I’m sure many people will agree with me when I say it’s a very exciting time for the skills sector.ÂÂ

The recent Comprehensive Spending Review saw the pledge to fund the creation of 75,000 more apprenticeships by 2015 and this is exactly the injection of interest this sector needs.

You might not be aware, and I wasn’t myself until recently, but apprenticeships have been going since the 12th century and I feel we have a duty to continue this legacy. I feel excited for the HR Directors out there as this new injection of a hefty £605 million into apprenticeship schemes now offers companies a more appealing route to go down.  Hiring and firing can be a tricky process; you only need to look at Lord Alan Sugar’s encounters in the boardroom to see that.  Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to test the water with new recruits, training them on-the-job and more importantly getting to know them before offering them full-time, paid employment?

There are many benefits to implementing an apprenticeship scheme, however in order to get the best out of an apprentice, I feel you should remember a scheme like this is as much about you getting to know them as it is about them checking and seeing if the industry and company is the right one for them.  Good first impressions are essential.

Although they are a way of successfully hiring and training people, you must remember that everyone who enters your firm even if only for a weeks training will form opinions of you.  You need to make sure you give a good impression so whether or not the apprentices end up being employed in your company, they leave or remain as advocates of your firm.

Spreading the good word about your company, they will then help in attracting new trainees, apprentices and business to your firm.  One mustn’t forget apprenticeship schemes also create the opportunity to engage future talent with the employer brand, helping them get to know the style, flair and skill behind the success of a brand.  This will definitely ensure best value of your apprentices and allow you to reap the benefits in the long-term.

With University fees spiraling out of control, I feel we need to put more emphasis on the alternative routes to entering your dream job.  I’d like to see apprenticeships being given the same value as degrees, offering young people an alternative and arguably more effective option to studying.