The Year of the Apprenticeship at Schneider Electric
A global leader in energy management and automation, Schneider Electric had struggled with a rather traditional approach to technical apprentices until 2 years ago. Recruitment of apprentices was ad-hoc and attraction numbers were low. A lot of misconception circulated within the organisation around the value of apprentices, with no strategic or centralised approach, Stacey Greenwood, Early Talent Manager at Schneider Electric said.
The organisation recognised its ageing workforce and skills shortage. “We really recruited like for like so we realised we needed to grow people from within.”
When the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in 2017, Stacey and her team used it to educate the business on its benefits and its multiple use cases. “The Levy can come from apprentices but also from existing employees, people who had interrupted their training or studies could now benefit from a degree apprenticeship with the help of the Levy.”
Stacey believes that where companies fail on driving a successful apprenticeship scheme is the internal training. “We started to find apprenticeship managers within each business unit, responsible to put together internal training for joiners to help motivate them. We cover customer care, HR, sales, marketing and project management and all programmes are now available up to a Masters level.”
Furthermore, the team also looked at changing the language used in job ads and promotional materials. They removed acronyms and jargon and made the material user friendly. They also introduced a digital brochure, all about the scheme, including stories from other apprentices.
In 2018 Schneider Electric’s apprentice intake grew by 160% from the year before and the Levy utilisation went from 8 to 33%.