12 January, 2013

2012 has been the year for apprenticeships. With the Government investing £1.2bn into the programme, we've seen nearly half a million people being given the opportunity to train as an apprentice this year.

It is predicted that the programme will be even bigger in 2013, as the companies who have already committed to invest in apprentices believe they will provide the boost the economy needs to get Britain out of recession - only recently we've seen big names like British Gas announce plans for another 1000 apprentices, as well as The Welsh Government adding a £20 million investment into its draft budget for 2014 / 2015.

This is great news for the many unemployed youngsters looking to kick-start their careers, and for those employers who want to benefit from the investments being made into the apprenticeship scheme.

So, with many sectors now becoming more reliant on the government funding to plug skills gaps and target the next generation of talent, how can companies manage their apprentice recruitment drive effectively to ensure they attract the best of the talent?

For those running the schemes the biggest hurdle is managing and communicating with a large number of applicants (many of which don't have CVs) over a set, often short period of time. They simply do not have the in-house resource or the right recruitment technology in place to help streamline the process.

The next challenge is coordinating the online and offline activities when arranging appointments or coordinating assessment centre openings for example, and the fact that communicating with young people requires systems in place that can facilitate and automate Email / SMS communications. Not to mention knowing how to maximise social media channels as well.

Web based recruitment technology is the perfect solution. Career portals powered by feature-rich applicant tracking systems are flexible, customisable and are proven to reduce the administrative and communications burden involved in large recruitment drives. In turn, they improve the candidate's experience and support the business through HR, compliance and management reporting.

Eploy, for example, completely streamlines the recruitment journey, from sifting the high numbers of applications to managing candidate communications, co-ordinating interviews and assessment centre dates, as well as facilitating final selections and on-boarding procedures, i.e. reference checking and acceptance offers. It can also integrate information from third party organisations that undertake telephone interviews, online checks or psychometric tests.

Through our extensive experience of designing and building apprenticeship and graduate career portals for clients, including Travelodge, TOTAL, Kier, Motability, Gen II and Cundall we have, over the years, been able to cross-fertilise a mass of ideas and keep evolving Eploy's functionality in line with industry needs and technological advancements.

New Eploy Web Platform v2

For 2013 this also extends to an all-new web platform, which has been in development for more than 2 years and will give Eploy even greater online functionality. The first clients to benefit from this are Gen II, the largest training provider to the nuclear industry, and Travelodge, who are both currently preparing next year's apprenticeship programmes.

In addition to all the feature rich recruitment tools Eploy is renowned for, the new web platform opens up the system to be even more flexible and intuitive for all types of recruitment activity including apprenticeship or graduate recruitment programmes - for the benefit of the employer and candidate. This includes fully mobile career portals enabling candidates to not only register but manage their entire apprenticeship application via smartphone or tablet devices.

The multilingual system also features advanced new automated SMS / email tools and interactive social media links, which are all integrated into the core system and managed and tracked at source within the software.

Also new is a mobile intelligent mapping and postcode location service that links to a company's career portal / website via Eploy. For example, this feature, which utilises Google Maps, allows candidates to identify and find their 'nearest' apprenticeship assessment centre on their smartphone or tablet and register their details - uniquely with Eploy being truly web based and browser independent, this is compatible with all operating systems including Apple Mac.

All these customisable, time-saving, features and enhanced system capabilities allow the management of an apprenticeship recruitment campaign to be carried out efficiently in a collaborative, transparent environment - and help you find the best apprenticeship talent.

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