Matt Fanshawe: Could apprenticeships replace graduate trainee schemes?

The COO of Havas EHS speaks out from experience

Apprenticeships are nothing new. In fact they’ve been around for centuries in some form or another. Indeed, they have been vital for the development of many different trades. However, for many, apprenticeships are solely the preserve of the more ‘mechanical’ trades and are not a focus for new talent in the creative media sector.

There has been a level of expectation that apprenticeships are the domain of vocational workplaces while the graduate scheme is the focus for finding and nurturing new talent into creative industries.

While these graduate programmes are valuable and offer a structured programme for new university leavers, are we missing a trick as an industry? Are we missing out on finding talented young people who may not, for one reason or another, attend higher education?

>> E-guide: The ultimate guide to Apprenticeships for employers & how to hire one

In light of government changes to university fees, we will very soon be in a position where more and more brilliantly talented young people are unable to attend university.  Therefore they will not be applicable to the existing graduate programmes that run across our industry. We are faced with a challenge that we should embrace collectively as an industry by finding new ways to support and nurture young people to ensure we don’t miss out on our future stars.

A structured apprenticeship programme is one solution that we have developed at Havas EHS. There is no reason why this is not transferable across the industry, all it needs is a paradigm shift. Marketers need to start to think about taking on non-graduate school leavers. If they don’t, they risk losing out on a vast pool of talent.

As an agency, Havas EHS is keen to promote this. Our four apprentices are given formalised and planned training. This allows them to learn in the best, most up-to-date and challenging environments. Also it comes with an added bonus – a wage.

We are aiming to create better futures by using these apprenticeships to open a career path to people that otherwise might not have considered it. University graduates definitely have a place. However, due to the nature of our business we need diverse sources from which to find, train and nurture our talent.  It is my belief that apprenticeships are something that can be rolled out industry-wide. Employers need to nurture our young talent in whatever academic guise it comes in. Failure to do so will stunt the acquisition of talent and creativity that the industry thrives on.

Matt Fanshawe is COO of Havas EHS, the digitally-driven creative agency

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