Angela Love: Alternative routes to the same destination

With predictions citing that up to half the workforce could be working remotely by 2020, are graduate schemes the way forward for the future? Angela Love from Active discusses.

There is no question that behind every successful business, is a successful team. Every company needs employees that live and breathe the organisation, its ethos, and are passionate about the success and development of it. Obviously, senior management and leadership play a pivotal role in the demand for such an engaged workforce… but I’m finding that more and more, the millennial workforce are helping drive the motivation and energy in businesses. And it’s for this reason, that I believe graduate and apprentice roles should be at the heart of every company now and for the foreseeable future.

The days of molding your CV as you go through college, updating it in your final year of university and applying for jobs that fit the skills of your course are long gone. Younger generations are looking for real work experience as the realisation sinks in that employers are no longer just looking for strong academic merit. They are now looking for a harmonious blend of educational accreditation and actual experience. Take nursing for example; you can read all the books and write all the essays necessary, but until you get on the ward and in front of the patients – you don’t actually know how you’ll fare.

Between July to September 2017, there were over 14 million graduates in the UK alone. With the rise of graduate schemes – as companies finally wake up to the value and necessity of offering such opportunities – comes the lessening stigma surrounding apprenticeships too. Offering a route into an organisation and an invaluable opportunity to develop the expertise employers need; alternative routes into work other than university are finally getting the acknowledgement they deserve. At Active, we firmly believe that apprenticeships and graduate schemes provide a unique opportunity for both employer and employee to learn together.

Those within businesses get the experience of mentoring, training and working with different ages and experiences; and the apprentice, or graduate, is able to learn a whole new array of life skills and find their feet in the working world, through real experience. The all-important learning takes place in the correct context and combines practical skills with theoretical knowledge; something not easily achievable anywhere else.
We all know that working 9–5 can take its toll, no matter what your age or experience. Working life is demanding and high-pressured, so it’s important that the teams you have around you are the most supportive, encouraging and productive as possible. Having a blend of fresh and impartial talent ready to grow organically, and well-experienced, senior staff working together in one team can provide countless benefits. So, in-line with doing things in a less traditional way, consider a mix of producing your own talent, as well as more conventional recruitment.

Regardless if the individual is an apprentice, undergrad or is freshly-graduated, experienced or not – every member of your team deserves equal respect and opportunities. We pride ourselves on developing our own talent and supporting them in whatever way they may need, and equally providing consistent learning and development opportunities for our more senior staff; and everyone in between. We actively encourage our younger generations to work with a mentor, to answer any questions and make them feel at ease, which in turn helps boost their confidence. Dependent on the nature of your business, another key aspect of success in teams with younger staff is collaboration. Newcomers to any business want to feel useful, involved and engaged – so always keep open communication and dialogue, distribute tasks fairly and evenly and always ensure your staff have equal support and resources in place, and watch the benefits and successes pour in.

By 2020, it’s thought that up to half of the UK workforce could work remotely; and so, offices and employers alike must move with the change and support their teams however they require. I truly believe that apprenticeships, placements and graduate schemes are the way forward for UK employment looking ahead to the future of work. Time must be spent on creating programmes that work for both the organisation hiring, and the candidates who are entering the workforce though. ‘One size fits all’ approaches rarely work and don’t translate well into creating that much sought after productive workforce. The key is planning your scheme and pulling in the thoughts of your current workforce, to map out the approach for welcoming the workforce of tomorrow; in a way that will help the business to grow and prosper.

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