Let’s Get It Straight: Busting Common Myths about Modern Apprenticeships

The majority of companies (87%) are already aware that they currently have a skills gap or will have one within a few years, according to McKinsey & Company. Modern apprenticeship programs will provide a key role in creating a skilled workforce for current and future business needs. The programs are able to adapt quickly to meet changing skills needs, and provide earn-and-learn opportunities for many to get into fields that were closed to them. Apprenticeships have risen 64% since 2010, however, we believe they’re not being used by as many organizations as possible. Part of the hesitation comes from people being familiar with traditional building trade apprenticeships, but not so much with ‘modern apprenticeships’ in industries such as technology and manufacturing, which operate differently. There are also some common outdated beliefs about apprenticeships that need to be upended including the following: 

Myth: “Apprenticeships are just for the building trades”

  • Apprenticeship is a proven solution for recruiting, training, and retaining talent across a range of industries including those in technology, financial services, hospitality, healthcare, telecom, energy, and occupations such as cyber security and human resources.
  • Employers of all sizes - small and large and public, non-profit and private - can take advantage of apprenticeship programs
  • The U.S. Department of Labor is encouraging industries across the board to create more apprenticeship programs to address the current talent shortage, from hospitality and transportation to telecom and financial services. 

Myth: “Apprentices don't have experience or credentials”

  • Often apprentices have some type of work experience that has developed the desirable soft skills employers look for. For instance, apprentices with previous jobs in customer service, retail, or food service often possess good problem-solving, and communication skills, and can work well in a team. 
  • Many apprentices have college degrees and professional careers in a different industry than their apprenticeship program and are looking to re-skill or enhance their education and experience. 

Myth: “Hiring an apprentice is considered ‘charity’

  • It’s a talent pipeline and valuable recruiting tool, not a community program.
  • Apprenticeship graduates are highly desirable - have skills that are currently in demand. Most also have soft skills that can be hard to teach.
  • Apprentices tend to have a hunger for new opportunities and have the attitude, aptitude and drive to succeed - attributes of quality candidates.

Myth: “Businesses will have a loss of productivity if they hire an apprentice”

  • Training an apprentice is a comprehensive method to train a new employee which speeds up their learning and productivity
  • Current employees’ expertise can be deepened as they train apprentices.
  • Apprentices often become successful invested employees, contributing to higher retention rates.
  • Hiring apprentices creates a robust talent pipeline within your organization.

Myth: “Companies don’t have control over the hiring process”

  • The hiring process is the same as hiring regular employees. Companies interview candidates and select the apprentices they’d like to hire.
  • Once hired, apprentices are subject to similar employee benefits and workplace policies as traditional employees.

In conclusion, modern apprenticeship programs can play a key role in building talent pipelines addressing the skills shortage. This is why it's a rapidly growing sector that has expanded beyond the trades. industries across the board can benefit from utilizing modern apprenticeships to serve a range of needs – bringing untapped talent into the workforce, increasing hiring pools; creating a quality talent pipeline with candidates that often become invested employees; and sourcing diverse candidates to support DEIA goals.

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

Add new comment

Please enter the text you see in the image below: