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April 2014
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Daily Archives: April 2, 2014

Are apprentices the new graduates?

posted by: Amy Willocks, Consulting Psychologist, Capp


Capp attended the The AGR Development Conference on the 13th March and in a session chaired by Simon Reichwald (Director, Bright Futures) we got the rare opportunity to gain an insight into what makes the successful apprenticeships schemes currently running at PwC, IBM, HSBC and BT so successful. Throughout all four presentations there were some really strong themes emerging on the drivers, challenges and benefits of this new but rapidly growing talent market. For starters the number of apprentices recruited by all four of the organisations were not just growing, but doubling in number e.g. PwC are set to increase apprentice numbers from 60 to 120 this year and BT are looking to recruit 1000 more this year compared to only 250 graduates.


All four of the apprentice schemes were clearly driven by the fact that all the organisations recognised that university is not for everyone, especially with forever increasing university fees, so the apprentice scheme is a way to capture that talent rather than just letting it pass by. However, from the insights shared by all the speakers it is clear that the growth and continued investment in apprentice schemes is down to a lot more:

  • Performance – apprentices are keen and need challenge, BT have found apprentices offer better ROI.
  • Retention – For HSBC their current retention after the apprentice programme is 97% and BT’s retention rates of apprentices are 92% after 5 years, whereas they only retain 34% of graduates.
  • Impact apprentices have on the rest of business – whether it be increased opportunities for others e.g PwC junior managers having coaching and development responsibility of apprentices; or with BT the energy burst they bring through their questions and curiosity that spreads across the business.


The four speakers were also very frank about the common challenges faced when recruiting apprentices and the three key ones to watch out for are:

  • Communication, feedback and support is vital to make the scheme work – apprentices need that extra support to flourish in your organisation.
  • Identifying the right people for the apprentice scheme – you need to get the message out to that demographic through the right channels, with the right messages and above all that message needs to be incredibly sexy.
  • Rigorous assessment processes are required to identify the talent, but in assessing there is no need to place any focus on academics.
  • Metrics on social mobility – there is real interest in the collection of these and can provide you with something powerful you can shout about to promote your apprentice scheme



Every organisation should have an apprentice scheme! Seriously though the case studies from these four organisations certainly sold this to be the case. Tap this talent and achieve the remarkable benefits discussed above, surely you would be silly not to?  For more information on how Capp can help with both graduate and apprentice schemes please contact me at  or alternatively call 02476 323 363.


Please also contact me to talk about Jobmi the new employability and recruitment platform from Capp, connecting young people and employers.



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