How Apprenticeships Turn Your Job Training Into An (Unfair) Advantage

Create a competitive advantage in your workforce development by upcycling your job training into an apprenticeship program, with a few simple changes.

February 11, 2024

If you’re an employer, you’re missing out big time if you don’t have an apprenticeship program. We might be asking, “We already have a job training program, why do I need an apprenticeship program?”

Companies know that training and developing employees is vital to business success. Here’s the problem, though: the current hiring and job training process is unbelievably broken. 

Job Training is Only for Today’s Tasks

Job training occurs during new hire onboarding. It may include some formal coursework or training, but it’s primarily made up of informal training. This training teaches an employee the necessary skills to perform their everyday tasks. 

Job training is designed for today’s urgent tasks. But, what happens in a year or two when the tasks are different? You see employee productivity decrease, employees become unmotivated, and your employee turnover rate increases. 

The typical job training program leads to a major problem: scaling your employees. Companies often “outgrow” employees. Someone who was a rockstar in year one is barely able to do the work in year two, which quickly equates to high turnover rate and decreased business success. 

Stop Hiring for Today, Train for Tomorrow

If success to your business looks like one (or more) of the following:

  1. Retaining current employees by investing in their growth
  2. Creating a talent pipeline by hiring entry-level and building them into leaders
  3. Upskilling current employees to match the needs of the business
  4. Recruiting a more diverse workforce
  5. Improving productivity and profitability of your business

Then it’s time to change your employee strategy. 

The truth is: you need to invest in training for both today’s job and tomorrow’s job, and apprenticeships do just that.

An apprenticeship program is a type of workforce development that designs an upskilling plan to support success now and in the future. Apprenticeships are rooted in establishing skills, ensuring that the program provides each employee the competencies they need to help the business achieve its goals and long-term success. 

Apprenticeship programs focus not on what the employee needs to know today but on how an employee can grow and develop over time to contribute even more within the business. 

And the biggest kept secret that’ll give your business an unfair advantage? 

You actually only have to implement a few small changes to your job training program to create an apprenticeship program with 10x more benefit for your company. 

Upcycling Your Job Training Into an Apprenticeship Program 

a chart on turning your old fashioned job training into a modern apprenticeship programi

Build a better workforce by evaluating on skills, not just credentials

It’s hard to hire people, especially good people. We get it. In today’s job market, companies have to get leaner. You have to find fewer people to do more things. 

How do you do that? 

If you have a job training program, it’s more than likely you’re hiring based on education and experience. You’re looking for signals. But hiring on education and experience is little more than guesswork.

You’re assuming that just because a school has a lower acceptance rate, that means the students are more qualified. 

Transcripts say little; an A at one university could be a C- at another university. 

Credentials say little; according to Credential Engine’s 2021 Report, there are 967,734 unique Postsecondary and Secondary credentials in the U.S.

 How are you going to judge the quality of one credential from another? You’re guessing. And how are you to ensure those credentials, that education or experience translates to the skills you need at your company? You can’t. You’d be guessing.

If you want to create an unfair advantage for your company, you need to stop asking, “what credentials do they have?” And start asking “What skills do they have?”

a chart on the breakdown of skills

You have to be a bit of a visionary, imagine what skills your company actually needs – today and in the future – and reserve engineer those into your hiring criteria. Take the guesswork out of it.

See where your company is headed and determine what skills your company needs, and train your employees while they’re doing the job. This “train for tomorrow’s skills” is inherent in the structure of an apprenticeship program. 

Provide a manager and a mentor for employee support

No entry level employee is going to talk to their manager when they’re struggling with personal issues. In an apprenticeship program, apprentices are assigned to both a manager and a mentor to increase job security.

A mentor’s job is to meet with the apprentice and help them when they are struggling. They don’t have the authority to fire the apprentice. 

You want employees to be comfortable. You want them to be supported, so issues can be uncovered, diagnosed, discussed, and solved. By supporting your apprentices with a manager and a mentor, your company’s job training turns into an unfair advantage.

Grow your company with a skills-based job post

Job posts are typically written based on education and experience. Apprenticeships write skills-based job descriptions with the opportunity explicitly laid out.

When you post your job as a skills-based apprenticeship, two things happen. 

First, you open yourself up to a broader pool of candidates. Perhaps candidates who didn’t go to college or are from underrepresented groups, but who still have the skills and motivation to learn and work. For example, when we posted a digital marketing apprenticeship for Ravience, about 3,000 candidates typically submitted an application. 

Second, by the nature of an apprenticeship job post, you present a clearly designed plan for growth within your company. When we see the path, we are more likely to follow it. 

By offering an opportunity for continuous learning and growth, your turnover rate decreases and employees are more prepared for the jobs today and tomorrow. 

Within Apprentix, we write a skills-based job description for you automatically, depending on the job you choose for your apprenticeship program. So, this small shift from job training to apprenticeship? It’s beyond easy. 

Be confident your employees know the theoretical knowledge

The typical job training program offers limited to no formal coursework to provide theoretical knowledge. Rather, job training is a mix of informal and formal training, heavier on the informal. You have to depend on whatever theoretical knowledge a new hire received from a credential – guesswork.

The structure of an apprenticeship requires a certain number of hours to be dedicated to  formal coursework. Everyone knows what’s happening, what theoretical knowledge the apprentice will learn, and there’s less reliance on informal training. You’ll also all stay on the same page with an apprenticeship program’s well-defined learning schedule – no guesswork.

Motivate employees with wage progression visibility

You need to involve your employees in their own benefits. It motivates anyone when there are high stakes! But in a typical workplace, raises are hidden, secretive, and unknown. 

Apprenticeships clearly and explicitly define when someone gets a wage progressions. In Apprentix, we’ve made it simple to set the standard of a wage progression. When an apprentice learns X or work X number of hours or completes X, they’ll make $Y more.

Visible and known, wage progressions motivate employees to productivity, and higher productivity means happier employees and better business success. 

Open your company to funding to offset employee training costs

Any and all job training expenses come out of pocket. 

Having a federally-registered apprenticeship can open your company up to a variety of funding opportunities to help offset any training costs. 

Run apprenticeships, not job training

The truth is: job training programs are antiquated, only preparing people for the urgent problems your business faces today. Apprenticeship programs prepare people for the problems you have today and tomorrow.

We’ve made it easy for you to get started on making a few minor tweaks to turn your old-fashioned job training into a modern apprenticeship program that attracts diverse candidates and creates long-term business success.

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