A good employer brand makes it easier to hire and retain top talent. Did you know 86% of people wouldn't apply or continue to work for a company with a bad reputation? Companies with a positive employer brand can get up to twice as many applications as those with negative brands, and it costs them £435 less to recruit each candidate. Plus, companies that invest in their employer brand can reduce turnover by 28%.

When it comes to hiring apprentices, your employer brand is more crucial than ever – and it takes more than a few cool videos and a table full of merch to get it right! Students talk. In schools and colleges, years 12 and 13 swap notes on the brands they admire and the pros and cons of working for different companies. At this age young people are particularly suggestible: make a good impression and you'll become a talent magnet; make a bad impression and word will spread – not just among current school-leavers, but to future cohorts, too. 

So, how do you improve your employer brand in the eyes of young people? Whether you're hiring apprentices for the first or fifteenth time, these five tips will help you make the recruitment process easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

1. Define your AVP (Apprentice Value Proposition)

If your Employer Value Proposition is essentially all the reasons someone should choose to work for you, your Apprentice Value Proposition is all the reasons a young person should choose to start their career with you. With a massive 75% of job seekers saying they consider the EVP before applying for a job and 47% of active job seekers saying company culture is a driving motivator when looking for work, there's no reason to assume young people would be any different.

If you want to attract apprenticeship candidates, it's important to address their unique needs with a dedicated AVP. Revisit your offering and consider how you can tailor it to the wants and needs of school-leavers entering the workplace for the first time. For example, what's your 'work-from-office' policy? What are the chances of a permanent job at the end of the apprenticeship? What additional support and development do you offer first-time workers? For young people especially, your AVP will be more compelling if you focus on how a role will be meaningful (be that personally fulfilling or concerned with global good) or offer a superior work experience.

2. Engage current employees with your apprenticeship programme

Your employees are crucial in shaping your Apprentice Value Proposition, because they're the ones who contribute to your company culture daily and manifest your brand vision – so it makes sense they'd be a great advert for your business. But did you know prospective candidates are also three times more likely to trust your employees than your CEO when it comes to finding out what working for your company is like?

Show off your team by getting them involved in your apprenticeship hiring cycle – from planning, outreach and attraction, to pipeline development, and hiring and onboarding. They could do talks in schools and colleges, host CV workshops, play a role in immersive assessment experiences, take part in insight days, or even become career mentors. Do it right and they'll get just as much from the process as your apprenticeship candidates.

3. Think social

In today's digital age – especially when you're trying to reach young people – the power of social media can't be overlooked. Did you know 25% of job seekers use social media as their primary tool for job searching, and 70% of 18-34 year-olds found their previous job through social media? Not only that, 9 out of 10 candidates would apply to a job when it's from an employer brand that's actively maintained on social media.

Make sure your social channels showcase your AVP and provide a window into your organisation through strategies like employee-generated content that provide credibility and help build awareness and interest. But remember: authenticity is key. Young people are savvy – they'll spot a marketing ploy a mile off, so only post real content from real apprentices. And make sure their representation is diverse, so future talent identifies your business as a place for 'someone like them'.

Bear in mind, social media isn't just about talking – it's also about listening. Nudge prospects to the engagement (and hopefully, eventually, action) stage by regularly responding to questions and comments, actively seeking input, and taking part in the wider conversation your audience is having about your brand and early careers more generally – both on your channels and others.

Top tip: Don't forget about non-traditional social media sites like Glassdoor – your prospects won't!

4. Take your own application

The average candidate spends 3-4 hours submitting a single application, while 70% of companies think it takes them less than an hour. On top of that, 60% of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity. We've talked before about how young people are under more pressure than ever, so make sure you're not adding to it with an excessively difficult or time-consuming application process. What better way to sense-check than by taking your application yourself?

If you want to get the best out of applicants, online-only, exam style applications might not actually be the best option. Instead, incorporate interviews in your selection process and ask attitude-based questions to get a better idea of the value candidates can bring to your business. Or, why not kill two birds with one stone and set up an immersive assessment experience where your team takes part?

Throughout your assessment process, make time for feedback and ensure your candidates know exactly what to expect at every stage. Ghosting candidates is never okay, but when dealing with school-leavers it can be especially damaging for their self-esteem and for your employer brand.

Top tip: 95% of teens have a smartphone or access to one, but fewer have access to a computer at home – particularly among lower-income families. So make sure your application is mobile-friendly!

5. Nail your onboarding process

You've reached out to disadvantaged young people, assessed them, and got hard-to-reach talent through the door. Think you're done? Think again. Onboarding is a newly-hired apprentice's first experience of your company, and a negative impression could be disastrous. In fact, people who have a negative onboarding experience are twice as likely to seek a different opportunity. For your business, that spells a lot of wasted time and effort – not to mention money.

Get your new apprentices excited and immersed in their new roles from day one by arming them with the tools, introductions and orientations they need to hit the ground running and start thriving. When it comes to young people entering the workforce for the first time, the pastoral element of onboarding is especially important. Create regular, dedicated time, along with proper support structures and processes, to care for their personal and emotional development, too.

Of course, who you hire says a lot about your employer brand, too. Seeking out socially diverse school-leavers for your apprenticeship programme helps push the envelope for diversity in your wider team – not only does it open doors to hard-to-reach talent who might not previously have considered (or been considered for) a career at your company, it also signals to other disadvantaged or underrepresented prospects (and customers) that you're an inclusive employer.

Plus, having a range of unique thinkers with different experiences and reference points on your team will generate invaluable insight into how to further leverage your employer brand and stay ahead of the competition.

At Visionpath, we help you elevate your apprentice-employer brand with end-to-end support – from outreach, to pipeline development, to onboarding and line manager training.

Want to find out more? Check out how we work with employers or get in touch.

Latest News

  • Gatehouse Apprentices177
    • May 16

    Hiring apprentices? Here's what to do (and the order to do it in)

    We're sharing the ideal timeline for hiring apprentices, and what…

    Continue Reading
  • Visionpath Mindshare91
    • Feb 11

    Early Careers in 2022: 3 Trends You Need to Know

    As we mark National Apprenticeship Week 2022, we look at…

    Continue Reading
  • Rise Graphic 01
    • Feb 08

    Careers with Emperor to help young people RISE

    Announcing our partnership with Emperor to unlock creative careers for…

    Continue Reading
  • Dark Logo (3)
    • Oct 25

    Unlocking Technology Careers with The Workshop

    We're excited to be launching our new programme with international…

    Continue Reading
  • The Bridge Square Logo Rsz3 (1)
    • Oct 11

    Moving the dial on social mobility with Osborne Clarke

    We're excited to announce our partnership with international law firm…

    Continue Reading
  • IMG 5915
    • Oct 31

    Gateway to success: Anisa’s mentoring story

    We find out first-hand how Gatehouse Bank’s mentoring scheme helped…

    Continue Reading
  • Picture1 (2)
    • Oct 24

    Gateway to success: Rohan’s mentoring story

    We find out first-hand how Gatehouse Bank’s mentoring scheme helped…

    Continue Reading
  • Picture2
    • Oct 08

    Talkin’ about a new generation: Getting to know Gen Z

    Key takeaways for brands looking to engage Gen Z, from…

    Continue Reading
  • Visionpath Mindshare 47
    • Sep 13

    Understanding the Gatsby Benchmarks: Experiences of Workplaces

    We unpick the sixth Gatsby Benchmark, explaining why it’s important…

    Continue Reading
  • Visionpath Mindshare 33
    • Sep 03

    Understanding the Gatsby Benchmarks: Addressing Needs & Personal Guidance

    We unpick the Gatsby Benchmarks, explaining why they’re important and…

    Continue Reading
  • Visionpath Mindshare 34
    • Aug 29

    Understanding the Gatsby Benchmarks: A Stable Careers Programme

    We unpick the first Gatsby Benchmark, explaining why it’s important…

    Continue Reading
  • HCUK For Web
    • Jul 10

    Changing the game for school-leavers with Hitachi Capital

    We're excited to announce our new partnership with Hitachi Capital…

    Continue Reading
  • Gatehouse Apprentices126
    • Mar 06

    Gateway to success: Alex’s apprenticeship story

    We hear from apprentices at Gatehouse Bank – who took…

    Continue Reading
  • Gatehouse Apprentices129
    • Feb 21

    Gateway to success: Riaz’s apprenticeship story

    We hear from apprentices at Gatehouse Bank – who took…

    Continue Reading
  • Gatehouse Apprentices15
    • Feb 15

    Gateway to success: Altan’s apprenticeship story

    We hear from apprentices at Gatehouse Bank – who took…

    Continue Reading
  • 030518PM10146
    • Dec 04

    My year as an apprentice

    Laurel, our Programme Assistant, has been with us on an…

    Continue Reading
  • Gatehouse Apprentices177
    • Sep 24

    Gatehouse Bank hire their first apprentices with Visionpath

    We're excited to see our client Gatehouse Bank welcome their…

    Continue Reading
  • Berenberg – panel interview
    • Aug 01

    Interviews: Top tips for success

    Interviews can be daunting, especially when you’ve never had one…

    Continue Reading
  • BlogImage1
    • Jun 14

    Revision – Top tips for your final exams

    Laurel, our resident apprentice at Visionpath, knows all too well…

    Continue Reading
  • Gatehouse Apprentices177
    • Feb 09

    How SMEs can get apprenticeships right first time

    Never offered apprenticeships before? Discover the top five tips all…

    Continue Reading
  • Mars – fun group photo
    • Feb 08

    Mars partners with Visionpath to transform early talent in the UK

    We’re partnering with Mars to hire 25 apprentices for roles…

    Continue Reading
  • Sienna Smith
    • Feb 08

    Walking the talk: Meet Sienna, Visionpath’s Apprentice Programmes Assistant

    Visionpath’s own apprentices share their journey so far – and…

    Continue Reading
  • Patrick Philpott
    • Feb 06

    Walking the talk: Visionpath’s Founder on hiring apprentices

    Visionpath’s Founder, Patrick, shares his experiences of hiring and managing…

    Continue Reading
  • Berenberg launch 2022
    • Feb 05

    3 reasons you should hire a socially diverse apprentice this year

    This National Apprenticeship Week we’re encouraging businesses large and small…

    Continue Reading
  • Sienna Smith
    • Dec 21

    Meet the team: Programmes Assistant, Sienna Smith

    Hear from a recent school-leaver about what motivates her –…

    Continue Reading
  • Berenberg – writing
    • Dec 18

    5 ways to prepare for an assessment centre

    From researching the business to planning your journey, making sure…

    Continue Reading
  • Berenberg – interview in chairs
    • Dec 04

    Everything you need to know about your Apprenticeship Levy

    Find out who pays an Apprenticeship Levy, why it exists…

    Continue Reading
  • Patrick Philpott
    • Oct 19

    Meet the team: Founder & CEO, Patrick Philpott

    Discover what inspired him to found Visionpath and why he…

    Continue Reading
  • Gamechangers Best Execution Bronze
    • Sep 26

    Apprenticeships at Novuna: Jess' experience

    We caught up with Jess, who was an apprentice at…

    Continue Reading
  • Visionpath13
    • Sep 18

    Meet the team: Advisor, Lawrie Berry

    One of Visionpath’s longest-standing allies explains what made him believe…

    Continue Reading
  • Visionpath1107
    • Sep 15

    Meet the team: Programme Support, Cíara Stokes

    Say hello to the person responsible for organising Visionpath programmes…

    Continue Reading
  • Berenberg – Joe
    • Sep 13

    5 reasons social mobility is good for business

    Want to discover untapped talent, elevate customer experience, build your…

    Continue Reading
  • Berenberg – talking
    • Sep 07

    How to increase social value in your ESG strategy

    Discover three key themes that contribute to impactful social value…

    Continue Reading
  • Berenberg – table chat
    • Aug 30

    Why you should be talking about social mobility and how to drive it in early careers

    How to address the taboo subject of class and three…

    Continue Reading
  • Berenberg – interview
    • Aug 14

    So, you've got your results: What next?

    Check out our three top tips for setting yourself up…

    Continue Reading
  • Chantell Small
    • May 19

    Meet the team: Talent Development Manager, Chantell Small

    Find out how Chantell’s own experiences of social inequality inspired…

    Continue Reading
  • Joe Bennett
    • Aug 31

    Meet the team: Head of Programmes, Joe Bennett

    A semi-pro footballer on why playing the game and seeing…

    Continue Reading
  • Luke Mindshare
    • Aug 30

    Apprenticeships at Mindshare: Luke’s experience

    We caught up with Luke, who was an apprentice at…

    Continue Reading
  • Elaine Channing
    • May 19

    Meet the team: Programme Coordinator, Elaine Channing

    Find out what attracted an HR expert to take her…

    Continue Reading
  • Khalil Akhtar
    • May 19

    Meet the team: Talent Programme Manager, Khalil Akhtar

    Find out what makes a former sales coach want to…

    Continue Reading
  • Hannah Clark
    • Feb 07

    Walking the talk: Meet Hannah, Visionpath’s Apprentice Team Assistant

    Visionpath’s own apprentices share their journey so far – and…

    Continue Reading
  • Visionpath Oct22 4796 (1)
    • Jan 27

    Grassroots to growth: How to create a level playing field for socially diverse talent

    Visionpath founder Patrick shares key insights for employers looking to…

    Continue Reading
  • Momentum 19
    • Dec 19

    Introducing ‘Momentum’: our social mobility partnership with Michelmores

    Find out how we’re teaming up with the UK law…

    Continue Reading
  • Berenberg launch 2022 (1)
    • Dec 19

    How Berenberg is helping move the dial on social diversity in finance

    Celebrating the second year of ‘Journey’: our social mobility partnership…

    Continue Reading
  • Ofcom Logo Header Fit
    • Oct 10

    Apprenticeships with Ofcom: Shaping the future of communications

    Our partnership with the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom, is proof…

    Continue Reading
  • Visionpath Mindshare70
    • Oct 04

    5 onboarding mistakes to avoid at all costs

    Not bothering with an onboarding plan? There’s your first mistake.

    Continue Reading
  • 142008547
    • Sep 26

    6 ways to get results from your in-person school outreach

    Having led hundreds of in-person sessions with young people, our…

    Continue Reading
  • Visionpath Mindshare 58
    • Sep 12

    How drawing on lived experience can help you eradicate social inequality

    The first step towards positive change is acknowledging and understanding…

    Continue Reading
  • Visionpath Mindshare47
    • Aug 31

    Why advertising a "competitive salary" is damaging for diversity

    It’s an age-old trick in recruitment. But failing to disclose…

    Continue Reading
  • Gamechangers Best Execution Bronze
    • Aug 04

    Novuna and Visionpath win Best Apprentice Development Programme

    Our apprentice programme with Novuna (previously Hitachi Capital) gains recognition…

    Continue Reading