Solving the IoT Skills Gap, One Apprentice at a Time

New Podcast Series Announcement: Navigating Your Road Forward as an AutoMOtive! Apprentice

New Podcast Series Announcement: Navigating Your Road Forward as an AutoMOtive! Apprentice

This month, Franklin Apprenticeships will be releasing a new podcast series to help dislocated workers in the State of Missouri learn about the opportunities available as a modern apprentice in the automotive industry.

We understand that downsizing and layoffs were never a part of your plan. And now, as a worker making a mid-career transition, you want to find the right opportunity to excel in a stable position and earn a comfortable living without going into massive debt.

Missouri AutoMOtive! is a partnership between the Missouri Division of Workforce Development and our company that will put you on the fast track to becoming a certified Automotive Service Technician in a year (or less).

But, we realize you may have a lot of questions about this apprenticeship. Is this a good opportunity for me (and my family)? Why the automotive industry? Is this program for real? What can I expect? How do I enroll?

Our new podcast series will explore everything you need to know about life as a Franklin AutoMOtive! apprentice. We will help navigate your questions about our program, the industry, and what to expect. For example, our first few episodes will cover topics such as:

  • Reasons to consider an automotive apprenticeship
  • What a typical day may look like for you earning and learning as an apprentice
  • The process behind being matched with your ideal employer

 Our program might seem too good to be true, but it’s real, and it’s a great opportunity if you’re a dislocated worker in the State.

So keep an eye (and ear) out for our upcoming episodes to jump start your fresh, new career! Or, contact us to shift your search for a brand new career into high gear today.

 

Six Realities of Working in Auto Repair Today

Six Realities of Working in Auto Repair Today

Here you are, mid-career and searching for a new path forward. You want something competitive, a job that challenges you, one that allows you to use the skills you’ve worked hard to develop along with the opportunity to accelerate your earning potential.

 You’ve never really considered a job in the automotive industry, despite the fact that it’s rock-solid. And with rapid advances in technology, the call for qualified Automotive Service Technicians continues to grow, making it both an exciting and in-demand field. These compelling reasons are exactly why the Missouri Division of Workforce Development decided to partner with Franklin Apprenticeships to offer an innovative new program called AutoMOtive!, designed specifically for dislocated workers.

Unlike apprenticeship programs of the past, modern apprenticeships like those offered through AutoMOtive! allow you to earn a competitive wage while you learn the skills you need to succeed in your mid-career transition.

 So why the hesitation? Let’s take a look at some of the myths — and realities — surrounding today’s jobs in automotive service and repair.

 Myth: Auto repair is dirty.

Reality: As vehicles evolve, so do the ways in which they’re diagnosed and serviced.

 Today’s auto repair shop is far more likely to resemble a computer lab than the grimy, cluttered, greasy spaces of yesterday. Innovations in both systems and diagnostics make computers every bit as necessary as wrenches when it comes to vehicle service and repair. Think less “blue collar” and more “new collar” — a term coined by IBM CEO Ginny Rometty emphasizing skills over degrees — a brand new direction in which technology is playing an increasingly larger role.

Myth: Auto repair is a career path for men.

Reality: A growing emphasis on skill sets such as communications and problem solving are giving women equal access to a field previously monopolized by men.

Heavy machinery. Jobs and knowledge passed down from fathers to sons. These are just a couple of reasons the automotive field has been dominated by men for so long. But as the reliance on diagnostics shifts from hands-on to tech-driven, the need for savvy problem-solvers with great communication skills emerges, leveling the gender playing field and making a successful career as an Automotive Service Tech extremely attractive to women, too.

Myth: Auto repair jobs pay poorly.

Reality: Advances in auto design require new proficiencies in computer diagnostics, which means a significant increase in salary potential.

Do you know that the average salary for an Automotive Service Technician is $50,000? And that’s not even considering the potential to shine in a position that’s trending towards technology. Those willing to keep up with the latest features on vehicles designed for digitally-oriented consumers will be in high-demand, and their paychecks will reflect this trend.

Myth: Auto repair jobs aren’t in demand.

Reality: The need for Automotive Service Technicians is growing.

Not only is the automotive industry rock-solid, the need for Automotive Service Technicians is growing, with predictions averaging the need for 45,900 new technicians by 2026.

Myth: Auto repair jobs require trade school certifications.

Reality: You can learn on-the-job through a modernized apprenticeship program.

The streamlined nature of modern apprenticeships varies greatly from traditional models. An integrated learning system allows you to complete the program and to obtain an ASE Certification as a full-time employee. Not only is there no cost for the program, you begin earning a competitive wage from the day you start.

Myth: Auto repair jobs are only for new/young workers.

Reality: Specialized opportunities for dislocated workers are strategically designed to make the mid-career transition as quick and seamless as possible.

The AutoMOtive! program is designed to be completed in twelve months, making it an excellent, fast-paced option for a mid-career change. And the experience you gained from your previous career won’t go to waste! Well-developed communication skills, for instance, are highly sought after in a field that relies on building trust.

So what are you waiting for?

Now that you know the facts, click here to learn how you can begin your journey to becoming a certified Automotive Service Technician today!

 

Reinventing Yourself After Being Let Go: Five Reasons to Consider an Automotive Apprenticeship

Reinventing Yourself After Being Let Go: Five Reasons to Consider an Automotive Apprenticeship

You lost your job. Such a simple statement, yet it’s wholly incapable of capturing the overwhelming complexities you’re facing. There’s certainly the loss of income, but there’s also the loss of identity, and of the ability to define yourself based upon the career you’d hoped to have until you retired.

 

Grieving the loss of your job is normal — along with stress, anger, and depression that may follow. And while it’s understandable to feel any or all of these, it’s also a time to consider this less as a loss, and more as a transition. This is a setback, but it’s a temporary one, and accepting the fact that it’s time to consider another path is all part of the process.

 

You’re proud of what you achieved at your previous job, of what you learned, and who you helped. You don’t even want to consider going back to school and starting from scratch, or taking part in a training program that may or may not lead to a full-time position. Either option could also be accompanied by a hefty price tag or considerable debt.

 

But what if there was another way?

 

What if you could switch to a brand new career in a rock-solid industry, and you could do it while getting paid competitive wages from the day you begin?

 

It’s time to consider AutoMOtive!, a partnership between the Missouri Division of Workforce Development and Franklin Apprenticeships for dislocated workers that will put you on the fast track to becoming a certified Automotive Service Technician.

 

Forget what you think you know about apprenticeships. This innovative program offers a host of benefits that begin from the day you start, making it the perfect solution for a mid-career job change. Below are five of these benefits, which are also the reasons why you should consider an automotive apprenticeship: 

 

  1. Earn While You Learn: From the moment you begin, you’ll receive a competitive, full-time wage. You are a full-time employee, and your wages will increase upon successfully completing program milestones.

 

  1. Gain Industry-Recognized Credentials: Upon successful completion of the program, you’ll receive ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) Certification. This competitive and highly-regarded certification provides tangible proof of your technical knowledge, is portable, and serves as a foundation upon which you can build.

 

  1. Grow In-Demand Skills: The automotive industry isn’t going anywhere, and neither is the role of Automotive Service Technician. In fact, as vehicles become more and more sophisticated there is an increasing call for highly trained and skilled professionals — by 2026, it’s estimated that the field will need 46,000 additional technicians.

 

  1. Accelerate Your Career: In a single year, you can become an ASE Certified Automotive Service Technician. AutoMOtive! provides you with hands-on training, classroom training, mentors, and the resources and support you need to successfully complete your apprenticeship and go on to thrive in a highly competitive industry.

 

  1. Remain Debt-Free: What does this cost? Nothing for those eligible for the AutoMOtive! program. All training and support costs are paid for by the employer under which you apprentice.

 

So what are you waiting for? Shift your search for a brand new career into high gear today. Learn more about AutoMOtive! and take your first step into a solid, steady, high-demand profession as an Automotive Service Technician!

Franklin Apprenticeships Signs White House’s “Pledge to America’s Workers” to Fill Growing Number of Job Openings in Tech Field

Franklin Apprenticeships Signs White House’s “Pledge to America’s Workers” to Fill Growing Number of Job Openings in Tech Field

On July 30, 2019, Franklin Apprenticeships announced that it has signed the Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA) White House’s Pledge to America’s Workers.

The Pledge currently has more than 50 CTA members — including previous signatories Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Best Buy, Ford, HP, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Toyota, VISA, and Walmart — that have committed to more than two million new opportunities, almost 30 percent of total pledges. Franklin Apprenticeships has pledged to train 2,500 technology workers.

The consumer tech sector indirectly supports 18.2 million American jobs and almost 12 percent of U.S. GDP. But there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill the growing number of job openings in emerging technology sectors including 5G, AI, and Cloud Computing.

According to CTA’s Future of Work survey, tech executives report that software development, data analytics, and engineering are the tech skills in highest demand, with 74 percent of those saying it’s difficult to find candidates with the right skills.

“With workforce development in the tech arena being a critical issue in the U.S., we are honored to be a member of CTA and support its participation in the Pledge to America’s Workers,” said Kimberly Nichols, CEO and Co- Founder, Franklin Apprenticeships. “Apprenticeships are a cost-effective workforce solution that has proven to benefit both businesses and individuals.  As a part of the Pledge, we will prepare workers who are entering the workforce — and those that are underemployed, unemployed, or displaced — for in-demand careers, which will help ensure employers have the skilled labor they need to succeed.” 

Click here to read the full press release, or contact us to learn more about how our digital apprenticeship programs are changing the American workforce.

 

Shifting Gears Mid-Career: Navigating a New Profession in the High-Tech Automotive Industry

Shifting Gears Mid-Career: Navigating a New Profession in the High-Tech Automotive Industry

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Losing your job mid-way through your career was never part of the plan. Your goal was to retire comfortably from a solid job in your industry of choice. Downsizing, layoffs — these were never supposed to happen to you.

Re-Starting your Career Engine

And yet, here you are: a seasoned worker with an array of highly developed skills, desperate to find the right opportunity without starting from the bottom. You’re not interested in going into debt taking college courses or chasing certifications that may or may not be what top employers are seeking.

You need a competitive paycheck from the day you begin, and you want it in a field that you know will not only be alive but thriving when the time comes for you to retire.

Have you considered a career as an Automotive Service Technician? Perhaps not, but you definitely should.

Why an Automotive Service Technician?

The automotive service industry is projected to need 46,000 additional workers by 2026, and that’s not even counting the existing positions that go unfilled annually. And the service environments of today — as well as the work itself — is far, far different than what you’d expect.

Stop and consider the evolution of today’s vehicles as manufacturers race to keep up with the latest trends in technology, such as interactive entertainment, navigation, engine diagnostics, and safety.

Do you have strong customer service and communication skills? An affinity for problem-solving? Technical aptitude? If so, becoming a certified Automotive Service Technician might be the perfect opportunity that you never even stopped to consider. Until now.

Introducing the Modern Apprenticeship

Franklin Apprenticeships is partnering with the State of Missouri to offer AutoMOtive!, an innovative approach to engaging workers impacted by downsizing in a brand new profession, all while being paid a full-time wage from the day you begin.

This modern apprenticeship program allows you learn as you earn, receive incremental raises for each milestone achieved, and gain an industry-recognized National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification upon successful completion of the program.

A year from now (or less), you could be a certified Automotive Service Technician. You could be established in a brand new in-demand career, accomplished while getting paid and without going into debt. You could be on your way to earning from $45k to $60k after the first year, secure in a growing industry with incredible opportunities for advancement.

So what are you waiting for? Click to learn more about AutoMOtive! and put your career switch into high gear with Franklin Apprenticeships!

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The “Chicken or Egg” Debate Among HR Leaders: Credentials or Potential When Hiring?

The “Chicken or Egg” Debate Among HR Leaders: Credentials or Potential When Hiring?

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Last spring, Learning House and Future Workplace surveyed 600 human resource leaders about the nationwide skills gap crisis, the state of hiring processes, and the difficulties of identifying qualified candidates. As job openings in the U.S. continue to rise, nearly half of the HR leaders questioned blame higher education for the skills gap. Approximately 47 percent of leaders surveyed state that colleges are not properly preparing students for the working world. The survey also reveals that 35 percent of employers feel it is the responsibility of colleges and universities to make potential employees “work-ready”.

However, higher education leaders believe they are taking the necessary steps to prepare students for a workplace that is constantly changing. With 85 percent of jobs that today’s students will perform in 2030 not even in existence yet, educational institutions are making strides to adapt programs that will address the disconnect between what students learn, and what students actually do in the workforce.

So as employers work to close the talent gap, and educators adjust programs, this brings to light a critical dilemma for hiring managers. No different than the age-old “chicken or egg” mystery, which should take precedent when hiring a candidate — their hard skills/degree/technical certifications (credentials), or their soft skills/ability to train (potential)?

Difficulties of Hiring for Credentials/Hard Skills

According to the survey, technology and IT jobs are the hardest to fill, followed by management jobs. These positions correspond to what employers believe are the in-demand college majors — computer information systems, finance, and economics. Again, this also reinforces the importance employers are placing on educational institutions to prepare the future job market.

Difficulties of Hiring for Potential/Soft Skills

The survey also identified the top three soft skills sought out by employers: teamwork (38 percent), the ability to adapt to change (37 percent), and leadership (37 percent).

However, the survey also highlights many challenges that exist to address the soft skills gap. Budget shortfalls and a lack of both external and internal talent being available to train employees top this surmounting list of setbacks. But, as a result, employers are becoming more open to innovative ways to address their skills gap.

Alternative Methods to Address Hiring for Both Credentials and Potential 

Discovering creative ways to address the skills gap has become a top priority among hiring managers. Employers are beginning to seriously consider hiring candidates without traditional four-year degrees based on the survey results — which may allow job seekers to search for alternative credentialing.

Registered apprenticeships offer an alternate model. While not always thought of in the U.S. as a natural option, registered apprenticeship programs can offer employers numerous benefits, such as structured training, streamlined recruitment practices, increased loyalty and retention, and enhanced performance. 

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

Employers will need to continue thinking outside the box today to train and retain the workforce of tomorrow. No different than the “chicken or egg” debate, the “credentials or potential” discussion remains as a top topic of interest among HR leaders.

Fortunately, employers now have more options to think outside the box, and influence the direction of this ongoing conversation.

Are you an employer hiring for IT Helpdesk and/or Network Engineer positions? Narrow your skills gap, fill your talent pipeline, and obtain assistance with company-specific training by partnering with Franklin Apprenticeships. Contact us today to learn more about our current digital apprenticeship programs: Franklin Digital and Missouri Digital.

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Gearing Up for a Shift in the Automotive Workforce

Gearing Up for a Shift in the Automotive Workforce

We live in a world inundated with technology, so it comes as no surprise that consumers seek similar digital access and advances integrated into their driving experience. These range from the obvious — navigation, entertainment, climate control, and hands-free access — to innovations in safety, performance, and diagnostics.

So much has changed within the automotive industry in such a short period of time. Repair bays — once filled with grease-covered tools and parts — now more closely resemble labs, complete with the advanced (and expensive) equipment needed to repair the increasingly complex array of components that power today’s vehicles.

These rapid advances force us to wonder: does the U.S. have enough qualified professionals ready to keep our automobiles running smoothly?

Labor Shortage

The simple answer is no: we don’t have anywhere near the numbers needed for a robust and specialized automotive workforce, either today or in the immediate future.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. will need 46,000 additional automotive service technicians by the year 2026 to keep up with industry needs. There are already as many as 75,000 automotive service technician job openings in any one year. Causes vary, from older workers aging out of the workforce to employees switching jobs to the creation of brand new positions.

Further, Donny Seyfer, Executive Officer of the National Automotive Training Task Force, notes that fewer high schools offer automotive shop programs, further diminishing the potential supply of technicians. And, even when such classes are available, he adds, there is often a disconnect between what they teach and what service departments need.

Attaining Relevant Skills

Assigning young students to tear down an engine or repair a transmission is a bad fit in an industry where the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) estimates that maintenance accounts for 70 percent of a technician’s work, Seyfer adds.

So, whether you are a new worker, or a seasoned worker making a career change, how can you quickly gain the real-world skills necessary to provide exceptional technical service? And, in an industry where the average automotive technician is 40 years old, with 19 years of experience, how can the existing workforce stay current as technology rapidly evolves?

The High Costs of Turnover

The National Automobile Dealers Association’s 2017 Dealership Workforce Study found that the annual turnover rate for the most skilled automotive technicians rose 2.1% in a single year. Some leave for different dealerships, others leave for different industries.

If jobs remain unfilled, losses accrue at an alarming rate: experts estimate that a typical automotive technician brings in an average of $1,000 per day. Consider what that means for 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, and more. Suddenly filling current vacancies — and retaining current workers — becomes exponentially more critical to your bottom line.

The Road Forward

The road forward for the automotive industry is filled with both intense challenges and remarkable opportunities. A lack of skilled candidates for an increasing number of highly specialized positions calls for an innovative approach to crafting a brand new pipeline for finding, training, and keeping talented automotive service technicians.

Which is why Franklin Apprenticeships is partnering with the State of Missouri to offer Missouri AutoMOtive!, an ingenious solution for accelerating the growth so essential to making the State’s automotive sector thrive.

Modern apprenticeships create opportunities for both employers and employees, offering a fully developed framework for success as candidates earn while learning the very skills and knowledge needed to be a top-notch technician. For Dislocated Workers, in particular, such an approach allows them to hit the ground running: instead of incurring debt for programs that might get them ahead, they begin as paid workers eager to learn and grow into competitive positions that help them — and your business — get ahead.

With AutoMOtive!, Dislocated Workers from industries that have experienced layoffs and downsizing have an opportunity for a new career in the automotive industry, which includes ASE certification and other technical certifications, as well as a mentor and a peer-supported community. Further, program recruitment, placement, training, coaching, and certification costs are subsidized for participating employers.

Let us help you put your search for qualified automotive service technicians in first gear, ensuring your ability to keep everything about today’s technologically advanced vehicles — from music to guidance to safety — running smoothly. Contact us to learn more about Missouri AutoMOtive! today.

 

PODCAST: Frank Valdivieso, President & CEO of Gryphon Consulting Discusses the Value of the New Digital Apprenticeships Program in Maryland June 11

PODCAST: Frank Valdivieso, President & CEO of Gryphon Consulting Discusses the Value of the New Digital Apprenticeships Program in Maryland June 11

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For the inaugural “Changing the American Workforce” podcast interview, Frank Valdivieso, President and CEO of Gryphon Consulting, discusses why he chose to be one of the first employers to participate in our new Digital Apprenticeship program in Maryland.

The shortage of skilled tech workers is a significant problem for Maryland business owners. Finding qualified candidates with the appropriate mix of company-specific skills and cutting-edge training on the technologies being used today has become a top IT workforce challenge.  

To address this issue, Franklin Apprenticeships recently announced that we have partnered with the Maryland Department of Labor to develop a Digital Apprenticeship program for the state. Our new program provides high quality, long-term employees for Maryland employers.

Gryphon Consulting, an IT services company that specializes in helping small and medium-sized businesses effectively deploy and leverage technology in their organizations, is an inaugural employer of our innovative apprenticeship program.

In this podcast interview, Frank Valdivieso, President and CEO of Gryphon Consulting, and President of the DC Chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP), discusses how our Digital Apprenticeship program will enhance his overall business success.

Our podcast provides insights into the following key topics:

  •      An overview of Gryphon Consulting, and the IT services the company provides. (.35)
  •      The top workforce challenges the IT sector faces today. (1.34)
  •      How modern apprenticeships can help solve employer challenges. (2.34)
  •      Why Gryphon Consulting joined the program. (4.45)
  •      What Gryphon Consulting hopes to achieve through the program. (6.28)

Discover how Franklin Digital can help build your IT workforce by visiting our program page here. Or, contact us to discuss starting a modern apprenticeship program in your company.

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Case Study Interview Part 1: Franklin Apprenticeships Co-Founder Reveals How Microsoft UK Tackles Skilled Labor Shortages with Apprenticeships

Case Study Interview Part 1: Franklin Apprenticeships Co-Founder Reveals How Microsoft UK Tackles Skilled Labor Shortages with Apprenticeships

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Summer, 2019

Franklin Apprenticeships co-founder Dominic Gill has developed some of the most successful skills management training programs for world leading IT companies.

Dominic discusses his work with Microsoft Apprenticeships to help solve the UK’s IT/digital skilled labor shortages in the case study interview below.

Company:

Microsoft UK

Challenge:

A shortage of skilled talent for Microsoft’s partners and customers.

Solution:

Microsoft Apprenticeships: A program designed by and for Microsoft partners and customers to cover the most in-demand ICT roles and requirements.

  • Develop a program that offers job seekers a solid foundation to a fast-tracked career.
  • Drive greater productivity and diversified skills for employers.
  • Train and equip the next generation of IT experts with the relevant skills and experience to strengthen the UK’s IT sector.

Impact:

  • Microsoft Apprenticeships have been offered by over 7,000 Microsoft Partner Employers since 2010.
  • From 2010 to 2018, over 20,000 people have started an IT/digital career through the program, establishing it as a mature and proven model that is a viable talent acquisition option for employers and an attractive career strategy for young people.

Goal:

  • Help more individuals access IT/digital careers.
  • Enable employers to widen their talent pool.
  • Address critical shortages of IT/digital specialists.

L&R Communications: When most think of apprenticeships, what comes to mind is more specific to trade unions, as opposed to IT programs. Wasn’t it unique to see a company such as Microsoft take this route?

Dom: I think the first thing that’s worth pointing out is: Apprenticeships in the UK are more established, especially in more nontraditional routes than they are perhaps in the US.  Apprenticeships have been around in their current format since the former Prime Minister Tony Blair era. In the UK, we have a pedigree in looking at nontraditional apprenticeships.

However, I would say in the IT sector, they were not necessarily a recognized route. The reason that Microsoft got involved was primarily to solve a talent acquisition issue in its partner channel.

L&R Communications: What made Microsoft decide to begin with the partner network?

Dom: Both in the US and the UK — and across the globe — Microsoft has channel partners that work to support, develop on or resell its technology. In the UK, that equates to in the region of 25,000 partners.

In order for these partners to grow and, indeed, for them to grow the Microsoft activity they share, Microsoft understood that it was critical for their partners to have access to talent with the right skill set. But they were finding that there weren’t sufficient numbers of new talent coming into the sector and, as a result, there was a smaller pond to fish in — especially in new areas such as cloud technology and cyber security. That smaller pond also resulted in salary inflation, which resulted in losing talent to competitive rivals. If Microsoft couldn’t help partners to bring new people into the sector, it was going to negatively impact their competitive advantage.

So, first and foremost, we addressed these problems as a business issue in the partner channel. We focused on identifying key common roles that went across the channel that could be, if you like, apprenticeable. Our objective was to bring new people in at the technician level – potentially straight from school. We would provide them the necessary learning they needed to become competent, and to perform the role that was required of them; but to do that in a structured way. So, that’s essentially the program that we built. And it’s been an incredibly successful program, today.

On the other side of it, of course, this has been a great way to attract new people into the IT sector. It gives young people a fantastic opportunity – young people who might have otherwise been overlooked. Maybe academic learning didn’t suit them at that time in their lives. That’s not to say they weren’t graduate caliber. But, for various reasons, it wasn’t an option for them. What we did was provide them the most fantastic opportunity to get a job from the start, to earn while they learn, and to develop a career. In fact, we find that 93% of the people who start these programs are continuing in employment with the same employer.

L&R Communications: Well that sounds like an obvious solution. Employers need skilled workers. Individuals want a path to a secure, high paying career without incurring lots of debt. Tell me a little bit about how the program works. Is the set up and recruitment similar to internship programs?

Dom: Actually, that’s a really interesting point. I’d say that the mechanics are similar to setting up an internship. But I think the practicalities are different. And I think there’s one conceptual difference in that an apprenticeship should be seen as a permanent talent acquisition strategy – so, a permanent talent acquisition solution. That’s not necessarily the case of an internship.

I think when employers are recruiting for apprenticeships, they need to consider whether candidates have the innate strength to go through an apprenticeship program.  One question should be: If they follow the structured training, support, and assessment that is included within the program, will they have a long-term future with our business? And if the answer is yes, then they’re definitely an ideal candidate. I would also argue that they shouldn’t expect these individuals to have bags of experience – because they won’t. That’s what the apprenticeship is there for. They need to identify candidates who’ve got that innate strength.

So, I would say that’s a bit different than an internship where you are expecting somebody who’s probably completed a year or so at university, already. Somebody who has some skills, and the internship is a way in which they’re going to build on those skills — and augment them.  From the company’s perspective, an internship also isn’t necessarily a permanent talent acquisition solution.

L&R Communications: Once you finish vetting the candidates, what’s next? You mentioned that most of the new apprenticeships are coming in with little to no formal skills, training, or experience.  It sounds fairly simple, but how did Microsoft determine the credential pathways for the apprentices, create scalable models, and then ensure the programs were the right ones?

How this program works is pretty simple. Microsoft itself has to date only taken on a very small handful. I’m only talking about 20 apprentices per year. We’re currently at a run rate of around 6,000 apprentices starting per year through the Microsoft channel. So, we’ve worked to brand these programs. We’ve considered: What would be the common roles that sit across Microsoft’s partners and customers?  What roles would be in demand and, consequently, what would then be the common and core Microsoft credential pathways to fit the roles?

We then work with focus groups of relevant Microsoft Partners to align the roles to the certifications. This not only gives the apprentices globally recognized industry credentials but ensures they acquire a skillset that will enable them to be productive more quickly for the employers who are investing in them – essentially providing significant ROI for employers!  We then work with a select group of Microsoft Learning Partners to interpret these specs into deliverable programs and support them in rolling the programs out into the Channel.

L&R Communications: Wow. You’re giving companies the opportunity to build farm teams — much like in the minor baseball leagues — where employers can recruit young talent and train them directly under the tutelage of the organization, so that they are better prepared to perform a job. The results so far have been positive? Can you expand a little bit on some of the future goals?

Dom: Yeah. Definitely. I’ll just quickly point out that the way that these programs are delivered are through a group of intermediary training providers. We equip these providers to deliver the programs, but you’re absolutely right. These are ways in which companies can build their future workforce. I mentioned that we’ve now hit 6,000 apprentices through programs across the UK partners, per year.  In 2017, Microsoft announced a further ambition – a continued commitment that between 2017 and the end of 2020 – to add 30,000 more apprentices through this route. That meant doubling the current year-on-year run rate. We feel strongly obliged to honor that ambition and are excited about the possibilities it represents.

L&R Communications: Microsoft released a white paper at the end of last year in which they interviewed employers and apprentices to gather updated program feedback. Can you provide some insight into the research findings?

Dom: Sure. The impact of the program on businesses is significant. In fact, companies hiring apprentices have noted a significant increase in the monetary impact from 2015 to 2018: £11,782 in 2015 to £36,840 in 2018.

And, since 2015, the program has improved in all comparable measures, including enabling more diversity. Employers experience a broader skills base, better client services, and more inspired and committed workforce.

  • 83% of employers say they would recommend the program to other employers.
  • 74% of employers say the program has allowed them to gain highly committed staff.
  • 77% of employers say the program has made their employees more diverse overall.

A fascinating finding is that over the past three years, the reason employers cite for joining the program has shifted from cost-saving to value creation. While the cost-saving was the initial attraction – and a significant benefit – 69% of employers now cite training and supporting young people as a top driver.  And 60% are vested in bringing on their people to fill the industry’s future workforce.

  • Current apprentices estimate that they earn 31% more annually because of the program, equating to approximately £5,200 more in annual salary.
  • 75% of current apprentices say the program gives them more financial independence compared to their peers, i.e. the opportunity to start their career free of university debt.
  • 90% of current apprentices say the program gives them the opportunity to jumpstart their career.
  • 86% of current apprentices also said the program gives them a strong knowledge base.
  • 72% of current apprentices believe the program will help them achieve a higher socio-economic status than their parents.

L&R Communications: I understand your company, Intequal, will be providing the technical training component to Franklin’s US Digital Apprenticeship programs. How do you think the experience gleaned and lessons learned from these UK programs could benefit US employers?

Dom: Although the training content delivered should not be greatly different from that currently offered in the US, Intequal is able to structure the training to ensure it meets the knowledge requirements of apprenticeships.  This means aligning with occupational competency milestones agreed with employers to ensure the apprentice properly applies what they learn in the workplace, and are able to incrementally build their bank of knowledge against the training they receive.  This way they gain a deeper understanding of what they need to do to become fully productive in their chosen role in as short a time as possible — essentially learning whilst doing. Employers benefit from more technically proficient employees who not only fully understand their role and skillset, but are also embedded within their company culture.


To learn more about Microsoft UK’s Apprenticeship program and how Franklin Apprenticeships is leveraging the UK model for their expanding Digital Apprenticeships program in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Missouri, please contact us.

Next up: In part 2 of our interview, Franklin Apprenticeship’s CEO, Kim Nichols, discusses the current state of middle skill IT apprenticeships here in the US: What opportunities exist to offer quality program funding, planning, support, and execution to American business owners and job seekers, today?

Also, in our new podcast series, we interview Frank Valdivieso, President and CEO of Gryphon Consulting in Maryland, and President of the DC Chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP), to discuss how our Digital Apprenticeship program will enhance his overall business success. Listen to our podcast here.

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