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Apprenticeships: The Solution To The Digital Skills Gap?

Written by Daniel
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One of the most discussed topics in the Northern digital scene is the shortage of skilled marketers, known as the ‘Digital Skills Gap’. In this week’s Industry Spotlight, the Flaunt Digital team discusses how apprenticeships could offer an alternative route in to the industry…

See below for the full video transcription.



Lee: Okay, so the next piece we’re going to cover is why brands need to take on apprentices and widen access to marketing careers. So marketing typically has got a shortage of talent at a certain level. I think the underlying theme of this article is basically that a lot of marketing-based careers get their skills from experience-based work. So, for example, I don’t know, someone who’s done a Sociology degree at college may come out and get an entry-level marketing career, whereas the marketing industry, because there is a shortage of skills, is basing their hires on experience.

So the government are introducing a new levy and a set of funding that basically backs apprenticeships. So, rather than going to college or uni to further your education, there will be an opportunity for people to come straight out of school and go into an entry-level marketing apprenticeship or an apprenticeship in another field. I think it’s something that happened a while ago, didn’t it? Maybe like eight years ago. Apprenticeships were big eight years ago, and then they, sort of, died off. And now there’s this new set of funding. But I think, specifically, in the marketing space, it’s going to be a good thing.

I think I read recently about there being a shortage in skilled marketers, especially up north, and I think the result of this will be that junior staff will get a foot in the door and get the experience that they need. And brands and agencies will be able to afford to bring them in, rather than having to look around and have a longer, drawn-out recruitment process to try and find someone that is pretty much gold dust and having to pay through their nose for that. So I think, all in all, it’s probably a really good thing.

Chris: I think, as well, it’s probably come at a good time, as well, with obviously the university fees now. I think everybody’s a bit drained, really, with how they’re constantly increasing, aren’t they, and I think there’s a bit of an attitude developing, as well, amongst young people that is university the right route to go down. There’s a lot of people in the industry now that didn’t go to university and still managed to have a successful career in a lot of other industries.

So I think there is an attitude developing now with, “What are my other options? Is an apprenticeship a good route?”. I think if the incentives are there for both people wanting to get into work, young people wanting to get into work, and, obviously, employers, I think it could work quite well for both parties.

Jamie: I think employers are now taking the onus, aren’t they a little bit, with this skills gap. They’re realizing that, unless they do something about it, it’s not just going to fix itself. So I think with the government shoving a bit of money into it, too, I think they’re just trying to fix the blatant problem that everyone’s facing. Yeah, people have got to do something about it otherwise it’s going to be there forever. And I think employers are starting to realize now that, yeah, they’ve got to start doing this stuff.

Chris: I agree. I think employers have to take apprenticeships a little bit more seriously than they’ve done in the past. I think there’s been a massive pressure on businesses to take on apprentices and things like that, and they don’t really want to because it takes up a lot of management time, you know, keeping them busy, training them up, that kind of thing. But because of things like…we were talking about the other week about the skills gap.

And, you know, like you were just saying then about having to pay, you know, a massive amount of money for somebody that’s not overly skilled, hopefully, you know, businesses will start seeing that as an opportunity to get young people in, train them up, obviously gain that loyalty, as well, from someone to keep them in the company, train them up, and keep them there. It works both ways then, doesn’t it, obviously? Because you’re not paying somebody, you know, a massive amount of money to do a mediocre job as well.

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