7 reasons why we love apprenticeships

Mark Britton News

Crimson Academy, our award-winning apprenticeship scheme, continues to grow year-on-year. With 22 apprentices in total, the Academy now makes up over 20% of Crimson employees. Crimson Academy was introduced to aid Crimson’s strategic growth plan and has been incredibly successful over the past three years.  

For National Apprenticeships Week 2021, we have decided to put together our top seven reasons why we love having an apprenticeship scheme.  

  1. Apprenticeships promote learning across the company. 

According to Apprenticeships.gov.uk, 86% of employers agree that apprenticeships have helped the wider organisation to develop skills. As apprentices learn the practical skills and academic theory, they introduce different perspectives and opinions to the company, as well as up-to-date knowledge. 

Crimson’s mentor and buddy schemes provide other Crimson employees with invaluable opportunities to improve their leadership and managerial skills, while offering years of industry knowledge to the apprentices. The mutual support has improved collaboration, communication and brought the team closer together.  

  1. Apprenticeships improve diversity. 

In order to apply for Crimson Academy, applicants must be 18 or over with a minimum of five GCSE’s (A-C).  In comparison to degrees or some other apprenticeship routes, these entry requirements are easy to meet. In some cases, applicants haven’t had the desired qualifications, but have demonstrated a willingness to learn, and so have been successful. These relaxed entry requirements mean that a much more diverse range of people apply for the scheme.  

Our apprentices range from 18 to 39 years old, with a large percentage being job-changers or graduates. Apprentices of any age bring new ideas to the team and transfer their skills to their training.  

Crimson Academy has also helped us to improve the gender skills gap in IT, by supporting and encouraging women in tech. Seven out of 22 of Crimson’s apprentices are women, and relationships have been formed with a local all-girls school to continue to improve the percentage.  

  1. Apprenticeships help companies to plan for future skills gaps. 

Companies can predict which employees may retire or leave the company, or which job roles will be required in the future, so they can introduce new apprentices to prepare for these changes. Crimson started off with Software Testing apprentices, and then introduced the Business Analyst program in 2020 in preparation for the launch of the Data Practice. This saves time and money on recruitment and creates a reactive culture within the business.  

  1. Apprenticeship assessments and courses are managed by training companies. 

Training companies, such as Digital Native, take care of all the academic planning (assessments, course structure, etc.) making it even easier to launch an apprenticeship scheme. Crimson provides on-the-job learning from mentors and buddies, as well as emotional support from a coach. There’s no need to hire new staff to manage the apprentices (although a dedicated apprenticeship manager is still beneficial) and it’s easy to start with a small cohort and then expand over time.  

  1. Apprenticeships provide upskilling opportunities for other employees. 

Apprenticeships are the ideal entry method into a new industry and can be easily introduced to current employees. By managing workload, academic studies can be done while they are still working their previous job, making the transition to apprentice easier. Apprenticeships are also ideal for employees that are technically capable but want to develop themselves academically and work towards a degree.  

  1. Apprentices get all the benefits of higher education while earning. 

Degree apprenticeships are a great way to gain benefits that are typically associated with the traditional university route. Apprentices can use student discount codes, student union memberships and achieve a degree, however, they finish without any student loans and while earning a competitive salary. There is also the added benefit of job security and career progression, as the apprentices have a secure job at the end of their degree and can see a clear career path ahead of them.  

  1. Apprenticeships promote a growth mindset throughout the organisation. 

At Crimson, a growth mindset is encouraged among the apprentices. A positive attitude towards learning and progression is fundamental and expands across the rest of the company. We have found employees throughout Crimson are keen to undertake professional qualifications or learn something new, which has led to a more productive and engaged team.  

Want to find out more about Crimson Academy? Take a look at our Academy website.