By Jessica Houston – School of Marketing Ambassador
With the digital skills gap looming in the industry, and more young people out of employment than ever, apprenticeships provide an opportunity for both employer and apprentice to regain confidence.
It’s no secret that the marketing industry in the UK is facing a significant skills gap, particularly around digital. It’s often difficult for companies to find diverse talent and people equipped with the skills needed to excel in today’s fast-moving environment. With competition rapidly increasing, marketing leadership teams are under pressure to manage their response.
Alongside this, we’ve seen that COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the younger generation and their job prospects. BBC News reported ONS figures that show a fall in the number of 16 to 24-year-olds in employment over the last quarter, decreasing by 174,000 to a record low of 3.52 million in the UK .
What if we could help some of these young people into jobs and equip them with the skills needed to thrive in the workplace? Marketing apprenticeships provide a value exchange for both the employer and the apprentice. The employer gains new skills and diverse talent into their team, and the apprentice receives the support and training required to take the first step in their marketing career.
The number one reason for hiring a marketing apprentice is to bring new skills into the organisation, particularly where there is a skills gap. Organisations can identify the pinch points within their teams and choose an apprenticeship scheme that will best meet their needs. Not only will this bring in new talent and fresh ideas for the team, but it will also allow the more experienced marketers to focus on strategic priorities, increasing company productivity.
An added benefit is a mix of on-the-job learning and study. Apprentices must spend at least 20% of their regular working hours in training or study but with the practical experience to go alongside this; they are likely to learn faster and implement ideas to help the organisation remain competitive.
Lastly, all employers have a responsibility to develop and nurture a pipeline of talent for the future of the organisation from junior members of the team, right through to leadership. Succession planning is a continuous process, and ensuring the team has the right skill set is crucial for the performance of the company. By providing different approaches to training and development, such as introducing an apprenticeship scheme, organisations can ensure they are keeping up to date with the latest trends while supporting young people into jobs.
Buying into an apprenticeship scheme is a cost-effective way for organisations to bring extra resources into the business and provide training opportunities to the local community.
The apprenticeship levy, a UK tax on employers used to fund apprenticeship training, was introduced in 2017 as a way to encourage businesses to take on new apprentice’s and give them more control to provide staff with more significant training opportunities. Large employers with a pay bill of over £3million currently pay the levy (only 2% of employers in the UK), and they can access their funds to contribute towards apprenticeship fees. Small businesses can still access funds to support apprenticeship training, they just have to contribute 5% of the training fees, and the government pays the rest.
To support young people and organisations considering this route, our Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced that any business that takes on an apprentice between August 2020 and March 2021, will get a bonus of £2000 if the apprentice is under 24 and £1,500 if they are 25 years old and over which is timely.
This plan to kickstart the country’s economic recovery demonstrates the value apprenticeship schemes contribute to society and businesses alike.
With the opportunities and backing from the government to support apprenticeship schemes, now is a great time for organisations to consider whether this is the right approach for their business. If the answer is yes, then this four-step process will help to move the conversation forward.
In a rapidly changing industry, it is not enough for organisations to invest in technology; they need to invest in people. As the economy starts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, apprenticeships will play a critical role in attracting the skills and talent required to help organisations to respond and achieve long-lasting results.
To find out more about our digital marketing apprenticeship scheme, download our brochure.