfaction and loyalty to the company, both of which help to keep your turnover rates low. Over 90% of employees who start an apprenticeship program stay employees.
  • Boost productivity: Hiring an apprentice lets you boost your business productivity while keeping costs low. The training apprentices receive prepares them for real-life business opportunities, which helps them apply their skills and knowledge to streamline processes and perform tasks at a higher standard.
  • Develop new skills in your workforce: Apprenticeships allow you to build the skills that you need in your workforce. Using classroom-based learning and on-the-job training, you can unlock the skills needed in your organization and equip employees to make valuable contributions. You can also reskill and upskill employees as required and future-proof your talent pipeline.
  • Enhances safety: Industries where safety is essential, such as construction and welding, highlight the importance of a strong safety curriculum. You can build a safer workforce by prioritizing apprenticeships that pair classroom safety training with the ability to practice on the job.
two women looking at a laptop reading about benefits of apprenticeships for employers

Benefits of Apprenticeships for Employees

An apprenticeship program also has some great benefits for individuals. These advantages include the following:

  • Learn and earn: Training is part of the job with an apprenticeship, so individuals don’t have to choose between being employees and developing their skills. They can gain the talents they need to advance their careers while still earning enough to cover their expenses. You can motivate individuals to stay within your program and organization by rewarding them as they progress through the apprenticeship. Organizations usually increase their pay when individuals reach a specific benchmark in the program or gain a new skill.
  • Hands-on training: An apprenticeship offers employees a blended model of on-the-job training and classroom learning. They can apply the knowledge they learn to a real-world work environment. This application gives them the confidence to perform tasks quickly and effectively.
  • Extra support: Employees can enjoy one-on-one support during their apprenticeship program. There’s always someone there to answer their questions and show them how to perform a skill and perfect their techniques. They have direct access to other employees and mentors within your company that help you address weaknesses and strengths.
  • Career advancement: Apprenticeships can allow employees to work towards a promotion while staying employed. They can gain the skills that apply to a higher paying role within their industry of current place of employment. Receiving on-the-job training at their current place of work lets employees advance to management and learn about company operations, leadership styles and important aspects that can set them up for success.
  • Transferable skills: When individuals complete an apprenticeship, they learn skills they can use across the country. Some programs also let employees transfer credits toward a college degree or technical certificate, which can further their career prospects.
  • Increased job retention: Employees are more likely to feel satisfied in their roles if companies are willing to invest in their education. An apprenticeship is a great way to build a long-term relationship between employees and the company.
  • Competitive advantage: While employers value the technical skills and knowledge an employee brings, they also want employees with commitment and drive. Completing an apprenticeship shows employers that the employee is serious about advancing their career. Being able to work and study demonstrates tenacity to progress one’s career.
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Best Practices for Apprenticeships

Investing in the program will help yield the best results and contribute to the success of the program. These best practices can help you implement one successfully:

  • Identify current and future job vacancies: Take stock of the positions in your company and identify which ones are unfilled. Speak to managers in the relevant departments to understand where skills are lacking and how the vacancies impact the business. Ask your managers to also name what important roles are emerging from your organization that will help you meet your long-term goals. If there are issues within your departments, you should address these before you add more employees.
  • Embrace earn and learn: Very few candidates can afford to forgo a salary while they further their skills. This is why it’s important to offer a paycheck during an apprenticeship. You can partner with the government to help fund apprenticeships. For example, The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) has workforce programs that provide support, such as wage reimbursement to businesses. The Apprenticeship and Training Office (ATO) within the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry provides funding for diverse apprenticeships, and the Workforce and Education Development Network of PA (WEDnet) supports apprenticeships with up to $2,000 per employee, and up to $100,000 per entity.
  • Hire for potential: In many cases, companies seek individuals with a college degree or specific years of experience. When hiring for an apprenticeship, scrap the criteria and focus on potential. Very few candidates will meet the criteria you are looking for. An ideal apprentice is someone with transferable skills, a hard worker and a fast learner. To find the best candidate, start by identifying the skills they will need to perform — you’ll realize many skills are transferable between industries. For example, a teacher with excellent listening skills may thrive in a customer-centric role.
  • Establish mentors: Apprentices must learn in collaboration. They need mentors to coach and guide them in technical skills and workplace best practices. While your employees may be reluctant to become mentors because of the extra work, offering stipends or recognition that can advance their careers can encourage them. Have a mix of mentors from different functions and roles within the company.
  • Define measurements for success: Those participating in the program must know what success looks like in it. Share your expectations with apprentices and mentors, design clear metrics, assess their performance and provide regular feedback.

Partner With CAEDC to Develop Your Workforce

An apprenticeship is an invaluable opportunity for businesses to develop the skills they need in their workforce. When you invest in your employees, you form a loyal relationship to retain staff and meet your long-term goals. It lets employees advance in your company without sacrificing their paychecks. To make the most out of this program, it’s important to understand your organization’s needs and hire apprentices with the tenacity to help you meet your goals.

At Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation, we are passionate about connecting workers with training opportunities to help them advance their careers. We partner with governments, organizations and businesses to address skills shortages and find suitable candidates. To learn about how you can partner with us, contact us today!

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