8 ways to optimise your apprenticeship recruitment

Tuesday 14 December 2021, UCAS advice


8 ways to optimise your apprenticeship recruitment

Higher and degree apprenticeships are fantastic ways to gain skilled and motivated employees.

Though as the popularity of apprenticeships grows, now is a great time to refine your recruitment techniques to make sure you can hire quality apprentices when you need them. Here are some areas you could consider.

1. Multiple touch points

Younger people consume more content, use more social channels and are more likely to be hired as a result. When coupled with the relevant criteria on your job description – e.g. education level and brand enthusiasm – you’ll have your ‘warm candidate’.

If you tend to recruit at certain times of year, your costs will be lowered by generating a ‘warm candidate pool’ ahead of these times – so your ideal candidates will be ready to go. These apprentices tend to be less aware of your brand initially, but better advocates of it once they’re on board – often, even before formally starting in the role.

2. Optimise year-round recruitment

Another agile recruitment tactic is to check whether your data includes people who are interested in apprenticeships, but may not be immediately ready to apply, rather than just pooling from your current candidates. This makes all-year-round recruiting much easier, creating a ‘door ajar’ rather than ‘fully open’ effect – by including potential applicants who could also be solid brand advocates. Then you can recruit as needed.

3. Apprentice ambassadors for your brand

Role models are essential for inspiring personal change, sometimes even more so in the workplace. Above all else, potential apprentices want accurate representation – to both relate to and aspire to. What’s more, they’d like this earlier in their education journey.

A convenient, cost-effective tactic is to ask prior apprentices in your team to give talks at their old schools or colleges. By giving these narratives a platform, you’ll tell your next apprentices the types of stories they want to hear – and in turn pre-empt them becoming your future brand ambassadors. Not to mention the potential for added reach through Instagram and TikTok.

4. Check prior learning

To see if your candidates are right for you, look at the apprenticeship pathways they’re interested in to make sure they’re appropriate. Do they have the right subject knowledge or the ideal qualifications? Or is there an alternative pathway you could offer instead?

5. Focus on diversity

Most recruiters have been broadening the overall demographics of their new starters in recent years. Thankfully, this pattern seems set to continue to grow, and it’s no different for apprentices.

The more varied your workforce is – with people of different genders, minorities, and ethnicities – the more viewpoints you’ll have, helping your organisation to grow and modernise with society. For example, you can target underrepresented demographics in specific departments, then recruit apprentices from these groups who fit well with your candidate profile.

Similarly, candidates from more rural, sparsely populated areas are often underrecruited. By deliberately broadening your inclusion to these apprentices, you’ll be providing them with a great opportunity that might not be as accessible locally – and the uptake here is relatively untapped.

6. Promote the support you offer

A lot of young people are unfamiliar with how apprenticeships work. So talking about the mentoring, line management, teamworking and social elements of your organisation can be a big reassurance. Knowing there’s support available could help to offset the unknowns.

7. Provide pre-induction learning

During instances where apprenticeship candidates might have more than one employer in mind, there’s the opportunity to provide some initial learning and support. And as a result, hopefully encouraging them to choose your offer.

Facebook groups are an ideal solution. You can create an invite-only group that candidates you’ve made an offer to can join. Here you can let them know more about how the apprenticeship works, things to get up to speed with, and some of the more detailed benefits of your organisation.

8. Advertise your apprenticeships on ucas.com

Where better to advertise your apprenticeships to school leavers than on ucas.com – to 700K young people every year. It’s free to list your apprenticeship vacancies on our Career Finder, and you can set up an employer profile to explain more about your organisation and what it’s like to work for you.

Let us know if we can help!