Apprenticeship is a flexible, employer-driven model of onboarding and upskilling that has many benefits for both employers and workers alike. Investing in their workforce can provide businesses with a competitive advantage by leveraging their most dynamic asset: their people!
- Apprenticeships can be used to improve current hiring and retention practices as well as to support business growth and change management—such as implementation of new technologies or expansion of locations, products, or services.
- The model can create pipelines for diverse new talent and advance current employees to higher positions, cross-train staff in multiple roles, and ensure workers are prepared with the skills and credentials to meet current standards.
By learning on-the-job with a mentor, apprentices are steeped in the company culture and see the standards and expectations of the workplace firsthand.
- New hires are able to learn tasks as they relate specifically to that business, something already required for proprietary or specialized tools, products, or services
- Apprentices can benefit from this support as they have someone to discuss common experiences of that role and navigate the challenges of acclimating to a new workspace
- Teaching the role can provide mentors with a deeper understanding of the job and allow experienced workers to prepare for leadership positions
The related instruction that apprentices receive is meant to deepen and reinforce learning that happens on-site, providing for a sound theoretical knowledge of the craft.
- These lessons provide an understanding of current industry requirements and may allow apprentices to take on different or higher-level tasks quicker
- Strong technical knowledge can result in fewer mistakes and higher output, more consistency, and a reduced need for supervision
- Continuing education can be offered to engage and upskill the current workforce
- Workers can receive education related to specific roles, instead of accumulating large sums of debt for a generalized degree that may not provide hands-on experience
Wages gains are tied to learning and performance milestones.
- Apprentices typically begin at a slightly lower rate to account for the fact that they require additional supervision and training, allowing for initial savings in payroll
- Continued learning and improvement is incentivized by pay raises, which can be offset by additional production from apprentices as they increase their skills and autonomy
Partnerships and public funds can help offset the costs of beginning a program.
- On-the-job training dollars can be used on a reimbursement basis to recover costs
- Businesses connected to intermediaries and education institutions can benefit from front-loaded training, and potential subsidies for coursework and credentialing
- Other public and private grants can be leveraged by intermediaries and employers
Below are a few resources and articles further detailing the benefits and return on investment of apprenticeship programs for businesses.
- Case Western Reserve University and U.S. Department of Commerce: The Benefits and Costs of Apprenticeship: A Business Perspective. 2016