A quarter of HR and L&D managers have been let down by their apprenticeship training provider, indicating that some might be under-delivering on the promises they have made to employers.
The quality of training provision was a major concern for many employers that offered apprenticeships, particularly low-quality tutoring and the difficulty of meeting commitments such as the requirement for 20% of the training to be done “off the job”.
Almost one in six (15%) organisations with apprentices said their providers had not been honest with them about the obstacles they might come up against when offering the training. As a result, 27% of the 500 HR decision-makers polled said they were considering changing at least one of their training providers.
“It’s tempting for some providers to minimise the pitfalls and likely bumps along the road when they pitch for a training contract to get an agreement across the line. But in our experience, if providers aren’t honest and instead over-promise, they invariably under-deliver,” said Mark Botha, chief executive of Paragon Skills, which commissioned the YouGov research.
One of the biggest problems with apprenticeships for a third of employers was finding a programme that met the needs of their organisation. More than a quarter (26%) said apprenticeships were not suitable for them as those on offer were not materially different to the qualifications their employees already held or did not help staff acquire new skills.
Training providers’ inability to customise their programmes to suit employers’ needs was a problem for 20% of HR managers.
Botha said: “Every business has a distinct set of needs and they have to be carefully calibrated to the requirements of an apprenticeship programme. That takes time, dexterity and, crucially, personal tutors who not only immerse themselves in the culture of a business but also have the integrity to be frank with a client if they foresee problems along the road.”
Despite the problems many had encountered, 56% of respondents felt positive about the impact apprenticeships could have on their business. Four in 10 said managing talent progression was the main advantage, followed by improving staff retention (29%) and staff generating new ideas (27%).
The Mixed Signals: making sense of apprenticeships after 30 months of the levy report recommended that employers measured the impact of the training by assessing completion rates, internal promotions, turnover, employee satisfaction and productivity.