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How to talk to your employer about doing an apprenticeship

a young man and woman sat at a table side by side. Their hand expressions appear as though they are trying to work out a problem, or discussing something together.

Finding a way to get further training in your chosen career can be difficult, especially if you're already employed. But did you know that it's possible to train via an apprenticeship while working for your current employer?

Particularly if you’re working within the data and technology industry, and looking to progress your career, furthering your education and training is always the best place to start. But trying to convince your employer to fund your apprenticeship can be a difficult conversation to have.

Don’t worry, both yourself, your employer and the organisation will benefit from the extra training, so have a look at our tips on how to approach the topic, and don’t give up!

Before addressing your training needs, it’s important to have as much information as possible. You will need to:

  • Find an apprenticeship standard that meets your role and your development requirements
  • Understand the skills that you’ll be learning
  • Know how this will positively impact your work, your team, your manager and the business.

How to bring apprenticeships up as a topic

Directly

If you’re wanting to have an official conversation with your employer, it’s worth scheduling a meeting and coming prepared or adding this to your annual review or even a regular 1:1. Remember - you are discussing your training needs and how it will develop your skills, but also make a note of how this benefits them as well as you. Why should they support it? What do they get out of it? What will you be able to do differently for your employer as a result of the apprenticeship? Do further research into what apprenticeship programme you’re interested in and pitch it almost as a business case. What’s the worst they can say?

Indirectly

Every workplace has a different atmosphere so it’s understandable if you don’t feel confident arranging a formal session with your employer. It may also be worth pursuing the topic subtly in conversation before asking to meet. For example, take a look at some of our case studies from other organisations that have benefitted from apprenticeships which you can use for both a conversation starter and evidence in a formal meeting.

As well as speaking to your manager, you can also look into ways to contact the learning and development or HR department at your company. They should be able to advise of any existing and available apprenticeship training.

How does it benefit employers and the business?

It’s known that it has become very difficult to find qualified professionals to fill positions and keep them within the organisation. So pitching to your employer that you would like further training can solve many of their problems. For example, they don’t need to struggle with hiring new people, they will gain qualified, skilled workers in the organisation, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Support is available through an apprenticeship

If you are on an apprenticeship, there will be expert tutors guiding you to ensure that you learn all of the necessary skills, knowledge, and behaviours to succeed in your career. For a business, this means that they do not need to take already qualified colleagues away from their day-to-day jobs to train existing colleagues.

You will also be assigned a Talent Coach who will look after you throughout the programme. The Talent Coach will help you progress by arranging progress reviews with themselves, you and your line manager where you can set targets and highlight any additional support that you may need.

You’ll also take a skills scan before starting your apprenticeship to be sure that you are entering a suitable training programme for your role and to identify your individual starting point.

Off-the-job training doesn’t have to mean that you’re not working

Managers are usually reluctant to explore apprenticeship options as they require off-the-job training time of at least six hours a week, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be working.

From a business perspective, they will be losing you temporarily for a few hours a week while you train to become a better, more skilled and experienced employee. The key to a healthy and happy organisation is for them to continue to motivate employees and support their needs. By doing this, you will be much more likely to stay within the company rather than seek opportunities elsewhere.

Think of it this way: would they rather lose you for a few hours a week, or lose you altogether? The apprenticeship route means that your manager isn’t losing hours from any existing employees to train you, or losing you to another workplace. Overall, the workplace will grow much stronger and happier.

There are funding options available

If you are pitching apprenticeships to your employer, you may not initially be aware of the funding options.

If they are paying into the Apprenticeship Levy

If your organisation is an Apprenticeship Levy payer, they will already be paying into the apprenticeship. So, why not use these existing funds? Your employer can direct existing levy funds to approved training providers, like Kaplan, to upskill the workplace. If your organisation has unused levy funding then that could be going to waste, as any unused funding returns to the Treasury after two years.

If they are not paying into the Apprenticeship Levy

However, if they do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy, only 5% of the cost of the programme needs to be paid. In the UK, the government will cover the remaining 95% of the costs. This makes the apprenticeship route much cheaper than in-house training as they do not need to pay for existing workers to train you, or the equipment required for training. Everything is covered by Kaplan while the majority is funded by the government.

Direct your manager to contact our team and they can help to explain the funding options in more detail.

Other resources

So now you have some key points that you can pitch. Our advice from here is to go for it, what do you have to lose?

We know that it can be difficult to convince your employer to consider the apprenticeship route if they already have their concerns, so here are some additional resources and further reading that might help.

For your employer:

Kaplan apprenticeships for employers

Struggling with recruiting new talent? Apprenticeships may be the best route

How to manage Gen Z in the workplace

For you:

Kaplan Data and Technology Apprenticeship programmes

Webinar: The Secrets To Gaming Apprenticeships

How to become a data analyst for free

Or find out more about our Data and Technology apprenticeships on our blog.

Browse our Data and Technology apprenticeships

Find out more