From education to employment

Majority of businesses considering shift in hiring towards apprentices

students on computer

Businesses in the UK are undergoing a significant shift in hiring practices, with 59% looking to transition a portion of their graduate scheme cohort into degree apprenticeships.

Drawing from a comprehensive survey of HR and business leaders, the figures form part of a new report from Tiro, a leading training provider for science and technology apprenticeships, which looks into current recruitment and retention challenges. The report also features insights from a roundtable summit discussion with experts and leading professionals in the science and technology sectors.

Tiro’s new report highlights that businesses are increasingly taking a blended approach to talent acquisition. Within the past three years, 38% of businesses reported having hired level 6 apprentices through degree apprenticeships, 37% recruiting level 4-5 apprentices through higher apprenticeships, and 30% employing level 3 apprentices through advanced apprenticeships. Overall, 70% had hired one type of apprentice in recent years.

Meanwhile, university graduates are still an important part of the mix, as 71% of businesses actively recruit from this pathway.

Looking ahead, nearly half (46%) of businesses expect an increase in overall recruitment, and 40% plan to expand their hiring of apprentices.

Charlotte Blant, CEO and Founder of Tiro commented:

“Businesses are increasingly considering the shift from traditional graduate schemes to degree apprenticeships, reflecting a desire to combine academic learning with first-hand skills development, providing a more holistic approach to early career development. Degree apprenticeships offer businesses the opportunity to nurture talent from within, creating a pipeline of skilled professionals who have strong opportunities to progress within a company without needing to spend money on a university degree.”

In addition to recruitment, the report also revealed that talent management remains a primary concern for businesses. The top challenges include addressing skills gaps (affecting 72%), retaining staff (67%), managing remote work expectations (66%), attracting candidates from diverse backgrounds (56%) and building a sustainable talent pipeline (69%).

Annette Lewis, UK Operations Training and Development Lead at AstraZeneca and participant in the Tiro science recruitment summit, added:

“One of the challenges when we’re looking to recruit people in early careers is workplace readiness. We’re having to work with these young people in terms of how they work as part of a team and how we like to communicate and collaborate at AstraZeneca.

“Flexibility is all important for the people within this talent pool, but because in-person collaboration is crucial to us we see it in a slightly different way. We want to hire people who want to be part of the excitement of working in our industry.”

Looking at the wider science sector, pipeline issues appear to be prevalent. More than a quarter (27%) of hiring decision makers say the science sector would benefit from more non-university routes into jobs, while 24% suggest that poor science experiences in school play a role in there not being enough early career talent in the sector. As a result, those in sciences are more likely to say they believe that apprentices can help their talent pipeline in the long-term (29% vs 26%).

To download ‘The evolving hiring landscape’ report from Tiro, visit here.

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