March Employer Workshop: How to get the most from Apprenticeship programmes

Amy, Nisha and Nina

On 15th March, we co-hosted our latest Greater Manchester Employers Workshop with Business in the Community (BITC).

The day formed part of BITC's Future Proof Campaign.

Over thirty employers came together at the St Thomas Centre, to discuss how to make the most of apprenticeship programmes - specifically in relation to young people with multiple barriers to employment.

In addition to presentations about GM Talent Match legacy proposals and the wider apprenticeship landscape (courtesy of City and Guilds), representatives from the BBC, Barclays and Galliford Try shared their experiences of how best to open up apprenticeships to young people furthest from the job market. 

The afternoon was brilliantly compèred by Amy - a beneficiary on the GM Talent Match programme since Summer 2017. Delegates also heard from former GM Talent Match young person, Peter - now a Software Engineer Apprentice at the BBC. Amy, GM Talent Match young person, compering the event

Adam Warsop, UK Strategic Commercial Manager at City and Guilds explored how apprenticeships are changing and how employers can influence these developments. Some of his key learning focused on:

  • Employer-led trailblazer groups that can develop new occupational standards, thereby controlling the design of apprenticeships.
  • Businesses who may not find a way to spend all of their levy pot can and should pass on the funds to their supply chains. 
  • The fact that qualifications are no longer always mandatory – employers can design a programme to meet new apprenticeship standard specifications. 

David Longworth, Apprenticeships and Training Schemes Manager at BBC North, was the afternoon’s first case study speaker.

One of his central messages to fellow employers was the need to circumvent formal application processes that pose issues for some young people. David said: “To safeguard our local candidate networks and allow local talent to come to the fore, we have arrangements for local college to submit audio and video applications. Our ‘first steps’ programme also educate candidates on how to navigate the application process."

"Yes, the advent of the apprenticeship levy poses challenges. For example we have had to centralise our apprenticeship recruitment, meaning we can no longer ring fence local roles for Greater Manchester candidates. BBC North wants to ensure local talent is not overlooked – hence our stance on the application process.”

Michelle Gannon from Barclay Early Careers team stressed the importance of employers truly acknowledging the barriers young people have by building in appropriate support mechanisms. Michelle also highlighted how Barclay’s recruitment processes do not require formal qualifications. Instead, their emphasis is on targeting a variety of young people to embrace cultural change.

Joy Woods, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at construction group Galliford Try, chose to focus in part on the value of shared apprenticeships

The next instalment in the Future Proof Employer Workshop series will focus on supporting young people with disabilities into employment. More information will be available through the GM Talent Match website in due course.