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The changing face of the workforce

How Is Apprenticeship Transforming the Modern Workforce?

Apprenticeships have played a vital role in recent years by simplifying staff training and HR operations. Staff training has always been a challenge for HR teams, but the increasing adoption of in-house training programs has emerged as the ray of hope.  

Let’s briefly discuss the role of apprenticeship in transforming the modern workforce. 

An Overview of Apprenticeship and Its Condition in India 

The advantage of apprenticeship for both the employees and employers are widely tested and accepted. However, India lacks in developing and executing apprenticeship programs, which is a significant point of concern as the unskilled labor force of India is proliferating. 

Out of 500 million formal labor force of the country, only 3,00,000 (approx) are undergoing apprenticeship training programs. Presently, there are 30,165 apprenticeship establishments in India, most of which are under the central and state government undertaking. 

The primary concern is the lack of awareness regarding apprenticeship programs in the private sector, a field where apprenticeship is essential. A report suggests that more than 75% of the employers experienced an increase in productivity with an apprenticeship program. And in a country like India, where the manufacturing industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors, in-house training programs are crucial. 

How Has Apprenticeship Changed the Modern Workforce?

The education system in India or any other country is not oriented towards the development of industry-specific skills. Schools, even colleges, focus on providing standard education, instead of applicable skills that can add value to the industry. 

Stylized model of apprenticeship training
A stylized model of apprenticeship training

Although the education system does not seem to change, and we cannot expect a significant change shortly, it is essential to look for alternatives that fill up the skill gap. Apprenticeships have emerged as a robust solution to this problem by providing a flexible approach to developing new skills and upgrading the existing ones. 

How Is It Better Than the Previous Workforce?

It is evident that apprentices provide significant benefits to an organization, more about which is discussed in further sections. But how are apprentices different from traditional employees? Let’s dig into some differences. 

Apprenticeships- the twin perspective
Apprenticeships – the twin perspective – Employee and Employer

Skill Gap

As discussed earlier, the modern-day education system doesn’t impart skill development, because of which, most college graduates lack the skills necessary for driving an organization forward. Apprentices are trained and so, when they get deployed, they are already equipped with the required skills, which fill up the skill gap. 

Flexibility

Consider a scenario in a college where you were trained to operate a machine by rotating the main lever three times, and rotating the three secondary levers once each in the clockwise direction. But when you get employed in a company, you find out the requirements want you to operate the machine in the exact opposite fashion. 

Not only will it be frustrating for you to learn to operate the device all over again, but it will also hinder your core skills as well. This is precisely what happens in the case of traditional employees; however, the operations are much complicated than using a machine. 

Since the company itself conducts apprenticeship programs, it can train apprentices the way it wants them to perform, making it easy for both the employer and the employee. 

Low Costs

Many companies have in-house training programs for new employees, but they are more expensive. First and foremost, apprentices are available to work at a relatively lower wage, not because their skills are not valued but because the organisation also invests time into training them. The apprenticeship hiring enables an organization be productive at a lower cost.  

Targeted Skill Training

As discussed previously, apprenticeships allow companies to train their employees for specific skills according to the industry requirements. For example, suppose a company wants to hire a software developer possessing skills in C, C++, and C#. But when the company conducts interviews, it discovers that all the candidates possess C, Java, Python, and JS. Although the skills are valuable, they are of no use to the company. 

In the case of apprentices, the organization can provide targeted skill training to avoid the above scenario.

Organizational Benefits of Apprenticeships

Apart from providing skilled workers, apprenticeships offer several organizational and operational benefits as well, as discussed below. 

Benefits of apprenticeships

Increased Staff Loyalty and Retention

Apprentices are trained by the company staff to be highly motivated and loyal to the company. Apprenticeship programs also consist of mindset training, which mainly includes making the trainees realize the opportunities they have if they consider their job as a career and stick with the company for the long-term. 

Offering deployment to an apprentice or apprentice to an existing employee also reduces recruitment costs. Moreover, the government funds apprenticeship programs, helping the company further reduce the training costs. 

Increased Company Bottom Line

First and foremost, job candidates love companies that take on apprentices. Secondly, the skilled staff makes the company culture more competitive and contributes to the overall business performance

Free Up Staff Time

Operational efficiency is essential for an organization to succeed. However, when a company grows, it’s staff finds itself occupied in small, less productive tasks that make business operations inefficient. Trained apprentices can help with this predicament by undertaking these small tasks, which frees up time for the experienced staff. 

Revitalization of a Company

When a company is full of young, skilled, and motivated employees, the entire workplace environment becomes positive. Moreover, apprentices come from different backgrounds, which bring new insights and ideas on the table. And when an organization has a bunch of innovative heads, it is destined to flourish. 

Wrapping It Up: Apprentices for Your Company?

So the bottom line is, should you go for apprentices? Well, the facts and figures suggest that companies that have taken up apprentices have witnessed significant business growth, along with a substantial reduction in costs as well. The benefits of hiring apprentices have been discussed above, which clearly indicates that contemplating an apprenticeship program for your organization would actually be a smart call.

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