Boardroom indifference holds back apprentice take-up

workplace_1Marketing industry apprenticeships are facing an uphill struggle to get off the ground because company directors are simply not engaged with the process, with the problem exacerbated further by confusion over Government funding and a lack of accredited training providers, meaning the sector could be missing out on the next generation of diverse talent.

That is the damning conclusion of a new report by DMA Talent, supported by the DM Trust and timed to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week.

DMA Talent interviewed senior professionals across the data and marketing industry to learn more about their use of apprenticeships, what was working well and what challenges they faced, and how industry bodies like the DMA can help.

The ‘Apprenticeships: The Hidden Potential’ report reveals the key challenges include boardrooms being difficult to engage for programme development and funding; organisations struggling to find training providers that are accredited for data and marketing apprenticeships; and confusion about what the apprenticeship levy can be used for.

DMA Talent general manager Kate Burnett said: “Apprenticeships need to become part of the overall talent strategy – driven by the boardroom so they become embedded into the DNA of a business.

“With more support and guidance for businesses, we can increase the number of apprentices across the industry. But we must improve senior stakeholder buy-in, improve understanding of the apprenticeship levy and help organisations to discover accredited training providers.”

The interviewees also revealed the key benefits of employing an apprentice. Many stated that apprenticeships made their talent acquisition more diverse, with the benefit of fresh perspectives from the young talent coming through from a variety of different backgrounds.

It was also highlighted that apprenticeships help to develop a more capable workforce with specialist skills, as candidates often learn educational theory while developing practical work experience.

Burnett added: “Apprenticeship programmes have the potential of making the talent within an organisation more skilled and diverse, which will help our industry become better representative of our customers and UK society. In addition, a diverse talent pool will bring fresh perspectives to a business while helping them to support their local community.”

The report also reveals what assistance is needed to improve take-up, and what businesses, the Government and industry bodies like the DMA can do to make apprenticeships more successful. It was clear that the structure of apprenticeships also needs to be reviewed to allow better balance between work and study time, and to also improve their flexibility.

DMA Talent are on a mission to increase the number of apprenticeship opportunities for young people in the data and marketing industry.

A key part of that is helping organisations to find the right training provider to deliver apprenticeship training. To this end, DMA Talent will partner with The JGA Group to deliver accredited apprenticeship training.

From March, marketing apprentices will be able to access content from the IDM as part of their training, enhancing their professional development and gaining access to industry qualifications.

Burnett added: “Our research into apprenticeships discovered one of the main challenges limiting the uptake of apprenticeships was finding a good training provider. JGA are specialists in marketing and communications apprenticeships, so we’re hoping the partnership can really start to drive up the number of apprenticeships in our industry across the UK.”

DM Trust chair Matthew Housden, who has worked at Miller Freeman, IBM, Barclays, and the London Business School, commented: “The need to support the career aspirations of younger people has never been greater. The DM Trust is committed to enabling programmes aimed at creating opportunities for all to join the data-driven marketing sector.

“The apprenticeship initiative at the DMA is a great example of this, creating opportunities for young people and developing and nurturing the skills base that will ensure our industry’s future.”

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