Social value: apprenticeships

Apprenticeships offer practical training in preparation for employment while studying towards a nationally-recognised qualification. They follow an approved study programme, ranging from GCSE-level qualifications to a foundation degree.

They also allow apprentices to develop transferable skills, which are highly valued by employers, including problem-solving, Information Technology (IT) and communication skills.

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Why are apprenticeships important?

Apprenticeships benefit employers

Evidence suggests that employees who start their careers via an apprenticeship have more advanced knowledge and skills from the experience, and this then leads to greater productivity and innovative thinking for businesses.

Apprenticeships benefit residents and the community

Apprenticeship programmes support individuals from all backgrounds, whether school leavers, those wishing to upskill, or those wanting a complete career change. In terms of social mobility, evidence shows that apprenticeships play an important part in closing the class pay gap, in that disadvantaged workers or those from lower socio-economic backgrounds who complete an apprenticeship enjoy a bigger boost to earnings than their peers. Apprenticeships help us achieve our ultimate ambition in Surrey – that no one is left behind

What are we trying to achieve?

We particularly want to support those who currently experience poorer health outcomes, helping them to access training, qualification and employment opportunities. We believe this will enable them to live more financially independent lives, which will positively impact on their social and mental well-being.

We want to support local employers and businesses to raise productivity, tackle skills gaps and shortages, and deliver high quality services through widening access to training and employment for individuals and groups who are traditionally disadvantaged or under-represented.

What practical things can you do?

There are some practical suggestions below, based on needs and priorities that staff at Surrey County Council have identified. Please get in touch with svprogramme.team@surreycc.gov.uk if you have any more that you would like to add to the list.

  • Provide free DBS checks if apprenticeship candidates need to undergo background checks for the post.
  • Think not only about offering apprenticeships, but how you might help to reduce barriers to access, such as awareness, aspiration, confidence, transport costs, application support, access to initial interviews.
  • Employers and businesses are requested to sign up to an Equality Pledge as a commitment to maximising availability of apprenticeships to young people, care leavers, veteran's families and other under-represented groups.
  • Larger employers can help smaller employers to offer apprenticeships by sharing their Levy Pot funding through the Transfer to Transform initiative.
  • Employers can connect with the Association of Learning Providers in Surrey, who can provide advice about apprenticeship needs in the county.
  • Employers can get involved in existing community projects linked to apprenticeship schemes, for example apprenticeship fairs.

How can we measure our impact?

We can measure the impact of apprenticeships using a number of different measures and approaches, including:

  • Measuring the diversity in participation in apprenticeships by gender, ethnicity, age and disability.
  • Distribution of opportunities between localities in Surrey (identified by socio-economic advantage/disadvantage).
  • Measuring social mobility to include measures such as first-time access to higher education/technical occupation among families.
  • Measure the percentage of apprentices who are in paid employment six months after their apprenticeship.
  • Measuring apprentices' increase in self-confidence, skills and aspirations throughout the apprenticeship, using tools such as the Outcomes Star.