Higher Apprenticeships: three reasons to careFollow @pwc_ukgov
By Matt Hamnett, Higher Apprenticeships programme director
It’s previously been noted on this blog that Higher Apprenticeships are helping to forge stronger links between education and business – providing young people with an alternative, work-based route to highly skilled careers. The benefits of Higher Apprenticeships for business are also significant.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) recently published new evidence on the benefits of Apprenticeships. The reports include some striking facts and figures on the business benefits of employing Apprentices, including: 72% of employers reported improved productivity, 69% improved staff morale, and 67% improved service quality. Consistent with previous research in this area, these reports further underline the value that Apprenticeships can bring to young people, businesses, and the economy more widely.
We are currently leading a piece of work for Government to develop a new Higher Apprenticeship for professional services, including distinct routes into the audit, tax and consulting occupations. We’re proud to say that the new framework will be the first Apprenticeship that has be developed, end to end, by employers. We have spent the first part of the year working with a broad cross-section of professional services employers to reach a consensus view on what should be included in the new Apprenticeship and are now at the point of seeking Government’s permission to ‘issue’ the new framework so that employers can use it in their businesses this autumn.
As we get closer to issuing the new framework in the autumn, it’s worth reflecting on what we see as the three key reasons for employers to embrace Higher Apprenticeships:
- It will help professional services employers to create a talent pipeline strong enough to meet future needs. The UK Commission for Employment and Skills forecast that the professional services will need over 3m skilled new entrants over the decade to 2020. To source the talent necessary to meet that huge requirement, professional services employers will need to look beyond traditional talent pools and models for recruitment.
- It will help make the workforce more diverse, and employers more competitive. The professional services sector operates in a fiercely competitive global marketplace. The perpetual challenge is to understand and add real value to the businesses of the organisations that professional services firms support. That means bringing a range of different perspectives and ideas to clients’ business issues and opportunities – reflecting the diversity of the client base in the workforce of professional services firms.
- It will help employers fulfil their social responsibility. Beyond the clear business imperative to do so, I believe employers have a responsibility to foster social mobility by opening up opportunities to under-represented groups. Creating a new Higher Apprenticeship route to high skill careers in the professions has the potential to open up access to young people who might not otherwise aspire to pursue a career in the professions.
In next month’s blog, I’ll update you on the work we’re doing to establish Higher Apprenticeships as a real, credible alternative in the minds of young people and their families – recognising just how important that is if we are to succeed in establishing this as a mainstream route to high skill careers in the professions.
For more information about the professional services framework that we’re developing please visit http://www.pwc.co.uk/government-public-sector/issues/higher-apprenticeships.jhtml.
Contact Matt Hamnett