The Role of Coaching in Apprenticeships

The Role of Coaching in Apprenticeships

While coaching has long been embraced at the executive level in business, more and more organizations are recognizing its value throughout all levels of their workforces and embracing a culture of coaching. Here’s a brief look at how coaching fits into the picture for tech apprenticeships.

Coaching vs. managing

Separating the concept of coaching from managing is difficult if not impossible. Most would agree that the best managers are also good coaches in that they have a skill set that helps them get the most out of their teams.

For our purposes, we’ll consider management to be a process of review, assessment and improvement on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of a given role. These tend to be items that lend themselves to being measured, for example sales quotas, deadlines met or customer satisfaction ratings.

While coaching may have similar end goals, it takes a more holistic approach that encompasses not only the business outcomes but the human interactions that lead to them. A manager, for instance, might point out to an employee that he or she is behind on a quarterly sales goal. A coach will seek to understand the attitudes and behaviors that are causing that to be the case, and work with the employee to map out an improvement plan.

An obvious differentiator is that coaching requires a more individualized approach. A sales manager wants everyone to sell more, but the coaching process to achieve that goal will differ from person to person. A coach is there to extract the talent that already lies within the person.

Coaching in the apprenticeship model

The tech apprenticeship model used by Franklin Apprenticeships recognizes the value of coaching, and was designed with coaching as a central component. Each apprentice works weekly with a Personal Success Coach to monitor progress and identify areas for improvement.

The key here is that those sessions do more than track progress on technical skills like achieving certifications (management). The organizations who hire apprentices want to know that they’re adding not just technically competent personnel but well-rounded employees. That’s why our Success Coaches also work with apprentices on the ‘soft skills’ that lead to better interactions with customers and co-workers alike. These include problem-solving skills, solution-focused thinking, communication, time management and even managing stress.

As an increasing number of organizations recognize the value in taking the next step from management to coaching, the coaching model itself becomes more and more important, and well-coached employees become more and more valuable.

Top 5 Reasons to Become a Tech Apprentice

Top 5 Reasons to Become a Tech Apprentice

There are plenty of great reasons to consider apprenticeship as the path to your tech career, and every day we see how apprenticeships change lives for the better. Based on our experience, these are the top five reasons to consider a tech apprenticeship:

Demand for Tech Personnel

Even through the pandemic, companies have been challenged to find enough qualified employees to fill their tech roles. Help desk workers are always in demand, and the cybersecurity climate continues to be a huge issue for nearly every organization, meaning a growing need for network engineers. Also, the nation’s largest financial institutions are facing a shortage of qualified mainframe/enterprise computing workers. All of these are areas of focus in our apprenticeship programs.

No College Debt

The average cost of attending college ranges from just over $11,000 per year for in-state residents at public colleges to more than $40,000 for private schools. And that’s just tuition and fees, not room and board. No wonder more and more students are considering other options. An apprenticeship track requires no college degree. You can have an in-demand, well-paying career without all the debt.

Paycheck from Day One

An apprenticeship is not an internship. You’re on the payroll with your employer from your first day, and you qualify for benefits just as every other employee does. You earn a salary at a reduced rate while you learn and achieve industry-recognized technical certifications on the job, notching a pay raise as each one is completed.

Apprenticeships Aren’t Just for Recent Graduates

Some of our apprentices are just out of high school or college. Others are parents returning to the workforce after raising a family. Still others are ex-military, or simply seeking a change from a dead-end career. Apprenticeships work especially well for those with families because all your training is done during work hours … no more night school or burning the candle at both ends.

You Won’t Go It Alone

Stepping into a new career under any circumstances can be intimidating, and there’s always the fear of taking a wrong turn. That’s why the Franklin Apprenticeships model includes a Personal Success Coach for each and every apprentice. You’ll have a weekly check-in session to make sure you’re on track with your learning and meeting your employer’s expectations. We’re with you for every step of your journey.

Apprenticeships in America: Catching Up

Apprenticeships in America: Catching Up

It’s no secret that the United States has lagged behind Europe – and specifically the United Kingdom – in the adoption of apprenticeships. Why is that, and are we closing the gap?

A few statistics for perspective: As recently as 2014, an article in The Atlantic noted that only about five percent of young people in the U.S. are pursuing apprenticeships versus about 60 percent in Germany. And while a Wikipedia entry predicted a doubling of U.S. apprenticeship numbers from 375,000 to 750,000 between 2014 and 2019, that number still pales in comparison to more than 2 million apprenticeships launched since 2015 in the UK, with its much smaller population.

Why Does the U.S. Lag Behind?

While those statistics include all apprenticeships, not just tech-oriented fields, the story is similar across the board. Why?

First is a simple lack of awareness. We’re working hard to spread the gospel of the apprenticeship model, which we feel is a win-win for employer and candidate alike. And we’re getting there, as top-tier organizations like IBM join us to throw their weight behind tech apprenticeships.

Still, there’s a lingering stigma among young people in America around not pursuing a four-year college degree. This has its roots in the post-World War II years, when many parents who had not had the opportunity to attend college considered it the ultimate badge of success to see their children earn diplomas.

The Future of U.S. Apprenticeships

That stigma, though, seems to be fading as reality sets in. Education costs have increased geometrically, far outpacing the cost of living. Worse, that college diploma is no longer a guarantee of high-paying employment that will pay off a potential mountain of debt. And many prospective college students are recognizing yet another financial reality: those four years spent incurring debt are four years when they could have been earning a salary instead, a double financial whammy.

A model that pays the student to learn from the first day and accomplishes this within regular working hours so the candle doesn’t need to burn at both ends, would seem to fill the bill. And that’s how an apprenticeship works. For employers, apprenticeships are an alternative to traditional (and expensive) recruiting methods to fill in-demand tech roles. And as an added benefit, the pool of apprenticeship candidates tends to be much more diverse in age, background and ethnicity than candidates reached via traditional means.

With all that working in favor of apprenticeships, we think the gap will close quickly, and the United States won’t be playing catch-up for too much longer.

Getting Diversity Right: A New Approach

Getting Diversity Right: A New Approach

In a recent survey by the Consumer Technology Association, the vast majority of organizations expressed a goal of “greater diversity and inclusion.” Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts have been a high priority for most organizations, and never more than in the wake of the widespread social activism that marked 2020.

Yet a recent article in Fast Company states, “What has become clear is that many companies still have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to addressing DEI.” Why? There’s certainly more than one reason, but we think much of the shortfall has to do with the old saying about doing the same things and expecting a different result.

If your organization is seeking diversity but recruiting from the same sources you’ve always used, you’re unlikely to be successful. More and more candidates of varied backgrounds are seeking alternative paths to success, rejecting the traditional four-year college path and all its debt. So if your first instruction to a recruiter is to limit applicants for technology roles to those with a Bachelor’s Degree, you’re missing a huge and untapped pool of talent.

Similarly, those recruiting instructions might include a certain level of experience. That’s more than fair, but brings problems of its own: new hires bring bad habits with them from a previous job, their skills may have been overstated, and they tend to jump ship at the first opportunity when offered a few more dollars elsewhere. And the cycle repeats.

Think for a moment about the longer-term strategy of screening candidates for potential, not credentials. This is the foundation of the modern apprenticeship movement, and there are solid reasons for that. Organizations get candidates who can be molded to perform their duties in a way that meshes with the company culture from Day One. They work at a discount while they learn, and they’re remarkably loyal to the companies that share their journeys.

And yes, apprenticeships solve the DEI challenge as well, with a pool of candidates that’s far more diverse than traditional recruiting sources, and women represented at a rate nearly one-third higher than the industry average.

A new approach like this requires an organization to think and behave differently, and that can be intimidating. But we have seen over and over again that the apprenticeship model does far more than check the DEI boxes. Apprenticeship change organizations – and lives – for the better.

Ready to learn more about an apprenticeship program for your organization? Contact Franklin Apprenticeships.

Still Hiring for a Cultural Fit? Or a Better Culture?

Still Hiring for a Cultural Fit? Or a Better Culture?

When you interview a candidate, you’re probably looking for not only the technical skills required for any given position, but also a sense that the person sitting across from you (or on the other end of that Zoom call) shares the attitudes, values and beliefs you associate with your organization … the so-called “cultural fit.” You might even give preference to candidates who’ve been referred to you by existing employees, a leading indicator that they’ll bring those same values to the table.

On the face of it, there’s nothing wrong with that approach. The hiring and onboarding processes represent a large investment of time and resources, and it’s only fitting that you should be comfortable with a new hire beyond their technical abilities.

But there’s a potential pitfall there as well: Hiring people who all think and behave in the same ways means you’ll continue to do things in the same ways, and for most companies that’s a recipe for being left behind.

Nearly every organization has a stated goal of improving diversity, but perhaps it’s time to start thinking beyond different boxes checked on an application and consider diversity of thought. Who are the applicants whose background gives them a different worldview than your existing team, and what can they bring to the table?

New ideas. Solutions your current team might be missing. Better ways of doing things that you’re missing due to the blinders of “our culture.” The world is changing around us, and if you’re still hiring for the same culture as you were a decade ago you’re missing a huge opportunity.

Think less about a cultural fit and more about a cultural add. Probe for creativity and new ways of thinking in your interview process, and then encourage that mindset in the workplace. There are many, many candidates out there ready to challenge your ways of thinking and make your organization better in the process.

Learn how apprenticeships can add new dimensions to your company culture: Contact Franklin Apprenticeships.

Tech Apprenticeships: Overcoming Fear in Uncertain Times

Tech Apprenticeships: Overcoming Fear in Uncertain Times

By design, apprenticeships address many significant issues faced by hiring managers and their organizations. Are apprenticeships still a viable answer in these times of remote work and budget cuts? A new report says, emphatically, “yes.”

The report, titled “Advancing Tech Apprenticeships,” was produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), who in conjunction with IBM have launched the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition. It notes that apprenticeships now represent a viable “fifth option” to the four traditional hiring pipelines: experienced hires, college graduates, interns and co-ops. And now more than ever, apprenticeships meet the hiring and retention challenges faced by many organizations.

The report outlines four specific areas where apprenticeships answer those needs:

Resource constraints: Organizations have been forced to make swift and often radical workforce planning decisions, often with more limited resources than in the past. The positive ROI of apprenticeship programs helps to address these shortfalls, and federal, state and local funding is often available to mitigate program costs. More than $300 million in new grants were awarded in 2019 alone.

Rebalancing work: Senior-level talent is often required to perform low-margin tasks, and that’s never been the case more than this year, when many companies have scrambled simply to keep functioning in a work-from-home environment. Apprenticeships create a competency-based approach to define the skills needed for each work process, rebalancing the workload and freeing senior personnel to focus on high-value tasks.

Diversity and inclusion: In a recent survey, the vast majority of organizations expressed ‘greater diversity and inclusion’ as a stated goal. The CTA report notes: “The apprentice talent supply chain is rich with diverse talent including high school and college graduates, retail and service industry workers, first responders, veterans and more.”

Recruiting and retention: Entry-level skilled engineering positions often go unfilled as degree holders seek higher-level roles. Companies opening their doors to apprentices find a robust pipeline of talent seeking entry-level positions and a chance to grow their skill sets. And while retention has been an especially thorny problem with traditional hiring methods, employers have enjoyed a 95% long-term retention rate with our apprenticeship programs.

There is no doubt that the pandemic of 2020 has accelerated changes to the future of the workplace. The CTA report confirms that apprenticeships are uniquely positioned to meet those changes.

The complete CTA report is available for download here. Questions about apprenticeship programs for your organization? Contact Franklin Apprenticeships.

You Just Graduated – Now What Can You Do?

You Just Graduated – Now What Can You Do?

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You spent the last 12, 16, or more years in school. You have invested a lot of hard work. You have an interest in the technology field.  Whether you have applied to colleges, or have just completed your college career — you have some important questions about what you can do to get a good job, today.

As an individual looking to start a fresh career, you have some big decisions to make — and several uncertainties to consider.

If you are a high school graduate, you might question whether the college choice will yield the same results as you once thought.

  • Do I go to college as planned?
  • What if colleges don’t re-open in the fall?
  • What if they open, but all classes are online?
  • What will my return on investment be for all of that college tuition?
  • Should I stay closer to home for now?
  • Are there any other, more immediate career options?

As a college graduate, you might question whether or not your degree will carry the same weight as you once thought.

  • How do I start my career in a job market that has dramatically shifted?
  • Should I consider temp work?
  • What will my return on investment be for all that college tuition?
  • Will my major be applicable in today’s business climate?
  • How will I replay my college loans and afford my household expenses when I can’t find a job?
  • Are there any alternative, immediate career options?

Consider this: An IT apprenticeship is a good way to spend a gap year or post graduate year. And it offers an immediate return for today, and beyond.

What can you have if you decide to pursue an IT apprenticeship?

We have answers to all of these questions for today’s high school and college grads.

  1. You can have a full-time, W-2 paid apprenticeship position in the lucrative IT industry as a help desk technician with a company that is close to home. This is NOT an internship.
  2. You can see if an IT career is the right fit for you with a one-year apprenticeship program before you consider investing the $100K+ expense on a four-year degree. Or, you can begin working to pay off your current loans while determining if an IT career is right for you.
  3. You can embark on an apprenticeship that leads to a long-term career path 94 percent of the time (as opposed to most college grads who jump jobs multiple times before they are 26).
  4. You can receive three Industry recognized certifications (Microsoft or CompTIA) in the one year program with documented IT skills that make you more valuable — all at no personal expense.
  5. You can have a personal Success Coach work with you every week to ensure you are on the right track — and that includes developing your professional skills as a complement to your technical skills.
  6. You can earn up to three pay raises in the first year on the job.
  7. You can work a typical 40-hour week and attend online training during working hours with no night classes.

You could spend the next few years going to college. You could spend the next year waiting to figure out how to market your degree. Or,  you can take another track and jump right into a lucrative IT career as a Digital IT Apprentice.  Apprenticeship is a great way to crack a hidden, in-demand job market and jump-start a full-time career.

Now might be the right time to earn while you learn in an apprenticeship.  Determine if an IT career is your best destination.

How can you learn more about what you can do with an apprenticeship? Contact us.  

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Webinar: A Workforce Strategy for 2020 and Beyond

Webinar: A Workforce Strategy for 2020 and Beyond

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The Learner’s Journey with Franklin Apprenticeships

This is a distribution of a previously recorded webinar. Please note: We experienced a pandemic server bandwidth break up in the 11:11 to 12:02 track. Hang in there with us, as the session picks right back up in short order!

Franklin Apprenticeships has been on the front lines helping employers apply apprenticeship as a recruitment, training, and retention strategy.

Are you curious to better understand the role apprenticeships play in helping businesses solve their skilled labor shortages? Listen in as we discuss the Learner’s Journey that occurs while executing a Franklin Apprenticeships program, and the benefits for both learners and employers.

You will discover:

  • The various stages of an apprentice Learner’s Journey from the business perspective
  • The importance of the on-boarding process and what to expect during the 12 months
  • How to determine the appropriate performance level to expect from each apprentice, including upskilling current employees
  • The proprietary, structured components of the program that Franklin Apprenticeships apply to lighten the load from employers and ensure program success
  • What happens after an apprentice has completed his or her apprenticeship

Join us as we outline how Franklin Apprenticeships is working with employers, today, to tackle a workforce strategy for 2020 and beyond. Together, we are #Changing the American Workforce in Challenging Times

 

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Franklin Apprenticeships Learner Journey Webinar:

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Calling all Companies Supporting the Work-From-Home Resurgence

Calling all Companies Supporting the Work-From-Home Resurgence

What is your hiring strategy?

Carolina Milanes, principal analyst at Creative Strategies and founder of the Heart of Tech wrote a great commentary this week for Fast Company in response to the resurgence in remote work. Working from Home is great for diversity. Let’s keep it going sheds light on the work from home environment.  According to Milanes, “Remote work can open the door to talent pools that are more diverse in three key areas: gender, accessibility, and race.”

We would like to take that sage advice a step further by adding the concept of apprenticeship into the mix. Apprenticeships are slowly re-emerging to fill the gap of university education, especially in IT—including top remote positions such as Help Desk and Network Engineer.  These programs open opportunities for individuals to learn new skills, build amazing careers, and do work they truly care about. They also tap into a talent pool of diverse talent often discounted by traditional HR. Highly structured programs are supported with online learning, dedicated Success Coaches, and cloud-based e-portfolio systems built specifically to accelerate and monitor a remote learner’s ability to apply skills.  

The coronavirus has sent workers home, many of which will have no jobs to go back to.  What a great time to take advantage of an untapped talent pool ready and anxious to bring their skills to new heights.  

What is your hiring strategy?  Learn how apprenticeship can help leading companies create a compelling, diverse remote workforce strategy for 2020 and beyond. 

Contact Franklin Apprenticeships today and learn about our Digital IT Help Desk, Network Engineer, and AutoMOtive! Apprenticeship programs!

What Is All the Buzz About Onboarding Specialists?

What Is All the Buzz About Onboarding Specialists?

Company demand for this position has grown 50% 

Burning Glass reports that demand for Onboarding Specialists is on the rise. This comes as no surprise.  The war for new and emerging talent is a bloody battle leaving many workforce development professionals defeated. According to Harvard Business Review, almost 33% of new hires start searching for a new job within six months and 23% of new employees leave their job within the first year. That is a large portion of company troops to lose in a year. 

As the demand for top talent intensifies, companies understand the strategic need to pay closer attention to tactical skills such as Onboarding.  If the point of entry is not well executed, new hires will be left to flounder and, eventually, walk off into the sunset.

Employee turnover is expensive. Organizations pay direct exit costs when an employee leaves, but they also incur additional costs to recruit and train new hires. Onboarding helps new hires to feel like they are part of the team,  understand how things are done and how their role contributes to the overall success of your business resulting in: 

  • Reduced employee turnover 
  • Increased productivity
  • Defined roles  

If you have solid Onboarding practices, we commend you.  But, we have to ask: How long is your Onboarding process? For most companies, it is brief and often confused with “orientation.”    As HBR expert Ron Carruci points out, the first year is a new hire’s most vulnerable period.  The most successful companies adhere to a full-year program, and “focus on three key dimensions: the organizational, the technical, and the social. By using this integrated approach, they enable their employees to stay, and to thrive.”

Carruci further explains how organizational onboarding helps to teach them how things work and helps them assimilate.  Technical onboarding defines what good looks like and sets up early wins. And, finally, social onboarding builds a sense of community.

Franklin Apprenticeships follow this same extensive protocol when executing our apprenticeship programs.  Beginning with recruitment and progressing to the deployment of dedicated Success Coaches and eportfolio tools, our programs streamline structured onboarding processes for sustainable success.  That is one of the many reasons that 90% of apprentices stay on in their place of work after completing an apprenticeship.  

Curious about how to weave apprenticeship into your employee retention process?  Need help creating an onboarding process into your organization through apprenticeship?  

At Franklin Apprenticeships, we are here to help employers build their workforce, so companies can focus on building their business. We have the tools, technology, and network necessary to build, execute, and manage modern apprenticeship programs that fit unique organizational requirements.  

Contact Franklin Apprenticeships today and learn about our Digital IT Help Desk, Network Engineer, and AutoMOtive! Apprenticeship programs!