What Are Flexible Apprenticeships?

Changes to apprenticeships are set to bring big benefits to employers and their teams. Here, we take a look at the latest training models and how they work in practice.

In today’s job market, businesses in most sectors are finding it much harder to recruit. And for employees, the changes brought about by the pandemic have left many re-thinking their approach to work. They want to try new things, to upskill and reskill and to have their value recognised.

If not, they’re likely to look for job opportunities elsewhere – hence ‘The Great Resignation’ trend of 2021.

The good news is that apprenticeships are continually adapting to meet these shifting demands. In fact, a new flexible system being explored by the Government could unlock meaningful opportunities for both employers and apprentices in 2022.

Introducing ‘front-loading’ and ‘flexing’ your training

Apprenticeships continue to play an invaluable role in helping to unlock stills quickly and to allow motivated staff to fast-track into positions where they can provide real value. However, the flexible working patterns currently under consideration by the Government could make this process even faster.

Among the options being explored is a new ‘front-loading’ approach where an apprentice receives intensive off-the-job training before they begin their formal responsibilities. Essentially, this would teach important skills and technical knowledge from the outset, while key behaviours and practical skills will continue to be embedded throughout the full apprenticeship programme.

For businesses struggling with staff shortages, front-loaded training could prove invaluable in helping apprentices to hit the ground running and make a real contribution to their workplaces from the very start.

It’s also worth mentioning that flexible apprenticeships do not always have to be front-loaded. There are also options to flex the training model to deliver focused training at other stages of the apprenticeship – giving employer even greater flexibility to reflect the needs of their staff and business.

Getting to know Accelerated apprenticeships

Another option which is already being utilised is ‘accelerated apprenticeships’, which allow an employer to adjust the length of an apprenticeship for an individual who has existing relevant knowledge or skills. Employees with transferable skills would therefore be able to progress through their apprenticeship relatively quickly.

While the law requires that an apprentice maintains their minimum programme time of 12 months, an accelerated approach could avoid a training programme that’s longer than necessary and therefore prove a cost-effective option for employers.

Understanding flexi-job apprenticeships

Another training model to consider is ‘flexi-job apprenticeships’, which are designed to ensure that sectors and occupations that typically rely on short-term contracts or other non-standard employment models can access the benefits of apprenticeships too.

With flexible apprenticeships, employers can look at what skills they need for their workforce now – and what they’re likely to need in the future – and choose a tailored approach.

For years, apprenticeships have made it easier for employers to unlock skills quickly and fast-track new recruits into positions where they can provide real value – while offering career longevity to the talented individuals they already rely on. Flexible apprenticeships will formalise this process and are set to bring big rewards to both businesses and their employees.

Feeling inspired? Get in touch with our friendly team today to find out more about how tailored training can work for your business.