Next week is National Apprenticeship Week. In normal circumstances there’s nothing particularly unusual about that, after all it’s a national awareness campaign that takes place every year, but this year is different. Like pretty much everything else right now, it’s going virtual.
The switch to online means the physical, face-to-face events which have become part and parcel of Apprenticeship Week have been put on hold. The hands-on, ‘give-it-a-go’ style taster sessions are, for this year at least, temporarily on the back burner as we pivot to a new look digital world and audience logging on through smartphones, tablets and laptops.
It is a challenge for all of us, education providers, employers and students, as we navigate our way through this period of uncertainty. But it is also an opportunity to try new things, to press fast-forward on our digital journey and perhaps set foot into the future a few years ahead of our scheduled arrival time.
The pandemic has shown us that young people, and apprentices in particular, are vital to businesses across a whole host of industries.
This generation of digital natives find it easier than any other age group to adapt to new ways of working. They are not fazed by Zoom meetings. Microsoft Teams holds no fears. Switching from paper-based work diaries and ordering systems to online shared calendars and ‘click-to-buy’ software just makes sense. More often than not, their only question is ‘why weren’t we already doing it anyway?’
With 2020 forcing us to rely on technology and virtual meetings more than ever, we are seeing an increasing number of openings in digital, data and technology roles as innovation takes centre stage in a skills-led recovery. Our digital-savvy apprentices are helping business adapt and build during a difficult year. Their resilience and appetite for affecting positive change is proving invaluable.
The theme for next week is ‘Build The Future’ which seems particularly appropriate given the current circumstances. It is this generation that will do exactly that, and in many cases they’re already doing it. They just need to be given the chance.
To find out more about the online National Apprenticeship Week events being held at Northampton College, including CV writing and interview skills workshops, visit