How apprenticeships can make a difference

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At least 475m new jobs need to be created over the next decade to tackle the global youth unemployment problem. Around 73m youth are currently out of work, and 40m people enter the labour market every year.

World Youth Skills Day promotes and encourages better quality education and training across the world to help tackle the issue. A huge part of this is vocational training, such as apprenticeships. The Education 2030 scheme, linked to World Youth Skills Day, advocates technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as a crucial tool in improving opportunities for young people from various backgrounds.

“TVET is expected to address the multiple demands of an economic, social and environmental nature by helping youth and adults develop the skills they need for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship, promoting equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and supporting transitions to green economies and environmental sustainability,” according to the UN.

TVET can equip youth with the skills required to access the world of work, including skills for self-employment. Work-based learning can also reduce barriers to entering the workplace, ensuring that young people get recognised and certified skills.

Organisations such as APM are working with businesses to create more apprenticeships, giving young people a chance to learn core workplace skills alongside more technical training. By working while learning, it also gives them access to workplace mentors who can help them develop their knowledge further and set some objectives to aim towards.

Georgia Wilde is an apprentice junior project manager at Direct Line Group. She has worked with several individuals that she has considered mentors during her apprenticeship so far: “Some have been assigned to me as part of my apprenticeship scheme, but for others I have actively searched and put myself forward to get some time with them,” she says.

All of her mentors have come from within Direct Line. The company has also put on speed mentoring sessions with its senior leaders. This level of support and advice has helped her to flourish within her role.

“It has allowed me to gain an understanding of what I need to do in order to grow into a fully competent professional. I often open up to my mentors about areas of weakness that I would like to develop.”

Go beyond education

She has been set personal goals for 2019 alongside her regular studies, to help her to build her understanding of project benefits. She spends a lot of time talking about her strengths and weaknesses, and how to manage them.

“I have learnt a lot about project management, both theory and handling real-life situations to achieve the best possible outcome,” she says. “[My bosses] understand the importance of both professional and personal growth, so we have separate conversations on these areas.”

Develop soft skills

Direct Line’s apprenticeship scheme puts time into the soft skills, such as communication, presentation and emotional intelligence, as much as the technical knowledge. A lot of that comes through interactions with senior staff members in the workplace.

Extra support

The apprentices also support each other, giving them a better chance of getting through their studies and becoming fully qualified, working project managers.

“Over the next few months, my organisation will be recruiting two new apprentice project managers whom I hope to support, albeit in an informal manner, to ensure they get the best out of their apprentice journey,” says Wilde. “The new apprentices will join the business in September – at the moment I am working through an onboarding plan to maximise their development journey within their first few weeks.”

Brought to you by Project journal.

Image: tynyuk/

Mark Rowland

Posted by Mark Rowland on 15th Jul 2019

About the Author

Mark Rowland is a senior writer on the Project editorial team. He has worked as a business journalist and editor for 15 years, and has won awards for his writing and editing. He has also worked in project and product management, overseeing the launch and continuous development of new websites and publications. Project is the official journal of the Association for Project Management (APM).

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