Apprenticeship Programs: A Workforce Game Changer

Apprenticeships are one method to meet talent needs today as well as build the workforce of tomorrow. Workforce development efforts around technology apprenticeships can provide workers with in-demand skills and these initiatives could not have come at a better time for both employees and employers in the United States. Despite the fact that the unemployment rate in the United States remains low, even after COVID hit the economy, about six million Americans remained unemployed, and seven million positions stayed unfilled. In this blog post we’ll discuss the value of using technology apprenticeships to build your workforce.

What are Registered Apprenticeships?

A Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is an organized education and training program that takes place in the workplace and consists of official, on-the-job (OTJ) training as well as classroom-based, relevant technical instruction (RTI). From the commencement of the program, an apprentice is a full-time, paid employee of the sponsoring organization. Apprentices work full-time and are paid a wage that is subject to minimum wage requirements but typically start lower than a regular employee in that role and advance in salary once the apprenticeship is completed or as the apprentice achieves milestones such as completing a particular amount of program hours or exhibiting job competencies.

How are RAPs being applied to technology positions?

Historically, apprentices were part of the Guild model that was typically only applied to skilled labor positions. Learning a “trade” while performing it was an effective way to build knowledge and experience. However, now this model can be applied in a best-practice model to technology positions.

From 2018 through 2023, the US economy is forecast to add more than eight million jobs, mostly due to the tech sector. Many occupations will demand that individuals have strong technical abilities as new technologies become a critical part of more firms’ day-to-day operations. Thought leaders point to fields such as analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics as causes contributing to the talent gap. However, Allegro Learning Solutions clients have expressed much more of a need for positions in software development, cybersecurity, network administration, and project management. Many of these new jobs necessitate a unique blend of technical and soft abilities but do not necessitate a four-year degree. Instead, they belong to a new class of jobs known as new collar jobs.

New collar employees, as coined by former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, can flourish in positions that need particular technical skills, but they may have learned parts of those skills at community colleges, Bootcamp programs, or even completely self-taught. Career changers with backgrounds in other industries who obtain the necessary skills to transfer into in-demand professions may also be considered new collar workers.

Employers will continue to struggle to locate skilled personnel to fill these new-collar jobs unless your organization adjusts in how it hires and trains employees. Apprenticeships can play an important role in your solution.

Does your organization face these challenges?

If these challenges seem too familiar, consider Allegro Learning Solutions as a partner. We provide the services your organization needs to grow capabilities through knowledge and education.

How can your organization benefit from RAPs?

Here are a few reasons why business owners should take advantage of apprenticeship training.

1. Fill the Skill Gap

While skilled trade workers are in high demand, many lack the necessary skills to succeed in the industrial sector. Internally, training and upskilling your employees in the skills required to be highly efficient workers will help to create the next generation of workers.

There are apprenticeship partners with training services that cover skills in many industries, and numerous soft skill categories. Your organization can create RAPS through a collaboration with an apprenticeship partner to tailor a training or apprenticeship program to meet your workforce needs.

2. Improve Workplace Productivity

Apprenticeship programs can assist in the development of “future-proof” workforces. They provide one-of-a-kind training opportunities to motivated individuals working in highly skilled industries. Apprenticeships can be customized to your specific workplace, ensuring that staff is not given generic training. Instead, the abilities they develop are specific to your organization and its demands

Not only are these individuals better qualified for the job, but investing in their professional development will also result in a more loyal and engaged workforce, lowering staff turnover and increasing overall productivity.

3. Encouraging employee retention

Apprentices will be highly motivated, have a tendency to stay dedicated, and will be a true advocate for your establishment if they acquire “tricks of the trade” through vocational training. According to the National Apprenticeship Service, 92% of employers who hire apprentices believe it results in a more motivated and pleased workforce, with 80% reporting a considerable boost in employee retention.

Apprenticeship programs inspire employees by setting quantifiable goals, causing them to view their work as a profession. This fosters a culture where employees want to stay with you for the long haul, saving time and money on recruitment. Additionally, involving current employees in apprenticeship programs can help them see their own worth, which will increase their drive.

Demonstrating your willingness to invest in your employees’ future will motivate them to invest in.  

4. Increasing employee satisfaction

Apprenticeships will fine-tune your employees’ skills and abilities, resulting in a significant improvement in the level of service provided.

Apprenticeships helped 86% of companies build skills relevant to their organization, according to a government survey. This is due to the skills, information, and behaviors acquired through an apprenticeship, which are offered by experienced industry professionals in the workplace.

In a field like hospitality, learning how to create a dish or deliver outstanding service by being taught the ropes by an expert is more efficient and fascinating than reading about it in a book.

This hands-on learning method also allows the apprentice to earn while they study, making it more adaptable to a wider range of people’s lifestyles, allowing you to recruit from a larger pool of candidates.

5. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through Apprenticeship Programs

Diversity focuses on differentiating the populations represented in apprenticeship and the related industry, such as increasing the proportion of persons of color in predominantly white apprenticeship programs or increasing the number of women in predominantly male apprenticeships and industries.

Equity focuses on eliminating practices and/or processes that prohibit the apprenticeship or relevant industry from achieving the same high outcomes, such as retention and progress. Examining prejudices or cultural preconceptions that harm people of color, women, and others in the selection, evaluation, and progression process are all part of this.

Inclusion is defined as fostering an environment in which all employees feel respected, involved, connected, and appreciated in their workplace, as well as demonstrating that the employer values all ideas, backgrounds, and viewpoints.

6. Technology Pipeline

In terms of Technology Pipeline, apprenticeships help develop a steady flow of technology workers into the organization and the following are its advantages:

What are the challenges/drawbacks of RAPs?

Despite the advantages to your organization, building an apprenticeship program requires some effort. What, you thought you were going to solve your tech workforce problems and get government money and it would be simple? Seriously, the challenges below are easily managed by working with partner apprenticeship organizations. But you should be aware of them up-front.

New models for training

Former apprenticeships were frequently vocational, which means that many of the available models and curriculum are designed for skilled trades. Developing the best on-the-job training and educational curriculum is something that requires commitment and some experimentation. Fortunately, there are companies and organizations that specialize in apprenticeship training that can assist your efforts in this new area. Also, remember that this training is paid by the government in most apprenticeship programs.

Apprentices are employees

Apprenticeships are government-funded and applicants can be screened to  meet your workforce needs. However, once they are accepted into your apprenticeship program, they are employees of your organization. This can place a burden on your HR and hiring managers to recruit and identify the employees who will fit the needs and culture of your organization. This is where partner organizations with recruitment and talent acquisition experience can support your effort.

Paperwork and Bureaucracy

Registered Apprenticeships require registration with the US Department of Labor. As you can guess, this means regular reporting and compliance filings. However, there are simple ways to register and streamline your Registered Apprenticeship. Using a technological platform to manage your apprentices will help to generate the data necessary to complete reports automatically. As mentioned before, there are partner organizations that specialize in managing all the compliance and registration aspects for your RAP.

How can Allegro reduce the challenges while allowing the organization to receive the benefits?

Allegro Learning Solutions provides the knowledge and programs to build the workforce of the future. Together, we evaluate your educational capabilities end to end.  Allegro then adds the critical missing capabilities for your program: planning, content, delivery, or administration.

If your most critical gap is administration, we provide the processes, platforms, and know-how to create a model for education and learning within your organization. If your most critical gap is developing technical content, we customize our content to create a rigorous and industry-approved curriculum for you.

Our Services Allegro fills critical gaps in your education capabilities. Some of our services include:

  • Content development – apprenticeship training modules on technical and professional topics such as Silicon Valley Innovation, Cybersecurity, Blockchain, E-business, UX, communications, project management, team collaboration, and more.
  • Program Management – Program management for your apprenticeship program that includes strategy, technology, employee management, training, and compliance.
  • Recruiting – talent acquisition of candidates that fit your ideal employee profile in technical skills, soft skills, and aptitude.
  • DEI Programs – increase diversity in your organization by connecting your DEI efforts to educational outreach and programs.

Apprenticeships are tried-and-true workforce development strategies that support both employees and employers. Technology apprenticeship expansion in the United States will address some of the barriers that have prevented organizations from finding technology talent.