Companies can benefit from hiring apprentices in multiple ways
By Matt Scott
Every year, I am privileged to be involved in the judging for the Insurance Times awards and, this year, I was lucky enough to hear from the entrants to the Excellence in Professional Development category.
There were, of course, many mentions of the challenges facing the insurance industry when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent – not least the issue of diversity and inclusion and the very real need for greater results in this area.
But what really struck me was the sheer volume of entrants turning to apprenticeships as a route to improving their recruitment and talent management – almost every company on the shortlist was using apprenticeships in one way or another.
From the biggest insurers in the market to some of the industry’s innovative young startups – and everything in between – insurance companies are increasingly beginning to realise the importance of apprenticeships.
In a world where the skillbase needed to compete in the modern world is changing, apprenticeships offer up a new pool of talent from which to expand a workforce.
Not only do apprenticeships offer an alternative route into work for those not enticed by a university education, but they also offer further opportunities for those from under-privileged backgrounds for whom university is not a feasible option.
This makes apprenticeships a powerful tool for fuelling increased social mobility and also for boosting diversity in the insurance industry.
Apprenticeships are also a key tool for powering the upskilling of existing members of staff, allowing them to develop their core skill set and develop new talents.
In a sector where the need for new technical skills is developing quicker than the industry can recruit for, developing the capabilities of existing members of staff – who are already in possession of company knowledge and desired soft skills – presents a tantalising option for insurance companies looking to embrace new technology.
And apprenticeships make good business sense too.
The Apprenticeship Levy can be used by large companies – those with a payroll in excess of £3m – to develop apprenticeship programmes and pay for apprenticeship training needs.
Smaller brokers can also benefit from the levy, with many insurers offering programmes for their broker partners to take advantage of and develop their staff.
So while the war for talent is still raging on – and certainly presenting a number of challenges for insurers and brokers to grapple with – apprenticeships may offer at least a partial solution to the problem.