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.

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.

The Cybersecurity Skills Gap: Who’s To Blame?

The Cybersecurity Skills Gap: Who’s To Blame?

If you’re a hiring manager, you know firsthand about the so-called ‘skills gap’ in cybersecurity, and nearly all IT areas, for that matter. The conventional thinking is that there just aren’t enough qualified candidates to fill those empty seats.

In our travels we see a different story. We see a huge pool of talent, in fact a supply that exceeds current demand. Why the discrepancy?

What’s a ‘qualified’ candidate?

The disconnect may be in that term ‘qualified.’ You might have recruiters out there looking for candidates who check every box on your wish list of skills, and that is understandable. But those recruiters are fishing in the same pond as all the other recruiters working for all the other companies, playing catch and release with the same applicants. No wonder candidates flip from job to job.

Consider whether you could define a qualified candidate this way: Someone who has the technical proficiency you need, is eager and willing to grow on the job, and who’s ready to learn to do things your way and become a long-term, loyal team member. Isn’t that the outcome you’re looking for? That is the textbook definition of an apprenticeship program.

There is a virtual army of apprentice candidates ready to fill your empty chairs, but you won’t find them in those same old places. It’s a different pond, and it’s very well stocked. What the business world needs now is companies like yours ready to embrace and invest in a new way of doing things, a way that changes organizations and changes lives.

More diverse, more loyal

If your concern is that a new approach won’t check the right boxes on your wish list, consider that this is a much more diverse pool of talent than the industry as a whole, with women represented at a rate one-third higher than the average. A 91 percent loyalty rate is a pretty good box to check, also.

So maybe it’s time to ask: Is there really a skills gap, or is the gap between an old and ineffective way of doing things and a new and better way?

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.

The Future Workforce: Where Do Tech Apprenticeships Fit In?

The Future Workforce: Where Do Tech Apprenticeships Fit In?

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) recently completed its 2020 Future of Work: 2020 CTA Member Survey, a wide-ranging look at tech industry workplaces. The survey reflects the many changes to the work environment wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, but what’s really notable is how little the big picture – the hot-button issues for managers and employees – has changed.

For example, 75% or respondents say it’s difficult to find candidates with the right skills and abilities, and 80% say they’ll need more of those hard-to-find team members. Four out of five also say they’ll be conducting more interviews remotely.

That state of affairs is changing the picture somewhat, as almost three-quarters now say they’ll hire based on skill level, regardless of education level. In fact, 58% say their company does not require a college degree. Almost nine out of ten have at least one current or planned program to enhance diversity and inclusion at their organization, and 43% plan to devote resources to hiring more employees from underrepresented backgrounds.

In a work-from-home environment where many employees are juggling work and parenting, it’s no surprise that flexible work arrangements are considered (by 89% of respondents) to be the most important benefit for employee retention. Yet somehow only 40% of companies currently allow for designated telework days.

From our point of view, the story told by all that data is this: the current environment is custom-made for apprenticeship programs. Trouble finding good candidates? No degree necessary? Remote interviews and training? A more diverse workforce?

Apprenticeships check all those boxes and many more, and 24% of respondents said they plan to use more train-to-hire programs such as apprenticeships. We expect this figure to only grow to meet the trends mentioned here.

Franklin Apprenticeships – Changing the American Workforce.

See the full CTA Future of Work report here, and if you’re having the same challenges in filling your empty seats with qualified personnel, contact Franklin Apprenticeships today.


The Path to a Successful Tech Apprenticeship Program

The Path to a Successful Tech Apprenticeship Program

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Employers about to take the leap into apprenticeship programs frequently ask us what actions they can take that will lead to the most successful outcomes. Here’s our advice for launching a program that maximizes the benefits to both your organization and its apprentices.

Think long term. As a hiring manager, you often need to plug a hole in your lineup, and quickly. We urge you to adjust that mindset and think of ten-year career paths, not just filling jobs. If you can show a new hire a career path from Day One and not just a job, you’ll stop paying top dollar for experience and fancy resumes and start investing in potential. That 12- to 18-month investment results in loyal team members who typically will stick around for years to come … so you can stop plugging holes.

Prepare to polish. Investing in potential means that you’ll need the ability to see diamonds in the rough. Your new hire will have some ground to cover before they can compete head-on with those high-dollar resumes you’re seeing. But they’ll cover that ground under your watchful eye (and ours), so in the end you’ll have a team member who’s fully versed in doing things your way instead of bringing along bad habits from a previous job. And they’re typically up to speed and adding value in 90-120 days.

Fill in the background. The more we know about your company culture and the way you conduct business, the better we can match candidates to your openings. Take the time up front to consider the qualities in a candidate that will fit in well at your organization, and the ones that won’t. Replicate the personality traits of the past winners, and don’t get too caught up in look-alike resumes.

Look in-house. Nothing contributes to a great company culture, and a loyal team, more than the knowledge that there’s an internal path to career advancement. Assess your current staff and consider who’s ready for a more senior role, then upskill them in an apprenticeship program. You can backfill the chair they leave empty with a new more junior apprentice, usually an easier person to find.

Communicate. You found the perfect apprentice? Be prepared to encourage them along the way, celebrating each milestone as they pass their certifications and enjoy the corresponding pay raise. An open line of communication with their assigned mentor / Success Coach is also vital. They have the ear of your new hire and can get right to work on polishing any rough edges. This communication loop keeps small issues from becoming bigger ones and will make both you and the apprentice happier in the long run.

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


Apprenticeships: The Learning Supermind Approach for Upskilling Employees Are You One of the Many That Do This Wrong?

Apprenticeships: The Learning Supermind Approach for Upskilling Employees Are You One of the Many That Do This Wrong?


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




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

Franklin Apprenticeships CEO Discusses Tomorrow’s Advanced Manufacturing Talent – Gen Z

Franklin Apprenticeships CEO Discusses Tomorrow’s Advanced Manufacturing Talent – Gen Z

In a recent article published in, Kim Nichols, Franklin Apprenticeships Founder and CEO, explains why Gen Z is a “match made by mother nature” for Advanced Manufacturers and apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship programs are becoming increasingly attractive to manufacturers, worldwide.  Yet, despite testimony from progressive US manufacturers who leverage apprenticeships to develop, grow, and retain workers in an effort to solve their skilled labor shortage – US adoption is still years behind other countries.

Gen Zers are not only perfect candidates for a modernization of the US manufacturing industry, but also for a modernization of the US apprenticeship industry.  This younger generation naturally embraces and executes the changes necessary for both of these emerging industries to continue to grow and thrive, a different approach than their millennial predecessors.

Read the article and find out why.