Generation Z bring their own strengths to apprenticeships

There is no doubting that COVID has brought about life-changing consequences to industry and employment, but the Chancellor has committed to invest in school leavers and young people at a crucial stage in their career.

While there are kickstarts and traineeships, we are giving focus to apprenticeships. To encourage new jobs for younger workers, the Chancellor has said he will give £2,000 for any new apprentice starting up to the age of 24 and £1,500 for aged 24-plus. It is also worth adding that there is a £1,000 additional incentive if the apprentice is aged 16 to 18 when they start their apprenticeship. This funding will be available from August 1 2020 to January 31 2021.

We have all read about the disastrous impact on employment, especially with regards to the hospitality and leisure industry. It looks challenging, but in the background, those who were digitally ready, such as online retail and the likes of Amazon, have exploded. Agile businesses have been able to react to a contactless, socially distanced world. Supermarkets have employed more staff; pharmacies grew staff delivering prescriptions; the industries that boomed were pharma, cloud computing, e-commerce and gaming.

This gives insight into the change in employment needs and skills. Into the spotlight steps the Gen Z school leaver apprentice. These young people are the first generation born into the digital world and known to be digital natives. This means there will be little need for basic computer training, and they have a magical ability to gather and process information. They are also good multi-taskers. We have seen this first-hand when out on our visits to the workplace and more recently whilst training our apprentices remotely. Because of the fast development of digital over their lives, they are adaptable to changes. So, training will be focused on your business, and they will probably be able to show you some new digital skills.

So, while the opportunity for extra funding is available, it also is worth considering where your company’s future lies? What changes are you making? What skills will you need in the unpredictable changing world that we live in and are having to adapt to? Are you interested in a young person that you can develop and nurture for the growth of your future business? What skills of the digital native will be useful to your business?  The intentions of this additional government funding for apprenticeships, traineeships and the Kickstart Scheme is to create more jobs for young people. If the young person is a school leaver with little work experience or training, then an apprenticeship would offer that training structure to hone the natural digital attributes. 

It also depends on how much time you would already spend training someone to do the job for future growth. If you want to spend more now and invest in a young person with a degree and specialism, then invest in a graduate. Or do you want to make a slower investment in nurturing a school leaver with a natural digital attribution to some of the business skills you need? Then invest in an apprentice. More young people and particularly Gen Z are looking to apprenticeships to continue their learning and growth and to steer away from the debt of university. So, we are seeing candidates who would have previously gone to university look to apprenticeships. They still want their independence and being paid to learn is a great motivator to these young people.

One thing is for sure, the opportunity is now. We do not have enough information about the Kickstart Scheme just yet, but we do know that you can’t kickstart now and then start the young person on an apprenticeship and get the full incentive further down the line. 


To find out more about the apprenticeships at Starting Off email katie.goodall@startingoff.co.uk or call 01604 622855