By Daniel Hunter

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) welcomes the move towards greater employer involvement in the apprenticeship system and is urging employers to think beyond blue collar jobs when designing their own apprenticeships.

Employers’ concerns about the extent to which apprenticeships are sufficiently tailored to their needs was found to be one of the biggest obstacles for taking on apprentices, according to research conducted as part of the CIPD’s Learning to Work programme.

“Employers have been telling us that they wish to have greater involvement in defining apprenticeships, to ensure that they are successfully developing employees who are best equipped for the future of their organisation," Katerina Rudiger, Skills Adviser at the CIPD, said.

"The Government’s announcements address these concerns as they put a clear emphasis on employers and professional bodies owning the process of defining what a good apprenticeship looks like.

“Employers have an opportunity to take advantage of these proposals and think ‘outside the box’ about where apprentices might fit within their business. Traditionally apprenticeships have been common in professions such as engineering and construction but Higher Apprenticeships now provide routes into areas such as marketing, business administration and HR, which would normally require a university degree or academic qualification.

"Employers should seek to engage with apprenticeships across a wide-range of business functions; this will not only increase the number of high-quality opportunities for young people, but will also help employers to grow their own workforce and recruit from a more diverse talent pool.

“Increasing the types of apprenticeship opportunities available will also help to improve the perception of apprenticeships amongst parents, teachers and others who influence young people’s education and career choices. Recent CIPD survey data showed that almost half of working parents believe that apprenticeships are more appropriate for manual or blue collar jobs, a perception that we are keen to challenge. It’s not enough to convince employers that apprenticeships are a good idea, we also need to get the message out to potential candidates and their parents that apprenticeships are a good route into skilled jobs.”

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