25 September, 2011

It's not just McDonalds and Microsoft who can benefit from apprenticeships...

It's now much easier than you may think to establish a successful apprenticeship program and with the funding and opportunity available, now is the ideal time!

Employers need not be daunted by the prospect of finding the right apprentices, according to a leading recruitment software specialist. This follows the recent announcement that a record 350,000 people will sign up for an apprenticeship in England this year, twice as many as five years ago.

Apprenticeships help businesses across all sectors find fresh new talent, and are an effective means of filling skills gaps in current and future workforces. It is also said that training apprentices is more cost effective than hiring skilled staff, leading to lower overall training and recruitment costs. Plus, a high proportion of apprentices will go on to management positions within the company.

The Government is also supporting this apprenticeship drive. Business Secretary Vince Cable and Skills Minister John Hayes recently called on employers to create "a new generation of skilled workers" by taking on more apprentices. They will be working with businesses to deliver 100,000 more apprenticeship places by 2014, and have urged firms to follow the lead of employers who are currently increasing their apprentice intake.

Chris Bogh, Technical Director of eploy® says; "Unlike more traditional recruitment practices, the selection of individuals for apprenticeships is a little different and no less challenging. Companies looking to take on one or more of the 100,000 young trainees should help themselves by implementing an effective and flexible recruitment system."

For the number of opportunities on offer, there is likely to be a much high number of applicants which need to be dealt with efficiently and fairly within a short timeframe - often within defined dates - so setup time and effective execution is paramount.

Chris, says eploy®'s powerful "high volume" recruitment tools have been specially developed over that last 12 years to take the headache out of the recruitment process for many of their clients who regularly recruit new staff via apprenticeship schemes.

The integrated, tailored solutions offered by eploy® mean that any business - large or small - can confidently help younger people take their first step on the recruitment ladder in as smooth a process as possible.

Since eploy® was first developed 12 years ago, it has worked with myriad corporations, universities and agencies to drive efficiencies in their recruitment processes.

Among its latest successes are producing bespoke solutions for two major organisations, Network Rail (in conjunction with Work Resourcing) and GEN II to prepare for their apprentice recruitment drives, which started in January.

Chris said: "The main challenges for any business looking to recruit apprentices are setting up a flexible system that can co-ordinate online and offline activities when arranging appointments or coordinating assessment centre openings, so flexibility is very important in the software you are using."

eploy®'s work with Cumbria-based GEN II, the largest training provider to the nuclear industry, included a web-based system for setting up appointment slots at local assessment centres and for interviews, which the candidate could confirm online. GEN II also used a location finder to offer access to available schemes.

For Network Rail, eploy® incorporated a postcode radius search, which allowed candidates to search for schemes, and fed the company's own online, psychometric tests directly into eploy for ease of assessment.

Bespoke and tailored services can easily be fed into the eploy® system. For Network Rail, it developed custom screens using prompts and the results were converted into a professional pdf format summary for printing or emailing.

"These time-saving features and enhanced system capabilities allow the management of the selection process to be carried out efficiently in a collaborative, transparent environment," explained Chris. Eploy® also has the flexibility to allow for registration forms and processes to be completely customised. Finally, a multitude of reporting features to monitor equal opportunities policies such as ethnic diversity, or to evaluate the success of advertising channels are provided as standard."

A few benefits of running your own apprenticeship program

  • You can be confident that the chosen apprentice is with you because they want to be - they made the decision to pursue this particular career path and will therefore be more likely to be enthusiastic, motivated and loyal to your company.
  • Apprentice programs are a great way to develop your talent pool for the future.
  • The mixture of on- and off-the-job learning ensures they learn the skills that work best for your business.
  • By offering Apprenticeships you ensure that your workforce has the practical skills and qualifications your organisation needs now and in the future.
  • You can realise increased productivity, improved competitiveness and a combined and competent workforce.
  • Training apprentices can be more cost effective than hiring skilled staff, leading to lower overall training and recruitment costs.
  • Apprentices help you fill your skills gaps. They develop the specialist skills you need to keep pace with the latest technology and working practices in your sector.
  • It is widely held that a high proportion of apprentices go on to management positions within their company.

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