Apprenticeships: grow your own talent for the digital age

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This article was produced by Olswang LLP, which joined with CMS on 1 May 2017.

“Apprenticeships” was a buzz word for all the parties in the recent general election. Since then, the Conservative Government has set a target of creating three million new apprenticeships by 2020. This drive to promote apprenticeships has primarily been portrayed as a way of improving job prospects for school leavers; a section of the workforce particularly affected following the economic downturn.

Employers leading the way

However, many employers, particularly in the tech sector, have for some time now already realised the potential for apprenticeships to provide a workforce with the skills necessary for the future success of their businesses and the sector as a whole. Companies such as Microsoft, Facebook and IBM all have developed apprenticeship programmes. Enthusiasm for apprenticeships also appears to be spreading amongst SMEs, though concerns over red tape and the job readiness of candidates still put some employers off.

Getting the law right

Whilst the formalities required to put in place an apprenticeship are not complex, failure to do so could affect the funding received by the employer and the qualifications gained by the apprentice. Also, whilst apprentices generally have the same rights as other employees, the unique characteristics of an apprenticeship mean that employers may need to have specific regard to particular employment issues, such as age discrimination and dismissal on completion of an apprenticeship.

With the impetus gained by apprenticeships over the last few years only set to increase, Edward Arnold’s article (here) looks at the current legal structure for apprenticeships and considers what apprenticeships can offer to employers and employees in the tech sector.