Approach: The I...Care Ambassador scheme, work experience schemes, and attendance at careers fairs helped identify young people who may be suitable for an Apprenticeship
These links meant it was not necessary to spend any money on advertising the Apprenticeships. Vacancies were just placed on the council’s website and National Apprenticeship Service vacancy matching service at no cost.
Recruitment took place once a year over the summer for a September start. Throughout the year many enquiries were taken about the scheme, and young people (and the people who support them) were made aware of when the positions would be advertised and the criteria for selection so they had time to gain the necessary experience to apply.
The application process involved completing an online or paper application form where applicants had to state relevant experience and why they wanted to do an Apprenticeship. They also completed an assignment (which could be used for the apprentice award if they were successful) as this gave them an indication of what the course work would be like and the shortlisting panel an idea of whether they would cope with the coursework.
If they were successful on the day they were invited to interview where they discussed their experiences of supporting people and why they felt an Apprenticeship was an appropriate route for them. This was also an opportunity to ensure that they fully understand what would be expected of them if they were offered a place on the programme.
References, occupational health checks and disclosure and barring service checks were also pursued.
Challenges: The assessment centre required a lot of staff time – one observer for every two candidates.
Some candidates are very suitable to work in social care but their Maths assessment means they cannot be taken on to the programme as they have to achieve a level 1 qualification to complete their award.
Benefits: Working with partner organisations in the assessment centre ensured they were confident in the calibre of applicants selected before they offered placements.
The selection process enabled candidates to gain an insight into the Apprenticeship and what it would involve and enabled some to self-select out of the process.
The combined process of application form, assignment, assessment centre and interview gave a very good indicator of the suitability of applicants for the apprentice programme.
This combined with the excellent training provision and support given to apprentices and placements ensured a 90% achievement rate.