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Apprenticeships: The Secret to Creating a Culture of Learning

Posted by Brad Voeller on July 2, 2015

The global marketplace today is more competitive than ever before. Even the most successful businesses will struggle to thrive with new companies gaining momentum. In fact, according to an article, the average life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company is only 15 years.

Culture of learningThat number may seem shockingly low, but when you think about the number of companies that have been on top of the world one year and seemingly lost in the sea of new technology the next, it only makes sense. What makes some companies surpass this 15-year mark, and others fail to reach 10 or even 5 years? It does not always have to do with the quality of the product or service—in many cases it has to do with a company and its leadership’s ability to learn and grow.

As a worker, manager or even business owner, your ability to learn is your only sustainable competitive advantage. (Tweet this) The State of Digital Marketing Talent & Education (2014) by the Online Marketing Institute stated that 44% of recent graduates have insufficient work experience and 38% of companies are unable to hire the talent they need to meet their workload. Because of this, building a culture of learning WITHIN the company is important. This is true in nearly any field but is highly pronounced in marketing departments.

Enter ApprenticeshipsOne way that a company can create this learning culture is through an apprenticeship program. Those who have experienced the apprenticeship program firsthand can attest to the fact that it works. Investing early in a young or inexperienced person and giving them an environment for learning will equal a higher return on talent—almost without fail.

Benefits of Apprenticeship

While the benefits of an apprenticeship program will vary from company to company (and even person to person), the three significant benefits to the sponsoring organization are:

  • Growing Junior Talent – This makes sense. Catch a young, hungry potential employee and develop him or her into someone who can serve your company well for years to come.

  • Attracting Senior Talent – It may not be as obvious, but an apprenticeship program can help attract top talent too. Many experienced individuals will be excited to work for a company that is growing towards something bigger. Plus, many of the best and most talented individuals will thrive in a role of “teacher”. (Tweet this)

  • Cultivating a Culture of Learning – The culture of learning discussed above is what will set your company apart from the competition and help you succeed where so many others fail. When learning is the norm, it is harder to fall behind the latest trends and technology.

What is Apprenticeship?

First, it is important to understand what apprenticeship is NOT. Apprenticeship is not training. Training programs are pre-planned, canned, scripted and may simply be seen as a burden to all involved. An apprenticeship is emergent, adaptive, directly relevant, tacit. Apprentices are involved in the workplace and are learning without being explicitly taught. With workplaces changing so rapidly today, this type of learning is the most successful.

"Apprentices in the workplace learn without being explicitly taught-- this is the most successful type of learning." Tweet this.

Today, the United Kingdom has ten times the rate of participation in apprenticeship than the United States does, with 99% of participating employers recommending them, according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; Evaluation of apprenticeship employers 12/08/13. It is time for American companies to recognize these benefits and begin providing this new wave of apprenticeship for the digital age.

Do not let your company fall further behind. Let’s discuss how apprenticeship can fuel a culture of learning and innovation at your company. Learn how you can embrace apprenticeship as a boon to your business.

Hire an Apprentice

Topics: For Small or Medium Enterprises