How can apprenticeships catch the best of the up and coming talent?
There used to be a school of thought that diversity – staffing a company with a broad range of people with a range of skills, backgrounds and outlooks at all levels, from the boardroom on down– was something that needed to be imposed on business. It was sometimes seen as a politically correct guideline that paid little heed to the real needs of the business.
However, the growing concerns over a homogenous and insular corporate culture have led many more enlightened businesses to embrace diversity as a way of including a wide spectrum of inputs, opinions and abilities. And in terms of skills, taking a pro-diversity approach can pay dividends in both the short and long term.
Hotelier Robert Nadler, who himself is committed to sustainability and diversity across all of his hotels, recently said that by adapting training offerings to reflect a broader and more inclusive set of skills, businesses can really add to their competitive advantage.
“Young Brits can be trained, and at the same time we have to make it a more attractive sector, especially with Brexit looming – we have to change the industry’s profile, offer better training, a better path. Making sure we have a diverse workforce will be a big factor in our success over the coming years.
Nadler, among many others, is committed to using training to build a strong, diverse business. Apprenticeships offer a great way to achieve this. By working with the right training provider, businesses are able to meet their needs by recruiting the right people from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and skills.
The government has taken a lead on this with its innovative diversity program. For an organization like the Civil Service, which is supposed to reflect the concerns and ideals of a diverse, multicultural society at all levels there’s no doubt that the need to embrace diversity is paramount.
If everyone thought the same way, then you’d end up going along the same path and we’d never adapt,” was how one entrant to the Civil Service’s Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme put it. “Society is changing rapidly and organisations have to reflect that – it’s the only way to stay current.”
And it’s not just about the obvious markers of diversity like ethnicity, age and socio-economic background. Those with disabilities, as well as older workers and those with a varied educational and national background can also add to the melting pot.
Smart businesses are already some way down the road on this, adding to their existing diversity policies by using apprenticeships to bolster the skills pipeline for the future.
Microsoft has made a huge push to ensure the gains it has achieved through its award-winning apprenticeship programme cascade beyond the company itself.
“The key driver for it was diversity, Michael Draisey, Development Team Leader at one of Microsoft’s accredited SharePoint Consultants & Designer Brightstarr said recently. “Every workforce needs a diverse skill set and experience, so it’s a no brainer for us that Apprenticeships should be included in that.”
We are running a webinar in partnership with Arch Apprentices to look at how apprenticeships can underpin your diversity strategy. More details can be found at: https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/1492906/FEFE06EE9A7AB0F7D26F5EBE6BF5A65E