How apprenticeships can provide effective employee retention

People want to be the best that they can be, and an apprenticeship gives them a structure to do that within their career development.

People want to be the best that they can be, and an apprenticeship gives them a structure to do that within their career development.

12 Oct 2023, 9:00

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Apprenticeships are a great way for employers to tackle skills gaps and develop trained employees where they are needed most in the workforce. Over the last 20 years, Pearson has supported employee apprenticeships, recognising them as a fantastic development tool for people of all educational backgrounds looking to start their careers, reskill or upskill. Apprenticeships not only formalise the structure of an organisation’s learning and development plan but can improve staff retention. A 2022 report by the Department of Education found that 62% of apprentices stayed working for the company that trained them after completing their apprenticeship and 76% of employers said that training existing employees as apprentices improved staff retention.

So how can apprenticeships aid the development of a compelling retention plan for your business?

Recognition and reward

Workplace recognition and rewarding high performance is crucial in building an employee experience that meets their human needs, as well as building their confidence. It’s also important as it’s linked to aspiration. People want to be the best that they can be, and an apprenticeship gives them a structure to do that within their career development. Recognition of completing an apprenticeship and reaching milestones elevates people out of their specific teams, raises their profile and enables them to be seen and move around the business. At Pearson, apprentices have been headhunted by various parts of the business because their profile has been raised and their contributions in their role have been recognised.

Support structures

Changes in the economic landscape post Covid have transformed working practices and highlighted the importance of making sure apprentices are fully supported. By introducing some simple support practices for apprentices such as weekly catch-up calls by line managers and by the training provider, they can very quickly begin to acquire the skills they need and start to develop new ideas and contribute to successful business strategies. By supporting new apprentices this way, they feel encouraged and more likely to strive to progress within the business, which will positively impact employee retention.

Human-centric approach

Businesses also need to be mindful of the ‘human’ element of work, recognising that people need more than just to work, they need to enjoy coming to work and feel they are giving something back. An idea that Pearson uses is introducing apprentices to the Learner Voice strategy. This encompasses a range of internal and external activities where individuals can pick and choose what they want to be involved in; brand ambassadors that support other apprentices, joining external networking groups, and involving senior leaders that sponsor and mentor apprentices. It’s a great way to create a sense of shared experience and community, discover new skills and provide a successful tool for driving employee engagement and retention.

Read why Ali feels her apprenticeship experience has been pivotal to her career development and progression.

Ali Titmas – Customer Success Team Manager

Following a stint in a customer service role after finishing her A levels, Ali took the opportunity to enrol on a Sales and Telesales Level 3 Apprenticeship at Pearson in March 2019. Four years on, she is a Customer Success Team Manager responsible for a team of nine and is two years into her Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship.

Q: HOW HAS THE APPRENTICESHIP HELPED BUILD YOUR SKILLS?

It’s given me a massive amount of confidence. I’m able to communicate more effectively and as the depth of the apprenticeship is so broad, anything I learn I can bring in different perspectives to what I am doing.

Q: WHAT HAVE BEEN THE MAIN BENEFITS FOR YOU OF AN APPRENTICESHIP?

The amount of experience and career growth that I have had within five years with Pearson is brilliant. It shows that I can challenge myself, I’ve got the skills, and I can learn anything I need to be successful in any role that I am placed in. I don’t think I would have had this amount of career growth if it weren’t for the apprenticeships I’ve done.

Q: HOW HAS PEARSON SUPPORTED YOU DURING YOUR APPRENTICESHIP?

My manager was an apprentice so the support I got from him was amazing because he knew what I was going through and that shows the broadness of the apprenticeship scheme in Pearson. It doesn’t matter who you are or what role you do, you can still do an apprenticeship. I’m also able to give that experience back as I’m part of the apprentice ambassador team, so I get to share my experience with other apprentices and support them.

Find out more about Pearson Apprenticeships

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