We look at why apprenticeships are more important than ever in celebration of National Apprenticeship Week. The theme for this year is ‘build for the future’. Therefore, the event highlights how apprenticeships help individuals get rewarding careers. As well as provide employers with a future-ready workforce.
Covid-19 has affected everything, and apprenticeships are no different. There was an 80% drop in apprenticeships just one month after the first lockdown in April 2020. The drop was much higher than predicted and perhaps forewarned of things to come. However, some experts are claiming the fall was caused by short-term market uncertainty. Therefore, apprentice numbers are predicted to bounce back. Some are going further, saying the pandemic will actually cause apprentice opportunities to increase.
Technology key to development
The government’s advice has been for all apprenticeships to continue remotely during lockdown where possible. This has led to the increased use of technology enabling remote learning and training. The move has shown many employers that they can engage far more effectively with employers remotely than first predicted. Shining a light on e-learning, various sectors are already reporting moves to include more online tech in their training.
Apprenticeships in areas such as IT and digital already feature online learning. Moreover, many have been able to make the transition to full-time quite easily, such as using virtual classrooms. As technology advances to meet increasing demand for remote learning, online apprenticeship opportunities will increase. Many are predicting a hybrid approach to apprenticeship studying. This will feature the use of remote learning tools combined with occasional face-to-face meetings. One obvious advantage is that it makes location much less important for both candidates and companies. With so many candidates often looking for apprenticeships near me, this could have a significant effect on the popularity of some sectors.
Apprenticeships = future proofing
The pandemic and ongoing lockdown have also changed how job seekers and companies view the future. In the case of job seekers, there is a growing demand for roles offering long-term security and flexibility. Meanwhile, companies are realising their own skills development programs can provide the specific skills they need for future sustainability. Retraining is expected to play a huge part in the future movement of the workforce. Therefore, it is not just young people that will be looking for such job training schemes.
Apprenticeships for adults are not a new thing. Many people wrongly believe apprenticeships exist only for young people and in sectors such as construction. However, internships requiring experience are also appearing across many different sectors. Highlighting this, Zoek currently features over 5,000 apprentice jobs across the entire UK. These roles are in many different sectors, ranging from publishing and healthcare to IT, retail and digital marketing. Adult apprenticeships are predicted to increase in importance as large numbers of jobseekers look to retrain. Likewise, companies are also expanding their apprenticeship parameters to include candidates from a wider range of backgrounds. This is helping to tackle apprenticeship inequality. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of job security for many people. Apprenticeships can play a huge role in helping people of all ages and backgrounds retrain for the future economy.
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