In the first part of this series we looked at some of the strategic questions that colleges should be thinking about in order to get to grips with the pressing need to increase apprenticeship provision. The common theme running through the solutions we proposed to the questions was good data: data to identify the skills needs in industries the college is already working in; data to identify other industries which are set to grow in the near future; and data to identify industries in other parts of the country which might give a college the opportunity to extend provision into other regions.
These questions and solutions are vitally important in terms of creating a holistic, long-term approach to apprenticeship provision. Yet there is another layer of questions below this that colleges will want to ask in order to build on this strategic thinking and planning. These issues are more tactical than strategic, and it is to these which we now turn.
The questions asked in Part 1 mainly relate to a long term view, but any college wanting to increase their apprenticeship provision will also want to understand the short term situation as well. Knowing who is employing in the region right now is invaluable in terms of knowing which employers might be ripe for targeting for apprenticeships.
How can we better identify who is employing at the moment?
Every college will no doubt have its own methods of doing this, but one of the more obvious ways is to trawl through job postings sites to find out who is employing. However, this is not without problems, not least of which is that it is a somewhat arduous and ongoing task. Is there a way to make this process simpler, quicker and with better returns? The answer to that is yes.
We’d like to introduce you to a new tool, which we think will be of great value in helping colleges to identify employers who are employing in their region. Jobfeed is a tool from a Netherlands-based organisation called Text Kernel. It is a job aggregations site, the main purpose of which is to give an overview of new job vacancies appearing on the Internet. However, in addition to this basic idea, it has a number of features which we believe will prove to be of huge benefit to colleges seeking new and better ways of getting tactical about their apprenticeships. Here are just some of them:
– Jobfeed allows users to search for any occupation in the country using a number of different parameters including region, education level, organization, full or part-time, and who has advertised the job (i.e. an employer or an intermediary)
– Searches can be made for timeframes going back as far as five years
– One of the most useful features of the tool is that searches can be saved and an automated email update set up to be sent out on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. This is a huge timesaver, since users can set their parameters and then leave the tool to update them regularly, rather than having to do regular searches
– Another hugely useful function is that users can click in to see the complete text of all job adverts. For those researching employers for potential apprenticeships, this has huge potential since it enables them to find out the skills requirements of each occupation they are looking at
– The information gleaned from the tool can be exported to Excel, making data collation and sharing a simple task
We are excited by the potential this tool has to help colleges find employers in a much quicker and simpler way than they have been able to before. We are also excited by the fact that it could become a means of enabling colleges to compete with the recruitment market. Think of it like this: The tool is being used by hundreds of recruitment agencies throughout the country to check for vacancies which they can then match their candidates to. However, any college using the tool can steal a march on those recruitment agencies by approaching employers for apprenticeships — that is, a direct and much cheaper alternative to hiring someone that is fully qualified.
For a look at how the tool works, we have produced the following short video which runs through the basics:
How can we contact these employers?
In addition to giving information on who is employing, Jobfeed also provides contact details for employers, which can be exported into Excel. However, this will only be the case for job adverts which contain the employer’s contact details. For those that don’t, another option is to use the Equifax business data that we have incorporated into our Analyst tool.
Equifax is a UK-wide database of information on companies, including company names, addresses and numbers of employees, both within a locality and throughout the company as a whole. We have linked this information to industries within Analyst, which means that users can go into any industry in their area, and download contact details for employers within the industry. For more details, we have produced another short video explaining how this works.
Having talked about forging a strategic approach to increasing apprenticeships, and having now discussed the more tactical questions, in the final part of this series we’ll be looking at some ways that colleges can think about marketing their apprenticeships, busting some of the myths behind them and making them more attractive to young people and their parents.
For more information on how Jobfeed and Equifax can help your college increase its apprenticeship provision, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org