The first two parts of this series looked at how colleges can use data to increase their apprenticeship provision. The focus in Part 1 was on strategy — how can colleges identify skills needs, both in industries they are currently offering apprenticeships in, and in those they are not, to help build a clearer understanding of the kinds of employers they should be targeting. The emphasis in Part 2 was on tactics — how can colleges quickly identify the employers that are looking to hire right now — and in that piece we introduced a new tool — Jobfeed — which takes much of the hard work out of this process and should prove to be of great value to colleges looking to identify employers for engagement.
But there remains another question. Knowing which industries and employers to target for apprenticeships, both in the short and the long term, is clearly going to help colleges that are looking to increase their apprenticeship provision. However, apprenticeships are one thing, but getting apprentices to fill the places is another. In this piece, we are going to look at a new innovation, which we think will help colleges in marketing apprenticeships to the local community.
How can we articulate the value of our apprenticeships?
Colleges have a noticeable effect on their local economy and are a solid investment for students and taxpayers. That much is clear, yet articulating this in monetary terms is not so easy. However, since 2000, Emsi has been conducting Economic Impact Studies (EIS) aimed at helping colleges articulate both the direct monetary impact they have on their local economy, and the long-term benefits they bring to a variety of stakeholders, including students and taxpayers.
But what about apprenticeships? Apprenticeships differ greatly from a traditional FE learner, the most obvious difference being that they spend time working to improve their skills and knowledge as opposed to time in a classroom. This means that the business serves as a main way of learning for apprentices, and similar to a typical employee apprentices are paid a wage by the business. Colleges, businesses, and apprentices are all interested in how the costs and benefits of an apprenticeship education stacks up, and so based on both the current body of scholarly literature, and our own modelling expertise, we are now able to feed into our EIS model a combination of data from external sources and data found in a college’s individualised learner record (ILR), and this gives us the ability to clearly articulate the value of a college’s apprenticeships.
What this means is that businesses can know what type of return they can expect from taking on an apprentice, whilst students who are considering doing an apprenticeship can see the return they can expect from doing one.
How can we use this to convince students and parents that apprenticeships are viable career options?
The struggle that colleges have in getting people to consider apprenticeships is basically one of overcoming perceptions and stereotypes. What the new apprenticeship figure in our EIS does is to give colleges the means to appeal to a whole swathe of young people, not to mention their parents, by highlighting the benefits of an apprenticeship. For instance, here is one way a college might choose to market their apprenticeships using the figures from an EIS:
This kind of message could well prove to be a powerful tool for colleges looking to promote their apprenticeships, both to young people and to their parents. Not only that but working alongside the strategic and the tactical solutions we have suggested in the earlier parts of this series, it could well prove to be vital to the success of any college looking to increase their apprenticeship provision.
For more information about the new apprenticeship figure within our EIS, or the strategic and tactical solutions we suggested in Parts 1 and 2, email us at email@example.com