National Apprenticeship Week 2020: ‘Keep the Momentum’

 

We asked experienced Careers Adviser Mark Woodward about how Careers Leaders could keep the momentum following on from a successful National Apprenticeship Week. 

Very wisely this year’s National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2020) was extricated from National Careers Week  – which in 2019 it totally dominated – and given its own exciting, dedicated platform to create an increased focus on apprenticeships during the first week of February. 

With the urge to #FireItUp and #LookBeyond, the conversation about apprenticeships on social media (via LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube in particular) has been trending nationally and the plethora of outstanding, diverse opportunities open to all students post-school/ college has been given its chance in the spotlight.

 

#NAW2020 has prompted exciting conversations between employers, apprentices, young people, advisers and parents that must now be continued. Myths have been dispelled and scepticism about the clear benefits of apprenticeships has been chipped away at. To help #KeepTheMomentum, here are some practical suggestions on how best to deliver this in a school setting.

 

1 Show and Tell… Stories!

 

Stories are most definitely established as the most vibrant feature of social media space. Your audience will naturally enjoy assemblies or careers sessions that relate the compelling career paths of current apprentices. Why not invite former students on the apprenticeship route back to inspire your audience or ask companies – with local, national and global appeal – to send an apprentice ambassador? If you are struggling, Amazing Apprenticeships will help arrange a workshop or assembly via its ASK programme.

 

Alternatively, Springpod has released 10 brilliant assembly/ careers lesson-friendly short videos in its #ClassroomToBoardroom chat-show format – each episode focuses on the exciting journey of two apprentices working at national and global employers such as Accenture, Capgemini and EY. Students registering for free on the Springpod platform will also be added to these employers’ #TalentPools. 

Make sure you tell these stories early at primary level, in Y7 and throughout. Make them a feature of your website, your year group evenings and the Headteacher’s weekly newsletter. Post an Apprenticeship Hall of Fame display for all students to see. These stories are all real and inspirational!

 

2 Get Out Of School!

 

Getting out of a school is a very good thing. Visiting Careers Fairs – What Career Live, National Apprenticeship Show, World Skills UK et al – and company Insight Days (e.g. Capgemini) is incredibly inspirational and never time wasted. The motivation gained from meeting inspiring apprentices and hearing about fantastic opportunities instils an ambition and drive in students to succeed in and outside the classroom. Our current education curriculum does not cover the majority of jobs available now, let alone the jobs of the future! Disruptive apps like Debut, Fledglink, Springpod and Young Professionals open up a hidden job market that is invaluable for inquisitive young job seekers. 

 

3 Embed Exciting Resources in the Curriculum

 

Schools are obsessed with the scrutiny parents and the media make of results and league tables. Embed excellent free resources about the application of academic subjects and related skills in the real working world into your subject teaching. Resources such as Amazing Apprenticeships’ free subject posters (https://amazingapprenticeships.com/resource/subject-poster-bundle/) will aid this.

 

4 Make Time For Every Student and Prove Your Values

 

Show me a school that does not claim in its marketing that every student matters! Really prove your school actually does! One-to-one/ group guidance on choosing a company, exploring roles, seeking opportunities and successfully negotiating the apprenticeship application process is time-consuming, but something an online platform alone cannot satisfy completely. Individual students really value an adviser believing in them and nurturing the positive skills that will excite employers. Remember it’s more than likely individual subject teachers, without seeing the holistic child, may never be as overwhelmingly positive or encouraging.

 

5 Utilise Dynamic Free Resources

 

Every setting, in time, will identify its own unique pool of resources, but the following should be a perfect place to start:

 

  • Social media – LinkedIn and Twitter lead the way steering students via hashtags to insightful fora, articles, videos and talent pools, allowing them to create a positive, professional digital portfolio.
  • Amazing Apprenticeships – invaluable information for parents and teachers.
  • Springpod – free registration for a platform that allows access to work experience opportunities, talent pools and its #ClassroomToBoardroom series. 
  • Rate My Apprenticeship – as well as hosting the excellent ‘A Guide to Career Options 2020’, this website lists its Top 100 employers, based on apprentice reviews.
  • Company websites – students would do well to identify 5- 10 companies that intrigue them, monitor the apprenticeships available and ensure they build knowledge about competitors and sector developments that suit their passion.
  • Government website – current vacancies are listed, but it is well worth noting the apprenticeship cycle is not the same as UCAS/ public examinations, so be prepared for students struggling to find vacancies.
  • Networking – talking to former pupils, parents and employers (in person or online) is vital for students hoping to explore and open up opportunities.

Don’t be fooled! Apprenticeships are for very smart people. Be well aware that many employers do not consider public examinations to be a sufficiently accurate measure of intelligence. Young people seeking an apprenticeship need the best guidance possible. 

#NAW2020 has showcased so many dynamic apprentices with passion for their roles, enjoying work in a fast-paced environment, earning, learning, applying theory and knowledge to practical experience, working on real projects with real clients, valued by employers and rapidly moving ahead of their peers who may be being held back by a more theoretical learning path at university.

Students are #FiredUp, ready to #LookBeyond. They are excited about their futures and for educators, that is the most exciting place to find them. Now pledge to #KeepTheMomentum.