Employers have 99 problems but Apprenticeship isn’t one

Thanks to National Apprenticeship Week, our official program launch, and media buzz from the Baltimore Business Journal, The Daily Record, The Sun, W-BALTV 11, and msn.com—our team has been busy.  In came the calls, the website queries, the Facebook messages, the emails, and even a walk in.

Apprenticeship has struck a chord with the public. We have people as young as 18 and as old as 50 interested in our program. They are career-changers, high school graduates, parents, people struggling to finish community college. While they may differ in age and experience, they have one common thread: the desire to secure a meaningful career and sustainable employment.

The benefits for apprentices are obvious:

  1. Payment from day one.
  2. Customized education plan developed in collaboration with the employer.
  3. Nationally recognized credentials from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Registration.
  4. International backing from a top-rated UK apprenticeship company, 3aaa (i.e.- they know what they are doing!)
  5. A foot in the door to an emerging industry like IT, Digital & Social Media or Cyber Security.
  6. Help with soft skills like interview strategy and resume construction.
  7. Opportunity for continued advancement.
  8. Support and mentorship from our team.
  9. A future without debt.
  10. A future that begins today and not in four (or more) years.

The benefits for employers may not be as obvious, but are nonetheless, just as valuable.

Employer problem: Candidates do not have the skills and experience employers require.

The root of this problem extends beyond the IT market. America, in general, has millions of job openings, but a discrepancy exists between the skills candidates have and the skills employers require.

According to CNN Money, there are multiple reasons these jobs remain unfilled, including: lack of quality job-training programs when compared to Europe and Asia, unrealistic employer demands (i.e. 65% of postings for secretary positions list college degree as a requirement where only 19% have college degrees) and the college-only mindset preventing people from seeking job-training programs.

Yes, in an employer’s dream market, candidates would come ready-made with the skills and experience to dive in on day one. However, in the current labor landscape, on-the-job training is a necessary step.

Our program is set up to maximize the employer’s investment. We work directly with each employer to develop a curriculum tailored specifically for the role the apprentice will assume, thereby eliminating skill gaps. The curriculum, delivered via a combination of 144 classroom hours and 2000 on-the-job hours, encompasses both hard and soft skills, ensuring that the apprentice makes a smooth transition into the workplace environment.

Employer problem: Recruiting is expensive. It’s also difficult.

Recruiting candidates with a relevant, ready-to-go skill set in the in-demand IT industries our program serves is difficult. Google ‘cyber security job openings’ and you’ll see why. The IT industry is evolving at an unprecedented rate. According to the Cybersecurity Jobs Report, the cyber security workforce shortage could reach 1.5 million by 2019.

The cost of hiring a third-party recruiter can be exorbitant– especially with hard-to-fill positions. Typical recruitment costs run between 15% and 25% of the candidate’s total first year annual earnings (Undercover Recruiter). Additionally, Workopolis names IT Staff among the top 10 most difficult positions to fill, with recruiting costs averaging $14,600 per employee.

Our program is a triple treat. We recruit, train and mentor candidates to ensure long-term success. The cost of our program, paid over time, is not only less than the average third-party recruiting costs for the positions we fill, but we are also able to help employers access Federal and State level incentives for hiring apprentices.

When an employer signs on with our program, we conduct a full assessment of the employer’s needs. This assessment covers everything from the skills the apprentice will need to learn for the position to the workplace culture. We then present the employer with multiple candidates who have made it into our talent pool via a pre-screening process that involves aptitude testing and consultation. Our apprentices are a direct reflection of our program and we are dedicated to finding employers candidates that exhibit the work ethic, talent and attitude necessary to succeed. Additionally, our agreement with the employer offers many safeguards throughout the one-year apprenticeship, which could include replacement of an apprentice or refunds in the event of unforeseen circumstances (i.e.- an out of state move by the apprentice, serious illness, etc.)

Employer problem: Turnover costs money, time and affects workplace culture.

According to ERE Media:

  • Replacing ENTRY LEVEL employees costs 30-50% of their annual salary
  • Replacing MID-LEVEL employees costs 150% of their annual salary
  • Replacing HIGH-LEVEL or highly specialized employees costs 400% of their annual salary ERE Media, April 2015

High turnover rate can be attributed to lack of training/developmental opportunities and low level of employee engagement in addition to qualms with compensation and benefits (HR Daily Advisor).

ERE Media names investing in staff, providing regular feedback and opening lines of communication among the steps employers need to take to retain employees. These three steps are integral to our program and apprenticeship in general.

Hiring an apprentice indicates an investment in not only the future of the company, but the future of the apprentice. This investment is supplemented by the role of our program assessors. The Assessor remains in communication with both the employer and the apprentice throughout employment to ensure the goals of both the employer and the employee are being met.

An additional benefit: When an employer hires an employee, whether through internal or external recruitment resources, there are usually very few safeguards. As previously mentioned, our program provides multiple safeguards to the employer – including replacement of an apprentice.. We maintain a pool of applicants, vetted and screened by our Apprentice Skills Advisor, for this exact purpose. 

Apprenticeship in the UK: Facts & Figures:

The apprenticeship model is well-established in many countries, especially in the United Kingdom. American companies can take note of the successes felt by UK businesses that employ apprentices. According to a report from CIPD:

  • 96% report that apprenticeship has improved their business
  • 72% reported increased productivity (on average £214 a week- around $280- in gains which include increased profits, lower prices and better products)
  • 75% cited reduces recruitment costs of apprentice employers say their Apprenticeship program has helped cut recruitment costs
  • 80% agreed that apprenticeships will play a greater role in their future recruitment policy, resulting in lower staff turnover, fewer skills-related vacancies and reduced recruitment costs.
  • 88% believe apprenticeship helps create a more motivated and loyal workforce.

If you would like to learn more about hiring an apprentice, click here.

If you would like to learn more about becoming an apprentice, click here.