Apprentice workers

By Julia Millidge, co-founder & HR director at Payara Services Ltd

Today, a large percentage of jobs are more technology-based than ever before, with digital skills proving to be integral to many roles. For this reason, recruitment within tech has become more challenging in recent times.

Through offering apprenticeship opportunities in partnership with training providers, educational establishments and other organisations, SME owners can ensure they are providing their current (and future) workforce with the necessary skills going forwards.

The rise in apprenticeships

With the current cost of university fees and the hefty debts incurred as a result, more and more students are opting for degree apprenticeships so that they can combine valuable training alongside their studies.

This particular further education pathway allows young people to excel in their university work whilst earning a full-time salary. By working alongside industry professionals and gaining the “real life” skills that employers want, they are also increasing their chances of future employment.

The digital skills gap

The nationwide digital skills shortage will continue to affect productivity and growth if nothing is done to resolve it, potentially resulting in a number of issues such as an increased workload, higher operational costs and even loss of new business across the entire sector.

With this in mind, there are a variety of solutions that SMEs can adopt to help plug this gap, including targeting those entering the workforce. By focusing on creating, training and nurturing a number of skilled individuals through degree apprenticeships, you can do your bit to try and close the current skills gap.

Employer outreach

An active participation in outreach activities or projects within local schools and colleges can give young people the opportunity to experience the modern working environment. In turn, this can highlight where the gaps in their current skillset are and outline what needs to be acquired to ensure future employability.

Start by getting in touch with your local council to find out more about the initiatives they offer. From there, you can target larger regional organisations that not only agree with your overarching goals as a company, but also validate your commitment to growing your own talented pool of individuals through degree apprenticeships.

To strengthen the entire workforce

The workplace is changing at an ever-increasing speed and shows no signs of slowing down, with the tech industry being no exception. Ensuring your workforce possesses the appropriate skills is key to ensuring resilience across your business, and therefore consistent productivity and growth.

For this reason, ongoing training should always be a priority for any SME, whether it’s through the use of digital systems, online learning, software provider resources or hands-on experience. Investing time, effort and money in training your staff will likely result in them being more productive from the outset.

By exposing existing and future employees to degree apprenticeships, you and your business can work towards helping shape the future of the tech industry.