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Educate young people earlier to build awareness of your apprenticeship opportunities


How to stay competitive in a new era of school leavers recruitment.

With the government aiming to deliver 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, businesses are facing unprecedented competition in trying to attract the best of the 53% of young people that do not go to university [1].

A successful school leavers recruitment programme will not seek to be the loudest of the businesses vying for candidates, but to create an extensive student pipeline through a visible and practical careers education programme.

Students begin receiving initial careers information and education as early as 7, with advice and guidance progressing throughout their school life. For companies looking to recruit school leavers, providing careers education for young students is a key part of any early career pipeline strategy.

The aim is not to sell your company to young students, but to create a positive brand association through a genuine commitment to improving careers education and a demonstrable engagement with students. When we spoke to young people earlier this year to find out their views on work and play, we found that young people responded favourably to companies that demonstrated their corporate social responsibility, and as such providing careers education will endear your company to potential candidates.

By providing educational resources and information for secondary school children of all ages, you are not only developing an early relationship with students, institutions and careers advisors but providing young people with the knowledge to ensure that the subject choices of interested students does not prevent them from pursuing a career in your industry.

This is particularly important in industries that face a shortage in skills and have an image problem to overcome. Sectors that are severely underrepresented in the media will benefit from the exposure and awareness generated from careers programmes. On top of this, industries that are seen as male dominated or hostile to women will be presented with an opportunity to dispel harmful stereotypes.

Once you have created your careers programme, you need to allow the right people to find it. For online resources, you need to ensure that your content will appear high up on relevant search queries through a solid SEO strategy, and guarantee that teachers, careers advisors and influencers are made aware of your resources through social media and email marketing. For companies looking to carry out workshops and presentations in schools, this means creating and fostering relationships with school liaison services.

With the myriad of pitches that school leavers will face in their final year from employers, it is important that you are memorable. For young people this means not only standing out from other employers, but ensuring that your education resources outshine the mundanity of their regular syllabus. Be creative, be unique, but most importantly be fun.