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New demand for apprentices suggests tide is turning

13 February 2018

New demand for apprentices suggests tide is turningOver a third of businesses say apprentices will be the most valuable source of emerging talent in 2018; it could be the start of an apprenticeship revival according to a new report.

A poll of over 2,000 senior HR professionals carried out by Alexander Mann Solutions has found that apprenticeships are still valued by employers - despite the fact that new apprenticeship starts reportedly dropped 59% immediately after the launch of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017.

The research shows that 37% of firms say apprentices will be their main source of new recruits in 2018. Graduates remain the favoured talent pool for entry-level recruits this year, with just under half (47%) of respondents naming university leavers as the most valuable source of emerging talent for 2018.

However, 28% of respondents said they were finding it more difficult to fill graduate roles this season, with only 12% reporting that finding the relevant skills is currently easier than it has been in other cycles.

Sandrine Miller, head of emerging talent consulting at Alexander Mann Solutions, said: "As these findings suggest, leaders are certainly reassessing where they source fresh talent. And while graduates remain the preferred choice for the highest percentage of businesses, there are signs that the tide is shifting."

Research conducted in 2017 by Alexander Mann Solutions found that over two-thirds (71%) of senior HR leaders believe the Apprenticeship Levy will eventually create a new route into the workplace to supplement or rival graduate intake.

Miller said: "UCAS reported last year that university applications have decreased by 4%. And while there will always be demand for graduate-level talent, HR leaders are increasingly considering the benefits of developing talent in-house, where the role allows, as part of a wider total workforce strategy.

"News that new apprenticeship starts have fallen by 59% since the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced is most likely indicative of how businesses are reassessing long-term needs - and taking the time they need to plan and implement new programmes. In other words, it's the calm before the storm."

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