Graduate programmes and apprenticeships now hybrid

From their first few days on the job, graduates and apprentices should be prepared to work hybrid. Institute of Student Employers (ISE) annual Student Development survey shows how the nature of work for people starting out in their careers has changed.

From their first few days on the job, graduates and apprentices should be prepared to work hybrid. The annual Student Development survey* shows how the nature of work for people starting out in their careers has changed.

Most employers reported that their graduates (72%) and apprentices (74%) work at home one or two days a week. Around a quarter of organisations expect early career hires to work remotely at least three days a week.

Graduates and apprentices should be prepared to work hybrid from the beginning of their programmes with 62% of employers running a blend of face-to-face and online inductions.

A range of support is available to new hires who are mainly based at home. Just over a quarter of employers provide extra IT equipment and 22% offer additional support from peers or line managers.

The trend towards remote work has had an impact on the type of training graduates and apprentices should expect.

Most employers (55%) believe that remote development activities are less effective at developing early career hires than in-person events. But they also reported that not all online activities are the same and that it is possible to increase the quality of virtual training through careful design. For example, use interactive content, interact with participants, ask questions and interact with a tutor.

The shift to hybrid work has increased emphasis on more human skills. Compared with pre-Covid and last year, more employers report greater concerns about the attitudes and behaviours of graduates and apprentices than their workplace or technical skills.

For graduates, employers were most concerned about self-awareness (35%), resilience (30%) and time management (24%). For apprentices, respondents were most concerned with self-awareness (33%), commercial awareness (32%) and time management (29%).

The lack of these types of skills is likely attributed to the limited work experience opportunities and social interactions available to students during the pandemic.

The majority of employers (72%) agreed that graduates who complete an internship or placement arrive with better skills and attitudes (compared to 63% in 2022).

The long-term effects of the pandemic on students and the shift to hybrid work could be having a detrimental impact on mental health. Compared to previous years, 64% of employers said that the number of graduates and apprentices with mental health issues has increased. The majority of employers (85%) now offer mental health support and counselling.

Stephen Isherwood, CEO of ISE, commented: “Post pandemic influences have shaped how graduates and apprentices enter the workplace. This may be the first time they’ve experienced working life, but young people must be prepared to work hybrid. There is more emphasis on being able to manage themselves and their time.

“This trend towards hybrid work has had a big impact on the provision of development programmes, but it may also have had an impact on wider issues experienced by early career hires, such as increased mental health concerns. Employers have adapted their programmes, so there is more face-to-face interaction and remote support available.”

*Institute of Student Employers (ISE)

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