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Watch: How to solve skills shortages with apprenticeships

Can apprenticeships help solve your skills shortages? We put the question to expert panellists from professional services, healthcare and food manufacturing in the the latest HR Lunchtime Debate – now available on demand.

A major benefit to apprenticeships is that they help cultivate talent for the future. 

Richard Waite, people and culture director at professional services giant Grant Thornton UK, said: "There's a big opportunity for organisations to think about the skills of the future and the skills that we'll need to succeed in five or 10 years' time.

"We need to think about how we can scale, upskill and re-skill our current employees, as a means to not only ready ourselves for those future challenges, but also as a way for retaining talent."

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Elizabeth Nyawade, chief of people and culture at Surrey and Sussex healthcare NHS Trust, said apprenticeships have helped her trust retain nursing staff. 

"Apprenticeships have given us a way to grow our future nurses," she said. "It's this incredible mix of having colleagues already working on the ground, whilst they're also learning and also ensuring your future pipeline for talent.

"The future workforce is almost being guaranteed because you've got the people there, and you're growing them. It's a way to retain them and improve on what they're doing."

The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, Waite added, has helped businesses to take schemes more seriously. 

He added: "HR teams have had to get a lot smarter in terms of how we reinvest that money into learning and development through apprenticeships for our people. I think they're overlooked less so than maybe they were five-plus years ago."

'Apprenticeships are overlooked less so than they were five plus years ago.'

Hayley White, early careers manager at food company Greencore, said apprenticeships represent a great opportunity for those looking to change careers. 

She added: "Apprenticeships are a really good way to offer an opportunity to upskill those who might not have had the chance earlier on in their working lives – especially those who might have stumbled into an accidental career.

"You do see many people who have accidentally worked for a company for many years, who potentially wouldn't have had the opportunity to go to university for whatever reason. You can utilise apprenticeships and upskill people to make sure that you've got the talent that you want."


Watch the full webinar on demand here.


Catch up on all HR Lunchtime Debates here.