Using apprenticeships for business recovery in a post-COVID world

5 mins read time

As the UK builds back better from the pandemic, businesses can begin to get back on track in pursuing their long-term business visions and focus on reshaping their futures. But successfully bouncing back from over a year of economic turmoil depends heavily on what strategies and tools businesses decide to use.

At the heart of their recovery will be skills. Apprenticeships provide an invaluable opportunity to not only help businesses recover from the disruption caused by the pandemic - but also thrive in a post-COVID world.

How has covid affected businesses?

The impact on businesses varies, but almost every employer has had to follow social distancing laws and needed to adjust to remote working. This has led to a productivity slowdown in many physical industries such as manufacturing, as well as many hospitality workers leaving their jobs during the Great Resignation.

Not only that, but honouring repayments on business loans (whether private or government granted) has been another issue for many businesses in the early stages of recovery, especially when cash flow is still tight.

Some employers have made the difficult decision to downsize their workforce in response to the pandemic. As the economy starts to develop, the service demand from these businesses will rise - and so will the need to re-staff and re-scale.

How can apprenticeships help businesses recover post-COVID?

With various employer incentives offered by the government, there has never been a better time to set up an apprenticeship programme. In this post-COVID era, businesses will be priming themselves to resume their strategies and re-focus on achieving long-term commercial ambitions. Apprenticeship programs can supercharge businesses recovery in numerous ways.

Strengthening leadership and middle management

Companies that wish to move forward in a post-Covid world will need employees with the right skills in critical areas, such as leadership, project management and data analysis.

But it’s often the case that many middle management positions are filled by employees that have risen through the company structure on performance merit, despite never receiving any standardised training.

To propel a business forward, individuals must be equipped with the right tools to manage and make the right decisions. Apprenticeship training enables companies to train existing and new talent to nationally recognised standards set by employers themselves.

Over time, this will result in companies full of people with the right skills to help it develop – and provide individuals with an opportunity to become socially mobile.

Empowering businesses to do more with less

Companies that have had to downsize or scale back employees during the pandemic can use apprenticeships to their advantage by diversifying the skills of existing employees. While some companies will be looking to scale up, cash flow issues and an economy in warm-up mode will see others opt to restructure and take a more agile approach.

Apprenticeships encourage employees to branch out to cover skills gaps, acting as a source of skills enrichment. There are a multitude of benefits to this approach, as it allows employers to build skills into their existing workforce, particularly if outlay for new hires is not immediately feasible.

Attracting loyal talent

Businesses looking to make a quick recovery and strengthen their positions in the post-COVID market will need first-class talent in their workforce. This relates to new hires that have genuine ambition, passion and drive to build a successful career in their given field.

A great way of tapping into this talent pool is through apprenticeships, which are now being seen by many young people as a credible path to obtaining a career without the financial burden of university.

With no age barrier to becoming an apprentice, employers can benefit from hiring apprentices with different backgrounds, whether that is degrees, life experience, focus and maturity. The pandemic has resulted in huge youth unemployment figures. And with many workers suffering redundancies, there is an eager workforce ready to retrain in new and required vocations.

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Bypassing the COVID-exacerbated skills gap

Skill shortages must be addressed by employers wishing to thrive in the post-COVID economy; in about 75 percent of cases, it pays for an organisation to reskill an employee, according to McKinsey’s report.

More specifically (and particularly since the pandemic) the need to accelerate digital transformation has become critical for many employers. But with a lack of qualified IT & digital specialists, the skills gap is set to grow.

The only solution for employers wishing to weather this growing gap is to furnish personnel with up-to-date industry standard training. Apprenticeships provide this. Every apprenticeship is employer-led, meaning employers can have a real say in shaping the qualification’s content and make sure it reflects real-life business needs.

Not only this, but the training needs to marry the skills and competencies with commercial awareness. Lifetime’s apprenticeship programmes are designed to be business additive by delivering employer-led programmes intertwined with essential interfacing and soft skills.

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Lifetime has supported hundreds of businesses across many diverse sectors. Working with you, we can create the best programmes for you and your learners.

Discover how our expert teams can help you leverage apprenticeships to develop your people strategy and create business impact.

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