From education to employment

Apprentices and the value they can bring to your organisation

Louise Allen

In this article, you will learn about the value apprentices can bring to an organisation, in an effort to encourage employers to provide more apprenticeship opportunities. The article also touches on how apprenticeships have changed since the reform while covering the benefits organisations can gain from hiring apprentices.

Apprenticeship starts are beginning to increase to pre-pandemic levels. Apprenticeships are now more popular than ever before, despite schools pushing young people to take the university route.

The demand for apprenticeships is increasing yearly, meaning employers need to make more apprenticeship opportunities available. While many employers are actively recruiting apprentices across various sectors, there are still employers who are reluctant to hire apprentices, and there are a few reasons why.

It can be argued that many employers are not aware of how apprenticeships have changed since the reform. Prior to the reform, apprenticeship standards, as they are currently known, were apprenticeship frameworks. Apprentices were expected to achieve competency-based qualifications for the apprenticeship, and if they achieved the qualifications within the framework, they had completed their apprenticeship. However, this did not necessarily mean that the apprentice had the right skills to carry out the job, meaning employers had to spend more time training their apprentices to meet the needs of the business.

Many employers may not be aware that since the reform, apprentices must now undergo a final assessment known as End Point Assessment. This element of the new apprenticeship standards was outlined in a review, known as Richards review. The End Point Assessment is developed by industry experts and carried out by independent assessors who will assess apprentices against the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to carry out their role. Employers now have confidence that when their apprentice passes their EPA, they can actually perform in the occupation they have trained in.

Secondly, it is possible that there are employers out there who are paying into the levy but are not using it. One of the main reasons could be that an employer might not feel they require another member of staff and therefore opt against hiring an apprentice to draw down the levy. However, the levy can be used to train existing staff.

For example, a Team Leader could be working towards a new career goal of Operational Departmental Manager but is struggling to learn the skills needed for the role. An apprenticeship would be a great option as it allows the employee to work and upskill while carrying out their current job. This benefits both the employee, as they will achieve a higher-level role after completing the apprenticeship and the employer, as it increases staff retention. It is often thought that apprenticeships are only for school leavers, but apprenticeships are for everyone, at any age or stage in their career.

What benefits can an organisation gain from hiring an apprentice?

Not only are apprenticeships popular among young people, school leavers and those looking to upskill in their current roles, but they are vital for the talent pipeline in sectors such as construction and or healthcare. remain popular with employers in limited sectors, such as construction. There is still a definite need for more employers across all sectors to provide more apprenticeship opportunities.

Employing an apprentice can benefit employers in many ways; it is a productive and effective way to grow talent from within and develop a skilled workforce. Many apprentices fall within the age bracket of 16-18 years old, meaning their apprenticeship is most likely to be their first-ever job. This can be seen as an excellent incentive for employers to take on an apprentice, as it is an opportunity to embed their companies’ values and culture with young apprentices. This allows employers to invest their time and training into a young person, moulding them to be a perfect fit for their business, whilst helping to create the workforce of the future. Studies show that two-thirds of apprentices are more likely to stay in employment with their current employer after completing their apprenticeship.

At NOCN Group, apprentices are at the heart of our business. From a headcount of 188 members of staff, 12 of those are apprentices. They are a blend of existing employees who want to take on a new challenge and upskill in their current role, or in some cases re-skill in a new role, and school, college or university leavers who are only just starting their careers.

NOCN Group has been an advocate for apprentices for many years and recognises the vital role apprentices play in closing the skills gap. By welcoming a new generation of workers through the use of apprenticeships, NOCN are actively playing a part in providing opportunities and End Point Assessment services as the demand for apprenticeships increases.

By Louise Allen, Group Director of Global Business Development and Marketing

Louise has over 25 years’ experience in Business Development and Marketing, working predominantly in the hospitality sector for some of the largest hotel companies across the world. She then transitioned into the outdoor education sector, working with young people of all ages. Louise is now Group Director of Global Business Development and Marketing at NOCN Group. She has a passion for education and skills, believing everyone has the right to all opportunities to learn, at their own pace and in an environment that is right for them.

For further information about our products and End Point Assessment service, please visit our website:

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