Though National Apprenticeship Week finished last week, the need to continue the focus and discussion around apprenticeships continues. We asked our HR Director, Samantha Rope, to share some of her views on the benefits and values of apprenticeship programmes.
What benefits do you think apprenticeships bring to society?
Apprenticeships are a true enabler to social mobility. Increasingly younger adults from less affluent families are struggling to engage in higher education. Apprenticeships provide an invaluable opportunity for these young adults to continue their education whilst in employment.
From your experience, what contributes to a successful apprenticeship programme?
The role of the manager is vital. Here at Wilson James we recognise that one of the keys to successful apprenticeships is the support learners receive from their manager when engaged on an apprenticeship. That’s why we have invested so much time and resource in focusing on supporting our managers and supervisors on the level 3 and 5 management programmes. Having been on apprenticeships themselves, they will be natural advocates and supporters for their own teams to engage in apprenticeships
How important is the relationship with your selected apprenticeship providers?
Very important – we work in partnership with all our apprenticeship providers. We know our business and our employees better than anyone, and so it is critical that as people leaders we work in partnership with apprenticeship providers to ensure that our apprentices get the right support. That’s why we at Wilson James build our programmes in tandem with partners, being clear about roles and responsibilities to ensure the best outcomes for our learners.
The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced nearly two years ago now. As an HR Director, how has the levy impacted Wilson James?
The Levy has introduced a genuine opportunity to build career pathways. Like all support functions, it is imperative that we demonstrate value for money. The apprenticeship levy is one of the biggest gifts the government has given us: its ring-fenced and dedicated learning budget enables us to deliver the current and future skills needed for Wilson James. It’s true that there are gaps in provision but as HR leaders, that’s within our gift to resolve. Our internal apprenticeship programmes are a true enabler for talent development and succession planning.