Upskilling in business: Busting myths around apprenticeships
Preconceptions associated with studying for an apprenticeship are finally beginning to shift, says Bethan Maund, Head of Apprenticeships at ACT.
Times are changing for our future workforce and businesses too. If there are any positives to come out of the cost of living crisis, seeing the increase in value both are now placing on professional development opportunities is one of them.
For those of us working in the vocational sector, it can be hard not to feel like the underdog at times, but not anymore. Academia will always have its place, but the rising popularity of apprenticeships and other vocational qualifications in recent years has been satisfying.
The Welsh Government knows the value of this alternative way to learn. Last year, it pledged £366 million to deliver 125,000 apprenticeships across the country by 2025.
If you are still unsure about apprenticeships and how they can work within your business, then take a look at the most common myths we come across and see if there are any truths to these preconceptions.
Myth: Apprenticeships are only available in certain sectors
Reality: At ACT, we provide a long list of training programmes and qualifications that help people in all sectors reach their full potential. You may have preconceptions as to what a typical apprentice looks like, and what field they study, but we at ACT provide apprenticeships in sectors from finance and education to healthcare and marketing.
Myth: Taking on apprentices is expensive.
Reality: Most places we now offer are partially or fully funded, even for those in professional roles. Our Learning for Work scheme also offers opportunities for work-based learning qualifications eligible for Part-Time Further Education funding from the Welsh Government.
Myth: Apprenticeships are for school leavers.
Reality: Government statistics show teenagers accounted for less than a quarter (22%) of all those who started an apprenticeship last year. In reality, apprenticeships are a great chance to upskill your existing workforce and help professionals at all levels develop. For example, we run courses like the Accountancy level 4 programme which is aimed at financial team leaders looking to develop their skills further in management and financial accounting, for example.
Businesses are also increasingly realising the role they have to play in supporting successful apprenticeship schemes, as well as seeing them for what they truly are – which is an opportunity to upskill their work force and create jobs to support the wider good of our economy, without it having to cost the earth.
It’s always been important to ensure employees have the opportunity to develop their skills and support the industries they work in, but never more so than in the midst of a cost of living crisis.
So, it’s great to see employers and the workforce in Wales increasingly appreciate what we as training providers have known for years – that apprenticeships really are a smart choice for everyone.