By Daniel Hunter

New guidance from the the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) will help employers across the entire UK ensure that government funding for apprenticeships delivers for employers, individuals and society.

The guidance, which is designed to cement high quality apprenticeships as a viable alternative route into professions and occupations and give employers greater ownership of their delivery, is being launched in conjunction with National Apprenticeship Week, taking place in England from 6-10 February.

The guide, Apprenticeships that Work, has been developed by a working group including representatives from employers including Rolls Royce, Siemens, Capgemini Marks and Spencer and West Sussex Council, as well as trade unions, the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES). It is available to download from the CIPD website at www.cipd.co.uk/apprenticeships

The CIPD has created this guide to support its members, HR professionals and employers more generally in developing and running a high-quality apprenticeship offer that responds to their skills needs. Around a third of employers surveyed by the CIPD currently offer apprenticeships.

Of those who don’t, most believe that apprenticeships aren’t appropriate for their organisation. This new guide is designed to show employers of all sectors and sizes how they can make apprenticeships work for them. However, the CIPD is warning that quality is at least as important as quantity and apprenticeships will fail to meet aspirations unless:

• Apprenticeships are embedded in a workforce planning approach, as part of a long-term strategy on workforce growth and skills development.
• The role that apprentices play in the organisation and how they will be supported, particularly by their line manager, is made clear
• Employers secure the support of the existing workforce, senior management as well as line mangers and trade unions
• The training apprentices receive on and off the job is high-quality and tailored to employer needs
• Relationships with training providers are carefully managed.
• Alternative and more informal recruitment methods are considered, especially when likely candidates are very young and have no prior work experience
• Employers understand the legal framework
• The apprentice is placed at the heart of the apprenticeships programme and employers provide ongoing support, pastoral care and mentoring
• Employers provide fair access to their apprenticeships schemes and widen the talent pool from which they recruit in terms of gender, ethnicity and diversity.

“Good quality apprenticeships can offer an alternative, high-quality route into work and help improve youth employability," Katerina Rüdiger, skills adviser at the CIPD who led the development of the guide, commented.

"They are also a useful tool to achieve a more balanced skills profile in the UK and respond to employer skills needs. Recent government policy has been to encourage more employers to offer apprenticeships but if employers who’ve never hired apprentices before are being incentivised to do so, it’s vital that they get the guidance they need to ensure the apprenticeships serve the needs of employers and employees alike.”

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