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A culture fit for the new generation: New ways of discovering apprenticeships

Jackie Henry,  Managing Partner People and Purpose at Deloitte UK

Welcoming the new generation to the future of work

Take a moment and think back to when you finished secondary school. Exciting, daunting? Which company gave your career a kickstart? What did your office look like?

Leaving school is undoubtedly one of the most significant life transitions for young people, and a hugely exciting time for students to start thinking about the first step in their careers.

But there are some unmistakable differences that firms cannot ignore. Today, as we celebrate the start of National Apprenticeship Week, our young people will emerge into the world of work following almost two years of remote learning. How can we, as employers, make sure we’re looking after those embarking on their early careers?

For 250 school leavers every year, Deloitte is the company that gives them this jump start from our Brightstart apprenticeship programme.

The programme, just like apprenticeships in other sectors, is an earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship, with the chance to gain professional and degree level qualifications.

New ways of discovering apprenticeships

Our recent joiners have had a much different route into their apprenticeship than previous years. For instance, one of our recent joiners, Amrit Bhambra, discovered the BrightStart apprenticeship scheme after a few disruptive years in school caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She didn’t get the grades required for her law degree at university but luckily, during her gap year, found out about Deloitte Legal’s new legal apprenticeships. She was relieved that the financial barriers to a profession in law were removed because she could start earning as soon as she started studying.

For Rumaisa Wajid, an apprentice in our audit business, an apprenticeship was an attractive alternative to the university route into the profession. Although she began university education in 2020, she decided that it wasn’t for her; she didn’t enjoy the remote learning experience and the pressures of studying on campus during the pandemic.

Now she has the choice of when to come into the office and when to work from home, in a way that works for her and her clients.

A culture fit for the new generation

Above all, keeping the conversation open with our people allows us to evolve a working environment that works for them and for the new generation of talent.

Firstly, employers should be focused on helping apprentices grow and learn something new every day as they immerse themselves in exciting projects. Employers have a responsibility to switch on a person’s potential and create a brilliant career – whichever professional direction they chose; we’ll teach them the skills and knowledge from day one.

Secondly, it’s vitally important that young people entering the world of work are given flexibility, choice, and responsibility from day one. At Deloitte, we’ve introduced a hybrid working policy that gives all our people the choice of where, when and how they work and recently announced flexible public holidays after a recent survey showed that the things our people value the most about our new work model are flexibility, trust and inclusion. Four out of five also said that they feel more productive in a hybrid work setting.

For apprentices, this means the option of remote working – but on their own terms; and coming into an office to collaborate with colleagues and clients. We’ve also allocated a budget for new starters to help them kit out their homeworking setting.

And finally, from the moment an apprentice enters the professional world, it is important to ensure they are respected and encouraged to be themselves.

We have 12 thriving diversity networks from GLOBE, our LGBTQ+ community and allies network, to our most recent network – the Black Network, formed in 2020 to support our Black Action Plan.

We know this sets the foundations to help apprentices feel supported as well as challenged to explore, question and collaborate on important projects.

At the same time, their team and peers will teach them all the skills and behaviours – soft and professional, that they’ll need to grow, stretch their thinking and thrive in their position.

These are the priorities that help us welcome the next generation into our workplace and create a strong foundation for them as they build their careers.

Jackie Henry, Managing Partner for People & Purpose at Deloitte UK

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