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SPARKS Blog: Get smart – hire an apprentice

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Jocelyn Golding, Electrician Channel Programme Manager at Schneider Electric, tells us why hiring an apprentice is “essential” to ensure the industry adapts and evolves.

What customers expect from electricians has changed greatly in only a few years. The increased adoption of smart technologies across the country means that the modern electrician needs digital skills as well as technical qualifications to succeed. Yet, the demand for electricians is exceeding supply, and 29 per cent of contractors warn they are struggling to recruit the right skills.

It is clear that the electrical industry needs some new blood, skills and ideas. That is the promise of the latest generation of apprentices, yet they need help and support to get them there.

The ‘smart’ thing to do

The UK electrical workforce is an ageing one, and what is expected of them is in constant flux. For electrical contractors to survive, hiring apprentices is essential. Today’s apprentices will introduce skills not seen before and, given time, become a competitive advantage to those who employ them.

Young apprentices entering the workforce have digital skills and understand smart technology possibly better than many fully trained electricians. An apprentice can bring new skills to your company, from advanced computer literacy to proficiency with smart technology.  It is vital for electricians to break into the emerging smart market before it becomes overcrowded. Taking on an apprentice is an excellent way to capitalise on these new business opportunities and avoid being left behind.

The value of an apprentice only increases the longer you hold onto them. Indeed, with government funding available, apprenticeships can be an efficient and cost-effective way to increase your manpower. Once apprentices have finished their qualifications, they will be able to join your company as a fully-fledged member of the team. They will have already become familiar with your systems, processes and challenges, saving valuable time on training up an outsider.

By taking on an apprentice, you are growing your own workforce of the future – loyal to your business, tailored to its needs, but also introducing the future skills you need to thrive. As demand for more and more sophisticated equipment and systems grows, only those electricians that offer smart skills will be able to seize the day.

Work hard, play hard

Apprentices are not only a force for digital transformation. While sufficient time should be taken to give them the proper training, they are by and large net contributors to their businesses. They make industrious workers as, put simply, apprentices will not qualify for a career in the industry unless they do a good job, apply themselves and win their qualifications.

The presence of an apprentice in a team increases motivation, as other staff can see their employer positively contributing to someone’s training and development, as well as investing in the future of the company. Just as the circulation of blood is good for the body, a steady flow of apprentices will benefit a business.

When you open your doors to apprentices, everyone wins. Apprenticeships benefit not just the individual but also the businesses who work with them, readying them for a smarter future. When an apprentice is involved, learning, productivity and enthusiasm surges throughout the business.

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