Recently I was listening to a BBC 2 radio call-in programme on the place for apprenticeship programmes in today’s education and training landscape. Although really pleasing to hear a discussion focussing on apprenticeships in prime time national radio broadcasts, I couldn’t help being struck on how the majority of the conversation still focussed on an apprenticeship model within a traditional craft industry without any real mention of the opportunities that an apprenticeship scheme can offer both students and businesses across all sectors.

As the Director of the Greater Birmingham Professional Services Academy I am a huge advocate for the apprenticeship model within the Professional Services Sector, a sector that traditionally has focussed entry-level recruitment on higher level qualifications and university graduates.

More and more firms in the sector are beginning to launch, or develop, their own professional higher level apprenticeship programmes to allow school or college leavers to entry the sector and embark on their early careers through a mix on “on-the job” training and study programmes.

For me the advantages of the model are clear and numerous but if I was to just focus on one it would be the positive impact a well-developed and managed scheme can have on all recruitment and development challenges.

Too often I hear firms complaining that they are struggling to recruit staff, and in particular to recruit young staff who have the skills, knowledge and attitude to add value to their business. An apprenticeship model can help solve this. By working with young talent, helping to influence their work behaviour and shape their learning and progression, employers are not only able to address their succession planning but are also more likely to have a team of young, inspired and motivated young people.

Recently I launched the Professional Services Academy’s Talent Management Scheme – to find out more email me (suzie.branch@bmetc.ac.uk) and let’s see how we can inspire young people together.