Supporting disadvantaged apprentices: thinking beyond budget

When we talk about the need for businesses to support talent from less advantaged backgrounds, the conversation for employers often immediately turns to budget – ‘how can we afford to offer more support?’, ‘where will the money come from?’, ‘is extra funding available’?

But what if the conversation also revolved around ‘what else can we do to help’?

During our last Time for Change workshop, these issues were raised by both of the amazing apprentices we heard from.

When I did eventually get my head around the concept of an apprenticeship, I would often go on to company websites and everything would sound amazing. Then I would look at the location and it would be London or another large city and I’d think I can’t afford to move from a small city to London. It’s just not feasible on an apprentice salary.” – Haider Ali

Employers have to appreciate you are a school leaver. The thought of going to a brand-new city at 18 is terrifying. Having to think about all these adult things that you haven’t really thought about before like bills, where you can physically afford to live, whether it will be sustainable. It was almost too overwhelming for me personally.” Elle Melrose

If employers were to look at the practical steps and advice offered at the recruitment stage as well as ongoing benefits and opportunities, they would undoubtedly widen the net and attract applicants from further afield and from more diverse backgrounds. By addressing the often overlooked complications that students approaching their very first work placement feel, and acknowledging how daunting leaving home can be, employers can begin to break down some of the barriers disadvantaged apprentices often experience.

In our next Time for Change workshop, we’ll be doing exactly that – exploring ways to look beyond budget. We’ll discuss how employers can support their apprentices from the outset, at the recruitment stage, and in turn, reach talent from across the country and across the social divide, improve job satisfaction, talent retention and completion numbers, all without breaking the bank.

From employee networks and information services to discount schemes and relocation advice, we’ll be joined by a panel of speakers to talk about quick wins and longer-term changes that can help apprentices feel more confident in applying, better cared-for, and more able to get on with the job they’re there to do.

Register now – we look forward to seeing you on Wednesday 21st April.

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