Many businesses that don’t traditionally employ school leavers have understandable concerns about working with 16 to 19 year-olds, but are they fair?  

I have worked alongside school leavers for most of my career. From student recruitment at the Telegraph and The Independent to my time at UCAS and finally in my current role at the LDN Apprenticeships, I feel I have built up a good understanding of the pros and cons.

At London Apprenticeships, we know that young people have the potential to help companies become better versions of themselves, to grow and to be more forward thinking. Quite often, however, our clients have concerns about hiring apprentices.

 

They Are A Blank Slate

School leavers may not have all the skills you want. But with the support of a good apprenticeship provider and a great manager, they will develop all the skills they need, tailored to the needs of the business.

You also have the flexibility to identify skills and aptitudes as your apprentice grows into their role and to adapt it accordingly. Graduates are not always equipped with the specific skills you need, and they have more rigid expectations about the job they expect to be doing.

For example, Computer Science graduates have the highest unemployment rates at 14% of any graduate despite the digital skills gap.  Why? They just don’t have the skills employers actually need.

They Have A Unique Perspective

Don’t be afraid of a young person’s different perspective, especially if your workforce is generally older. The perspective a young person offers can give fresh impetus to your business and allow you to reach a much wider audience.

They Question How Things Are Done 

They are eager to learn. If something is done in a way they are unsure of, they want to know why.  This might be initially frustrating, but they only ask because they are keen to learn and understand. Sometimes a little bit of naivety can be a good thing! Conversely how often do you question current processes? Perhaps there is a better way to do things? A school leaver could be the person to spark the process of improving.

They Approach Problems Differently 

With an innate understanding of modern technology, young people have a fountain of knowledge at their fingertips and the know-how to access it.  This can lead to solutions you would not normally have thought of.  It’s always good to have options.

Understand How Their Peers Communicate 

If you want to reach a youthful audience, young apprentices can be ideal for this. The way their peers communicate can give you a great insight into which channels and language to use. Just be aware that not all young people are the same!

Futureproof Your Business 

Quite simply, having flow continuous flow of new, young people into your business is the best way to futureproof it. Fresh ideas and new skills come with your apprentices. Apprentices represent a cost-effective means of bridging the digital skills gap. Because you’ve given them the opportunity, they’re loyal and totally invested in your business.

 

These are just some of the positives – of course, there are many more.

Keep an eye out for my next piece where I’ll be discussing some of the challenges that our clients face when hiring school leavers and how working with LDN Apprenticeships can help to overcome them.