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Apprenticeship Advocacy Opinion

Registered Apprenticeships are Game-Changers for Employers, Here's Why

Apprenticeship programs can positively impact companies in a vast variety of ways and with the influx of government funds going towards the expansion of these programs now is the best time to pilot a program.

The opportunity to build and recruit a diverse talent pool while increasing retention

When recruiting entry-level workers companies will be able to develop their workforce by training participants within their chosen field in the organization. This allows companies to retain more fully developed full-time employees with industry experience and tested skills. On top of that, they will have specific knowledge of your company which will allow them to operate successfully throughout the organization.

Apprenticeship programs can also help companies fill specific skilled positions that can be hard to find within the job market as well as help them meet the demand for skilled workers across the organization creating a specialized workforce. Many companies now are finding students graduating with traditional 4-year degrees may not necessarily meet their companies’ standards straight out of school and a more cost-efficient way of hiring may lie within the apprenticeship route.

It is often found that people who partake in an apprenticeship at a company become increasingly loyal towards that company and thus are more inclined to continue their career with that company as well. Retention rates and being able to keep promising talent in-house is a serious priority and many companies have found that apprenticeship programs increase loyalty among their participants. It is also seen that apprenticeships within companies raise productivity and worker morale throughout their team which many researchers and company executives believe is due to the learning work environment apprenticeships create.  

Saving money while training skilled workers

Companies that field apprenticeship programs have seen a clear increase in savings financially. With apprenticeships employers curb the costly process of hiring new employers and as they continue to complete training which can show an immediate financial impact within a company. Employers will also see a dip in their recruiting costs as all their talent development would be conducted in-house rather than funds going towards persuading young talent to join the team. Additional savings from apprenticeships can also be produced due to the fact that apprentices make approximately 40-50 percent less than the traditionally trained employee when they start out which can be cost-efficient when training new talent.

Government funds can also play a role in helping businesses jumpstarting an apprenticeship program. Corporations and other small businesses can apply for federal or state-funded grants which can be put towards the overall cost of an apprenticeship program. Since 2017 over 2,000 new apprenticeship programs have been started in attempts to fulfill the growing need for a skilled workforce and since 2013 there has been an 43% increase in registered apprenticeships across the board. Congress also recently passed a vast infrastructure plan that would see a decent amount of federal funds allocated towards the expansion of currently registered apprenticeship programs.

A significant return on investment

Companies looking to increase the overall productivity of their workforce should seriously consider the use of apprenticeship programs a recent survey conducted by Apprenticeship North Carolina found that for every $1 a company invests in its apprentice's results in an average of $1.70 in additional value for the company. It is also found that many companies spend an average of nearly $1,000 per employee when it comes to their training, apprenticeships help to eliminate employee turnover and encourage critical thinking helping to mold hard-working skilled employees.

Karen Morgan of the Department of Workforce Development reports that,

“An extensive 2018 report conducted by the National Apprenticeship Service in the United Kingdom supports that conclusion, too. The agency interviewed more than 4,000 businesses that employed apprentices in 2015 and 2016. Roughly three out of every four respondents stated that their apprentices improved company productivity, the quality of products or services, retention, and staff morale. In addition, more than two-thirds of employers concluded that apprentices helped improve the company’s image in the sector, and nearly a quarter of consumers, according to the survey, were willing to pay more for products from a business that employs apprentices”.

This kind of return on investment is not exclusive to just the United States as we have seen this model’s success on a much larger scale on the world stage as many countries have found a positive reaction to their investment in apprenticeships. Other study’s conducted overseas by the National Apprentice Service in England and Switzerland found that an apprenticeship program could increase a companies economic output by around $350 a week and that employers could also see a net increase of up to $300 million every year due to the on-the-job training method.

Building a stronger workforce for tomorrow

With the fast-growing costs of higher education, alternative paths to well-paying middle-class jobs have grown increasingly appealing. Requiring college degrees for entry-level work automatically excludes a majority of Americans and often results in low diversity rates and eliminates hardworking participants who want to work from the equation. Apprenticeship programs also have the benefit of being flexibly designed allowing employers a more cost-effective approach to training by upskilling their employees while also preparing them for careers that’s they may hold in the future.

Modern-day apprenticeships have developed a learning environment that can be applied to occupations across the workforce. A new initiative in Philadelphia has seen the mayor's office partner with local universities and local non-profits to develop an apprenticeship program that helps transition people into modern society after incarceration. Programs like these can help to build a stronger more diverse workforce but also build the economy and create more options for people entering the workforce.

For these apprenticeship models to continue to succeed the industry must also buy into the system. Education is key in raising awareness that apprenticeships have developed past its blue-collar trade association and moved into a more modern approach that can provide a serious upside in a company. For companies in the U.S. who have already started holding apprenticeship programs 86% of them say they would strongly endorse the model as it could be the answer to the future of our workforce.

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