Apprenticeships: the key to tackling the skills gap

Jill Whittaker (pictured), Managing Director of Conntect2Care, the leading training and apprenticeship provider in the care sector, explains the benefits of investing in apprenticeships.

“Recruiting and retaining staff in the care and nursing sector has never been more important. According to Skills for Care, just under 340,000 social care employees leave their job each year. To put this into perspective, on any one day there are 90,000 vacancies for social care jobs in England. Apprenticeships may be the way to address this problem.

“The skills shortage is creating increased pressure for all those working in the industry. Whether this means working longer hours or within smaller teams, having to rely on a constant turnover of short-term staff or in extreme cases, closing parts of a business, the situation is untenable and needs to be

“While there isn’t a quick-fix solution, there are steps which employers in the care and nursing sector can take to lessen their recruitment challenges and position their business as a desirable place to work. And this is where investing in staff training and apprenticeships really comes into its own.

“Most businesses will run staff training to some degree but it’s a bespoke and strategically planned development programme that will set you apart from the competition when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. Apprenticeships in particular are a great way to appeal to those looking to grow their career, as they set out a clear development path and provide employees with an end goal to work towards. In fact, one in three apprentices receive a promotion within a year of completing their training.

“By training employees at all levels, businesses can also ensure they’re up and cross-skilling their teams. This helps people to move into new roles, keep training current and potentially plugging skills gaps which open up. It can also have a positive knock-on effect for staff retention with 80% of employers stating a significant increase in retention as a result of implementing apprenticeships. And the benefits don’t end there, as 72% of businesses also report a direct increase in productivity of £214 per week from employing an apprentice and 92% experience a more motivated and satisfied team.

“When it comes to implementing an apprenticeship programme, the key is to remember that apprenticeships aren’t just for the younger generation or new people coming into the industry. With qualifications starting at level 2 right the way through to degree-level 6 and 7, there are apprenticeships available to suit all business functions and training needs. The intcare-apprenticeships-1roduction of the new apprenticeship standards, which have been developed by an industry trailblazing group and will replace the current frameworks, also offer greater flexibility to employers and mean that businesses can create more bespoke programmes to specifically match individual requirements.

“With uncertain times ahead, particularly with the implications from Brexit and an already widening skills gap, apprenticeships provide care employers with a framework and strategic process for recruiting and retaining employees. By improving employee satisfaction and motivation, creating financial efficiencies and positioning businesses as an attractive place to work, the benefits of investing in staff training and apprenticeships speak for themselves.”


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