The pandemic has had a major impact on apprenticeship on various counts. The main reasons are:
- the scarcity of workforce due to pandemic
- increased demand for essential goods and services and
- lack of investment into new talent due to the necessity to optimize the existing talent
The Apprenticeship Outlook Report Jan-Jun 2021 has thrown some insightful data.
- The pandemic and its impact have led 54% of the employers to either stay away or tone down their apprenticeship engagement.
- 26% of the employees did not see value in apprenticeship, and
- 22% of employers weren't aware of the system and mechanism of implementation.
- However, even the pandemic has not dampened the employers' sentiments. 46% of employers still having the intent to engage with the apprenticeship, resulting in a 33% net positive outlook for apprentice hiring.
The new episode of Apprenticeship Dialogues - The Webinar Series was held in the backdrop of this report. The webinar comprised panelists Sindu Aven, Head of HR, Praxis Retail Limited; Mr. Tushar Desai, Director, Talent Acquisition, FIS Global; and Sumit Kumar, Vice President, NETAP., who also moderated the session. The speakers and the moderator with a combined experience of more than 50 years shared their valuable insights on ‘Recent Emerging Trends in Apprenticeships.’
The Current Apprenticeship System
“More inclusiveness definitely has happened and the spectrum has gotten wider” these were the initial thoughts shared by Sindu when asked about her take on the current apprenticeship system. Meanwhile, Tushar expressed that a little more push is required from the government’s end. “I think they need to have a near term as well as a long term policy in place”, he added.
Sindu Aven represents an organization where 50% of apprentices are absorbed, and when asked about the challenges involved, Aven confidently said that they were able to find, train and convert young talents into permanent employees in the soft skills domain, but for the technical skills, they were not able to find a skilled workforce at an apprenticeship level.
This year, almost around 34% of the employees expressed that they find it challenging to hire apprentices. But the good news is that the percentage is much lesser than the previous 2020 report, which stated that 59% of employees find the apprenticeship challenging! However, amongst all the challenges raised, it's the compensation part that comes out to be the major one. There has been a linear growth in the stipend paid out to the apprentices, which stood out at an average of 12,200 in 2020, and is expected to have a steady increase of 3% in 2021.
“The kind of costs came in a bit of a challenge” Sindu recalled. In the NETAP survey too, it was mentioned that about 27% of the employees consider compensation as a major concern for hiring the apprentices.
Tushar talked about certain factors that he would look for in a candidate for hiring him/her as an apprentice - “soft skills is something, which is a definite marker for us.” Then comes the factors like advanced technical skills and willingness to work. “It cannot be compromised,” he stressed on the emerging digital skills as well!
“We prefer to hire women, for the reason that you know, that there's a lot of discipline on the floor, and they're very productive because of their focused approach towards the work,” said Sumit himself while having a conversation about the gender neutrality in hiring. When asked about the same, Sindu said that she never received many applications from female candidates, and 90% of the hiring was of male candidates. “It wasn't a filter, it just happened that way” she added. Meanwhile, Tushar’s internal goal is to have a 50:50 ratio.
As a piece of advice to deal with apprenticeship training through these testing times, Sindu encourages employers to look at developing local talents. That’s something she does in her organization along with promoting multi-tasking - “if you are doing sales as well, but what else can you do? Can you also do cashiering? So these are the multi-role elements that we've been looking at in the recent set of discussions” she specified.
Watch the full video here
NETAP recently launched reports on Apprenticeship Hiring Outlook 2021 and the Stipend Primer Report 2020 that brought out some fascinating trends emerging and also highlighted the area of improvement for effective implementation of apprenticeships.
Download Apprenticeship Outlook Report – January – June 2021. https://bit.ly/3teSYKb
Download the Apprenticeship Stipend Primer Report - the post-pandemic special. https://bit.ly/3l46ehm.
Do you want to start an apprenticeship program in your organization? Visit netap.in to know more.