Why you should hire apprentices – the benefits for organisations
This article By Georgia Mullins, Head of Early Careers at Thales in the UK was originally featured in TEISS.
As organisations undergo increasing digital transformation, there’s a well-documented talent shortage as firms try to keep up with innovation and ensure their tech teams are sufficiently staffed. One area where there’s a demand for talent is in the cybersecurity industry. With increasingly connected devices and operational technologies for cybercriminals to exploit, as well as sophisticated cyberattacks being an everyday occurrence for businesses, the need for cybersecurity professionals is more pressing than ever.
With demand outstripping supply when it comes to cybersecurity talent, many organisations will need to build their tech workforce from the ground up. While there’s merit in upskilling current employees to secure emerging technologies, organisations also need to consider their pipeline of talent by attracting new employees, too. Apprenticeships are a valid solution to the tech talent crisis, providing existing or mature employees with a new avenue to retrain and gain future-proof skills, and an opportunity to recruit talent at the start of their careers with heaps of potential.
Georgia Mullins, Head of Early Careers at Thales shares the benefits organisations can expect by recruiting apprentices into their workforce.
Reap the rewards of talent at the start of their careers
Although apprenticeship schemes appeal to mature employees too, many apprentices are school leavers or are in the early stages of their careers, meaning such programmes are a great opportunity to attract young talent into the workforce. Young adults are sponges: they’re keen to soak up new experiences and are eager to learn new skills – a win-win for employer and employee alike.
It’s arguably less risky than traditional recruiting, too. While other candidates will have mixed levels of experience and competence, by recruiting apprentices at the start of their careers, you can truly shape your staff into the capable, well-rounded workforce you desire.
Diversify talent pool creates innovation
The threat landscape is increasingly evolving, with cybercriminals and bad actors increasingly finding new ways to target businesses and individuals. Organisations need to be more agile and innovative in combatting these new threats – and having a diverse pool of talent is one way to ensure this.
Apprentices at the early stages of their careers also offer alternative, new and fresh perspectives, allowing for a more diverse age range within the organisation. With candidates often coming from a range of different backgrounds as well, hiring apprentices is also a great social mobility booster, which in turn improves business’ financial performance and innovation.
Address priority areas in the business
As an organisation, you have the autonomy to design your apprenticeship programme to suit your organisation’s specific needs, ensuring talent are equipped and qualified in your in-demand priority areas. This way, core elements of the business can be adequately resourced, and talent is allocated where it is needed most, ensuring a high calibre workforce that is fit for your needs. Indeed, in a survey by the government, 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them develop skills relevant to their organisation, and 76% said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity. And with each cohort, you can build new, evolving skills into the organisation each year.
With apprenticeship schemes being anywhere from one to five years long, there is also a long-term benefit to be had. Apprenticeship convenors can look ahead to the future needs of the business, with apprentices being a part of the resourcing plan to achieve these long-term goals.
Tackle the competitive job market
Amidst an incredibly competitive job market, apprenticeship programmes are mutually beneficial for employee and employer alike. While it’s a great opportunity for entry level candidates to get their foot in the door in a company within a future-proof industry, organisations can benefit from employees that have both technical qualifications and hands-on experience within the business – the best of both worlds.
It makes financial sense too. Organisations can benefit from government funding, with British businesses only needing to pay 5% towards the cost of training and assessing their apprentices, while the government pays the remaining 95%. This means businesses can guarantee technical proficiency of their apprentices, without it being a financial burden on the business.
Benefit from high retention rates
Retaining and nurturing staff is a particular challenge in this job market, especially post-pandemic and in the aftermath of ‘the great resignation’. At a time when tech talent is needed more than ever, employers yearn long-lasting, loyal employees.
Thankfully, with a successful scheme, apprenticeship churn or turnover rates will be low as they are working towards achieving their end goal qualifications, unlike typical jobs where employees do not have quite as many opportunities to learn and soak up new information. Alongside making this long-term commitment over several years, many are also motivated by the prospect of joining as permanent members of the team after their programme.
Apprenticeships provide a great way to bolster your workforce, target in-demand business sectors, and benefit from motivated talent over the duration of their programmes – and beyond should they take up a permanent position afterwards. With cyberattacks rife, and not going anywhere for the foreseeable, we need younger generations to fill the gaps and secure organisations for the future, and apprenticeships offer a valued solution to this.
Learn more about Thales’ apprenticeships in the UK here.