Proven steps to successfully train new hires, remotely

Proven steps to successfully train new hires, remotely

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With businesses all across the world employing a remote workplace strategy, the way we work, hire and train has gone through a sudden paradigm shift. Your team may be comfortable interviewing people by using teleconferencing technologies — a combination of an initial phone screen, a video interview, an online assessment, and a role play or mock presentation phone call may be enough. But, does your organization struggle with new hire training and onboarding once the offer is signed? As experts in remote hiring and training, here are a few strategies we employ at Franklin Apprenticeships that make our program successful.

  1. Assign a mentor. Much like our Success Coaches who are assigned to an apprentice to help monitor a remote hire’s ability to learn and apply skills, match your new employee to a mentor or coach who meets regularly for 20-30 minutes a week to act as a sounding board and monitor progress. These sessions not only train on soft skills and professional development, but also allow you to check in to see how your new hire is doing and what else they may need in terms of support. Quick phone and video calls work well to check in on a regular basis alongside texts in real time, as needed.
  2. Utilize online classroom training. For hard skills and technical training, utilize remote classroom training with live instructors and classmates in the same session. Record the sessions and use videos as a backup. A peer group of classmates not only push each other to succeed, but also bring them together as a unit and create an additional support system outside of the classroom.
  3. Train during work hours. Set aside a consistent time and day of the week for classroom training during work hours. Training employees during their scheduled hours enables them to focus on work-related learning without the disruptions that may accompany their life after hours.
  4. Shadow. Check in on employees in real-time by using a screen sharing system to see how an employee is doing in the specific role for which they were hired. Whether you listen in on live calls or join a teleconference, your employee can benefit from your input on their performance while they get hands-on experience.
  5. Role play calls. Use 20-30 minute sessions to help your new hire learn by role playing a few real life work scenarios. Have them gain valuable experience by playing both roles on a call — as your company representative and the client. This will help them learn what a client might need, as well as how to deliver to that client.
  6. Track it. At Franklin Apprenticeships our Skills Tracker allows employers and Success Coaches to monitor and track an Apprentice’s progress. Setting up a similar system to track progress starts with establishing goals and using metrics as the employee hits key milestones. A tracking system can be as easy as a weekly “Friday quiz” to see if the new learning is actually sticking.

The demands of working remotely can be strenuous on both you and your newly hired staff. Don’t let the training of your recent hires suffer as a result. By employing these proven strategies, you can help ensure that your new employee gets the training they need, and your remote onboarding goes smoothly. Together, we can make remote hiring and training a success!

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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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Your Next Great Hire Could Be Right Under Your Nose

Your Next Great Hire Could Be Right Under Your Nose

Are you overlooking the skilled talent in your workforce?

If the answer is yes, you are not alone.  Only 28% of talent acquisition leaders today consider internal candidates when looking to fill vacancies.

Laura Randell, CEO of global recruitment strategy and HR technology consulting company PeopleMatters, explains, “In highly evolved organizations where succession planning and performance reviews happen regularly, and transparency of hiring practices is the norm, looking to internal candidates first is natural.”  Yet, the vast majority of small to midsize companies do not have a process for succession planning.  There is no way to know who might be the best person in the organization for the role, so companies look externally as a first step.  “The assumption is that they don’t exist, or it’s easier to just look outside,” Randell continues.

Overlooking talent within your own organization is risky.  Especially in today’s competitive environment.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, voluntary turnover levels are growing — a direct sign that employee loyalty is on the decline.

Yet, a Talent Trends study from LinkedIn shows that 25% of employees actually prefer to hang in there in hopes of a promotion.  And the report also shows that 24% of employees will consider a move if overlooked for a promotion.  In fact, career advancement is the most common reason employees jump ship.  Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that 95% of hiring is to fill existing positions — pointing to poor retention as the root cause.

Hiring is difficult and costly. Retention is on the decline.  Why, then, aren’t hiring managers seeing beyond the end of their noses when sniffing out talent?

Research has pointed to three major causes:

  • Perceived Internal Skills Gap: Some hiring managers assume existing employees lack the exact skill match they’re hoping to find.  Or they are looking for newer skills that aren’t yet in evidence with their existing talent pool.

Skill needs evolve and emerge — especially in tech-focused roles.  It is difficult for workers to perform their day to day duties, much less exercise and stay current on advancing skills.

  • Poor Planning: Some hiring managers are planning for attrition rather than training for retention.  Rather than investing in the existing workforce, companies fill the pipeline with poached talent.  With the assumption that new talent will bring the skills they crave.

Hiring organizations tend to overestimate the “portability” of skills and experience.  And that includes how effectively skills can be applied in new organizations.  New hires often underperform, as past success is often due to the companies for which they worked.  Internal hires bring organizational knowledge that helps them get up to speed in new roles faster.  Internal hiring also builds a healthy referral pipeline from happy employees, since people naturally tend to refer others when their own career has grown in the company.

  • Panic Over Flight Risk: Some hiring managers fear that workers will leave and take their valuable training with them.  Or, some may fear that promoting from within will leave a difficult to fill gap in their own department.

Ask yourself the common sense question.  How much of their future will an employee invest with a company when the company makes them feel like a commodity not worth the investment?

What message are you sending to your workforce?  The wrong message comes at a high cost.  According to the Center for American Progress, it costs about 20% of an employee’s salary to replace that individual.  And, in the end, the cycle of replacing employees only winds up costing more than upskilling.

Apprenticeship Programs

Apprenticeship programs are a proven way to uncover untapped talent in your workforce and reduce the financial burden and risks of external hiring.  Consider not only what an internal candidate has done, but what he or she is capable of doing — with programs that identify crossover skills and structure training of new, advanced skills.

What about that entry-level gap left by a promoted worker?  Why not backfill that role with an entry-level apprentice! Mentors, Success Coaches, training programs, and all the necessary paperwork will already be in place for both incumbent and new talent.

Viola! You now have a growing workforce of loyal employees. All right under your nose.

If you’d like to learn more about the differences between new hires and apprentices, check this out:  A Candid Candidate Comparison: Who Would You Choose for Your Company?

To learn more about starting an apprenticeship program in your organization, contact us, here.

Top Reads for the New Year

Top Reads for the New Year

Making a 2020 Resolution Towards Change –

Happy 2020 from Franklin Apprenticeships! As we embark on yet another year into the 4th Industrial Revolution, we think it is time for some New Year resolutions – resolutions that can continue to bring change to how we view education and opportunity for America’s workforce.

With that, Franklin Apprenticeships would like to keep the change momentum top of mind by sharing a list of some top reads to start off the New Year!

America’s Moment Creating Opportunity in the Connected Age A Book by Rework America — The Markel Economic Future Initiative

Digital transformation: Are you ready for the digital age?

Amid the biggest economic transformation in a century, the challenge of our time is to make sure that all Americans benefit from the wave of digital revolutions around the world that have permeated and upended modern life. Yet today’s economic arguments seem stuck. We need a new vision of a hopeful future and a new action agenda.

We have been here before.  A hundred years ago, America experienced the greatest economic transformation and technological revolution in its history.  The transformation of the past 20 years— as the world has moved through the information era into the digital age— has turned our life and work upside down once again.  It is a time of tremendous change but also of tremendous possibility.

Set against the history of how Americans succeeded once before in remaking their country, America’s Moment is about the future. It describes how the same forces of change—technology and a networked world—can become tools that can open opportunity to everyone.

A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College by Ryan Craig and Allen Blue

Pop quiz: The cost of a college education continues to rise, as the value continues to drop.  Isn’t it time for alternative solutions?

So many things are getting faster and cheaper.  Movies stream into your living room without a ticket or concession-stand costs.  The world’s libraries are at your fingertips instantly and for free. 

So why is a college education the only thing that seems immune to change?  Colleges and universities operate much as they did 40 years ago, with one major exception: tuition expenses have risen dramatically.  What’s more, earning a degree takes longer than ever before, with the average time to graduate now over five years. 

As a result, graduates often struggle with enormous debt burdens.  Even worse, they often find that degrees did not prepare them to obtain and succeed at good jobs in growing sectors of the economy.  While many learners today would thrive with an efficient and affordable postsecondary education, the slow and pricey road to a bachelor’s degree is starkly the opposite.

In A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College, Ryan Craig documents the early days of a revolution that will transform—or make obsolete—many colleges and universities.  Alternative routes to great first jobs that do not involve a bachelor’s degree are sprouting up all over the place.  Bootcamps, income-share programs, apprenticeships, and staffing models are attractive alternatives to great jobs in numerous growing sectors of the economy: coding, healthcare, sales, digital marketing, finance and accounting, insurance, and data analytics. 

College Unbound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students by Jeffrey J. Selingo 

The debate continues: What is the value of a college degree?

The four-year college experience is as American as apple pie.  So is the belief that higher education offers a ticket to a better life.  But with student-loan debt surpassing the $1 trillion mark and unemployment of college graduates at historic highs, people are beginning to question that value.

In College (Un)bound, Jeffrey J. Selingo, editor at large of the Chronicle of Higher Education, argues that America’s higher education system is broken.  The great credential race has turned universities into big business and fostered an environment where middle-tier colleges can command elite university-level tuition while concealing staggeringly low graduation rates, churning out graduates with few of the skills needed for a rapidly evolving job market.

Beyond Tech The Rising Demand for IT Skills in Non-Tech Industries by Burning Glass Technologies and Oracle

Oracle and Burning Glass report: Are you aware that nearly 90% of tech jobs are outside the formal technology sector?

In 2018, there were 6,950,954 online IT job openings, accounting for 24% of all online job openings.  The vast majority of openings — 89% — were in non-tech industries… This trend of high levels of IT jobs outside of tech holds for many of the largest roles typically associated with the tech industry — such as software developers and network engineers — suggesting that there are opportunities for IT workers outside of the tech industry across a broad spectrum of IT occupations.

Why Tech Companies Should Offer Apprenticeships by The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

The American Tech Skills Gap: How are leading companies leveraging apprenticeship as a solution?

The technology industry has become the engine of American growth, generating more than 1.9 million jobs between 2010 and 2018.  Today, the sector accounts for nearly 12% of U.S. GDP. 

Increasingly, all companies are tech companies — meaning that the future of the American workforce is a high-tech one.  But that success has also created a growing skills gap: In September 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that about 5.8 million Americans were unemployed even as 7 million jobs remained unfilled.  Many of these jobs require mid- to high-level skill sets.

These figures are indicative of a common problem: Companies, especially in the tech sector, struggle to grow as quickly as they could if workers’ skills matched those employers need.  The result is that businesses are leaving behind talented individuals who lack the skills to access high-quality, high paying jobs.

To meet the challenge, some of the most cutting edge companies in the country are turning to an old solution: apprenticeship. For centuries, apprenticeships have enabled employers to develop the skills they seek while giving individuals valuable, paid work experience.  In 2018, about 585,000 Americans participated in state and federal registered apprenticeships, a number that has grown every year since 2011. 

The CTA Apprenticeship Coalition is encouraging this trend by helping tech companies incorporate apprenticeships into their talent pipeline strategies.  This white paper will help employers understand why and how to get started.

______________________________________________________________________________

Are you ready to make additions to your New Year’s resolution? Are you seeking inspiration and education about the changing face of the American Workforce? 

Our mission is to unlock opportunities for job seekers, employers, state agencies, and educators — all through modern apprenticeship.

Together, we are

#ChangingtheAmericanWorkforce

#ConnectingtheAmericanWorkforce

#ChallengingtheStatusQuo

Contact us to learn more about our plans for 2020, and beyond.

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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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.

 

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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Solving Your Digital Workforce Crisis With An Innovative Approach

Solving Your Digital Workforce Crisis With An Innovative Approach

Solving Your Digital Workforce Crisis with an Innovative Approach  

Is your organization facing challenges finding, hiring, and retaining tech talent? Are you finding applicants with the skills and knowledge needed to support your IT help desk? And, are you identifying candidates with the talent and experience required to move your IT help desk or engineer networks forward?  All so critical to business success today?

The Perfect IT Help Desk Support, Data, and Security Storm

The challenges are real: in the ever-evolving world of technology, it’s hard for business support teams to find employees who can keep up, much less stay ahead. New applications, varied devices, network security, data storage, and maintenance – each piece integral to helping customers streamline operations, provide the necessary tools to be effective, and meet the expectations of savvy consumers. Who keeps it all running smoothly?

Trained Help Desk Technicians and Network Engineers are crucial to economic success across sectors – they keep the data flowing. Yet finding the right balance between hard and soft skills can be elusive. Qualified applicants are difficult to find, candidates lack the right experience, and successful employees unfortunately leave.

Global Talent Issues

It’s not just you. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the number of job openings in the U.S. rose to 7.5 million by the end of March. And according to 43% of employers, IT positions remain the most difficult to fill.

This makes perfect sense when you consider that there are ten open positions in the technology sector for every one graduate. Fierce competition for such limited resources results in key positions remaining unfilled, allowing digital infrastructures to degrade and decay, and technical support to lag.

Global Training Issues

Those unfilled positions cost more than time and productivity, they cost money – an average of $800,000 annually, according to CareerBuilder.

Why is it so difficult to find digital talent? Close to half of employers blame higher education for the widening skills gap, alleging that four-year institutions aren’t preparing enough work-ready candidates for available positions. And given that 54% of all U.S. jobs require more than a high-school diploma but less than a four-year degree for success, now is the time to consider innovative solutions.

Global Turnover Issues

Maintaining a digital workforce current on new trends and emerging technology isn’t only imperative for your business, it’s essential for worker retention. Over half of digitally talented employees are willing to change jobs to keep their skills from stagnating.

And, Americans are quitting their jobs at the fastest rate in seventeen years, seeking positions with higher pay, better benefits, or opportunities to get ahead. When you consider the cost of losing a worker can range from one-and-a-half to two times their annual salary, suddenly retaining talent and experience becomes a priority.

The Solution

A variety of factors play into the digital workforce crisis: a limited pool of exceptional candidates, a lack of critical training opportunities, and an inability to retain talented employees. The data points to a national issue with a stunning impact right down to the community level.

Fortunately, there’s a solution. Apprenticeships offer an innovative approach to finding, training, and retaining talented Help Desk Technicians and Network Engineers.

Apprenticeships provide a nimble, adaptive workforce fully prepared to excel within your organization. They’re the answer to the skilled labor shortage, the path to middle-skills recruitment, and the solution to attracting – and retaining – talent.

Franklin Apprenticeships offers employers, workforce development, job seekers, and educators with an innovative, modernized approach to solve the digital workforce crisis head-on. For instance, we are partnering with the State of Missouri to offer Missouri Digital, the State of Maryland, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to offer Franklin Digital, our apprenticeship programs built for Computer Help Desk and Network Engineer positions.

Let us help you to take the first step in keeping your data, communications, processes, and business flowing smoothly. Contact us today to learn more about the opportunities available through Missouri Digital and Franklin Digital.

 

Employers Discuss the Top Three Drivers of the U.S. Talent Shortage – And How to Change Direction

Employers Discuss the Top Three Drivers of the U.S. Talent Shortage – And How to Change Direction

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Last year, ManpowerGroup released their 2018 Talent Shortage Survey discussing the Skills Revolution, and why employers should shift their focus from just in time hiring strategies to becoming the builders of talent for today and tomorrow.

In this survey, 61 percent of U.S. employers cited a lack of applicants, a lack of experience, and a lack of hard skills as the top three drivers for talent shortages within their respective organizations.

Fast forward almost a year later, and think about the Skills Revolution as it relates your organization.  Has any progress been made to decelerate these drivers, or is your talent crisis moving forward at full speed?  

Let’s examine each driver in more detail, and review what some of your peers are saying about taking charge and changing direction.

Driver #1: Lack of Applicants

Nearly one-third of employers say the main reason they can’t fill roles is a lack of applicants according to the survey.

A Korn Ferry Institute study from last year reiterates this sentiment – the biggest issue isn’t that robots are taking all the jobs, but rather that there aren’t enough humans to fill these positions. If this pattern continues, this talent shortage could equate to $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues by 2030.

“Governments and organizations must make talent strategy a key priority and take steps now to educate, train, and upskill their existing workforces,” says Yannick Binvel, President of Korn Ferry’s Global Industrial Markets practice.

Driver #2: Lack of Experience

Approximately 21 percent of U.S. employers surveyed agree that candidates lack the necessary experience required within their organizations.

But, how is this possible when almost 22 million U.S. workers are considered “underemployed” – meaning they have a job that doesn’t put their experience, training, or education to work?

Scott Dobroski, an employer trends analyst at Glassdoor, says that while it’s a job-seeker’s market, data trends and employers have trouble finding “quality candidates who can tackle tomorrow’s business challenges in their respective kind of pool or lane.”

Driver #3: Lack of Hard Skills

14 percent of surveyed employers also note that applicants lack the hard skills they need.

But not all problems are caused by employers searching for candidates that can check every box, Dobroski adds. “We definitely think there is still a large disconnect between what academic universities have to offer to prepare students for the real world,” he comments.

In a 2018 HR Dive article, Jim Link, Chief Human Resources Officer at Randstad North America, stated that employers should “look beyond traditional training methods, like workshops, and think outside of the box to implement newer methods to deliver training on new skills or to strengthen existing skills.”

Changing Direction

ManpowerGroup Chairman & CEO Jonas Prising mentioned that “for organizations, creating a culture of learnability so people are equipped and open to adapt is not just an operational imperative but must be a strategic priority.”

Companies like Walmart, CVS, and Starbucks have used new training programs to upskill entry-level workers and broaden each organization’s skill base, while businesses such as Schaeffler Group are investing in apprenticeships as a solution.

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

Organizations must shift gears and safeguard against these talent crisis drivers. Employers will need to think outside the box to train and retain the workforce of the future as reinforced by many industry thought leaders. Now is the time to change direction, and not let the talent shortage change the direction of your organization’s prosperity and profitability.

The Skills Revolution is upon us – are you ready to respond? Contact Franklin Apprenticeships to learn more about the power of high quality, registered apprenticeship programs as your organization’s response to the skills shortage.

Also, find out how employers in Maryland, Missouri, and Pennsylvania can respond by engaging in our programs targeting technology apprenticeships. Click on the following program links for more details: Franklin Digital and Missouri Digital.

Need Auto Tech employees? Find out about Missouri’s program for employers to tap into a seasoned talent pool of displaced workers with AutoMOtive!  Program subsidies available for qualified applicants.

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