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The year ahead in apprenticeships – six key trends

Apprenticeships for Business: Six Key Trends

From the growing trend to use apprenticeships as a route to upskill existing workers, to addressing the chronic shortages in data science, cyber security and digital marketing, leading provider of apprenticeships and digital skills training, Apprentify Group, predicts their six trends for the coming year. 


Drive for Quality 

Much has been made in the media of poorly managed apprenticeship providers that do damage to the reputation of the sector as a whole. Next year will see a shake-up of low-quality apprenticeship providers as the government enforces a far stricter certification regime, and organisations pay more attention to Ofsted rankings in their choice of supplier. Employers who pay the apprenticeship levy will want to see a better return for their money and will start to understand that not all providers are equal. 


In-work Apprenticeships to Grow 

Next year will see a growing acceptance of the value of in-work apprenticeships. Rather than just being seen as a way of getting the unemployed into work, there will be a rise in the number of organisations that use the apprenticeship route to upskill existing workers, especially in areas of high demand like data science and digital marketing. 


Employers Will Learn to Nurture Apprentices or Lose Them 

There will be a shift towards employers offering a clear growth path to employees on apprenticeship programmes. The traditional “enrol and forget” policy has led newly trained and skilled employees to knowing their value in the marketplace and moving on for higher salaries. “Expecting younger staff to confront their bosses and ask for the pay rise justified by their new skills is unrealistic. So, you need to coach them along the way so they understand their prospects with your company.” said Apprentify Group CEO Jonathan Fitchew. 


People will stop asking: “Why do I need a Data Analyst?” 

Data analysts will be in even higher demand as organisations realise that this role is not some back-room boffin but an essential role in driving growth and efficiencies in every part of the business. They will become the keeper of the keys to the kingdom of growth, not just the spreadsheet wizard. As digital transformation becomes the norm someone has to make sense of the data that will drive investment decisions. With such skills in short supply, it is vital that companies invest in building teams of data analysts. Fitchew added: “12 months ago we heard employers ask why on earth they needed a data analyst. When they realise they can’t find out what is driving their business without one, they will stop asking this question.” 


Cyber-crisis will need Urgent Action 

The chronic shortage of cyber security skills will be addressed by a drive to train non-graduates. With the UK now suffering the third highest number of ransomware attacks globally, companies have to move fast to fill the gap, and the sky high salaries for the diminishing pool of cyber talent will be unaffordable for many SMBs. Apprenticeships will form part of this strategy, but local and regional authority-funded boot camps will also play a major part as companies understand the urgency of the situation.  


Increasing use of Sales Apprenticeships as Companies Realise they need to Grow their Own 

One area that has seen rapid growth in the last 12 months and will really take off in 2023 is the sales apprenticeship. In the past, salespeople were seen as being “born not made” but this is just not the case. Companies who have struggled to fill sales vacancies will see the value of training their own people with government support, rather than gambling on “proven” sellers that come with a hefty recruiter’s fee and no guarantees. 

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