Employers and training providers should provide clearer information to boost application numbers for less popular apprenticeship programmes, according to a new report.
While some apprenticeship programmes, such as those in aviation, costume design, plumbing and the music business, can attract more than 40 applications per vacancy, others are far less popular with candidates, according to data from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) website.
The match factor: Good practice in apprenticeship recruitment report by the CIPD, commissioned by the NAS, explores reasons why some apprenticeship vacancies go unfilled. It outlines a number of recommendations for training providers, employers and prospective apprentices, including:
- “youth-friendly” recruitment practices that ensure job ads are free of jargon, provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates and consider them for similar or future positions;
- employers and training providers could do more to raise the profile of apprenticeships and gain parents’ buy-in and engagement, including clearer information on the pay and career prospects;
- training providers should highlight the long-term business benefits of apprenticeships when working with employers and not mis-sell them as a source of cheap labour; and
- apprenticeship candidates should tailor their application to the specific industry, employer and job description and avoid using a “scatter-gun” approach.
Katerina Rüdiger, head of skills and policy campaigns at the CIPD, said: “Some recruitment practices such as lengthy and unclear job descriptions and workplace jargon can create a barrier and deter young people from applying. It’s the responsibility of both providers and employers to ensure recruitment practices are youth-friendly to ensure they get the right candidate for the vacancy.”
Sue Husband, director of apprenticeships at the Skills Funding Agency, said it would “consider the wider recommendations made in the report, which will contribute to the work the Agency is already carrying out such as our good practice guides for employers, partners and apprentices and webinars for both employers and providers”.
Carla Rogers, director of people and operations at the nursery group Kids Allowed, said: “Since launching our apprenticeship programme we have reduced the number of people being recruited externally into management roles as we are able to promote from within. As well as contributing to the retention of our staff, it has also reduced the training costs associated with bringing new managers up to speed with our culture and ways of working.”