What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you think of apprenticeship? Is it cheap labour, manual work, low wages or alternate education for students who are not regular school-goers? If you are a Recruitment/Talent Acquisition or an HR professional, you should continue reading as we debunk the 7 most common misconceptions of apprenticeship.
- Apprenticeships and internships mean the same thing: Internships and apprenticeships are two different ways through which the Talent Acquisition team can build a pipeline of ready-to-work talent. The two are often conflated because they both offer hands-on training, but each serves a different purpose and has different outcomes. Interns gain work experience, often while enrolled in a separate education program, but they require in-depth training to be employees. Apprentices are trained during their apprenticeship program to immediately get into the role of employees as they are formally trained on the job and certified for a particular industry. Internships could be unpaid, while apprenticeships are paid and often lead to a permanent job.
- Apprenticeship is an avenue for companies to procure low-cost labor: Apprenticeships have had a beat down in the past couple of decades because of the faulty understanding that apprentices often start at lower wages. Though it may be true in some stances, research finds that today’s employers are more interested in investing in apprentices’ skills than investing in apprenticeship to hire cheaper workers. Employers pay for expensive training on top of apprentice wages, and as apprentices become more productive, their wages increase as agreed upon in their apprenticeship contract laid out at the commencement of their work. Apprenticeships eventually lead to positions that are a step up from their current roles. Amid an expected shortage of workers, employers can use apprenticeships to gain a pipeline of site-specific, skilled, and productive workers. In fact, employers see a return on investment for registered apprenticeship programs invested in an apprenticeship by the second year of employment.
- Apprenticeships are only for the building/construction trades and for Non-academics: Long used as an effective recruitment practice in the building and construction trades, the apprenticeship model has now increasingly been embraced by industries such as advanced manufacturing, accounting, healthcare, IT, and hospitality with increased success PAN India. Apprenticeships are also increasingly considered an alternative for training in the science and engineering workforce. But Manufacturing, Retail, Healthcare, Logistics, Hospitality, sectors have further amped up their hiring policy, as over 40% of them are keen to hire apprentice. If you are a HR in either of these industries, we urge you to explore opportunities with apprentices.
- Stigma surrounding enrollment to apprenticeships as limiting their career growth: Apprenticeships are sometimes viewed as viable only for a small slice of students who aren’t “college-ready.” But it should be known that apprenticeships are offered by a range of employers and other sponsors, including state governments and MNCs. Along with this growing enthusiasm, if more and more organisations follow suit and thoughtfully include and safeguard the rising opportunities for apprentices, apprentices can supersede the employability standard, to become a high-quality, competency-based medium that meets the needs of the job and the employers alike.
- University graduates earn more than apprentices: There is a common belief among employers, students, parents that a university education is the only medium to earn more money. Although apprentices start with stipends that are lower at times, with an intent towards degree connectivity, they could be more qualified than a plain graduate as they not only have the on-the-job skills but also the degree to back it up. Apprentices have the benefit of real work experience which they have built up and a certification behind them to prove it. By contrast, many university students struggle to find work due to their lack of experience. Graduates may even finish university and end up doing a job that they could have landed without three years of studying. So, if you’re a recruiter and next time you plan your recruitment-drive on college campuses, perhaps you should visit this site.
- Apprentices can bootstrap their careers at any age: Realistically, this depends on the apprentice and the employer, but anybody of any age can be an apprentice, as long as they are over 16. There are incidents when people in the early 20s have joined an apprentice program and made themselves job ready. Most Indian companies also pay the minimum wage as per the Apprentices Act, and they eventually become semi-skilled and skilled workers through the provisions of the state and the employing companies.
- Apprentices have singular skills to do a single job: Apprenticeship programs prepare apprentices for a particular role or career path, but the core idea is to train them with valuable key skills to sustain in the job market. Over the course of an apprenticeship program, apprentices pick up transferable skills which could be used in different roles and different companies just like employees. So they pretty much adapt and make themselves relevant despite the changing tides of employability or market volatility. The bottom line is that apprenticeships are best suited for a large majority of industries, and the misconceptions surrounding employing them or assumptions of their skill sets needs to be relearned. As business owners and HR professionals, you can be the real change-makers in prioritising or considering apprentice employment. This will yield macro-economic benefits that will not only scale the benefits of businesses and industries but the Indian economy itself.
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