How Running Quality Apprenticeships Can Win You Tenders

May 30, 2021Bid Writing, General, SME Champions, Social Value, Tender Writing

Ensuring that you deliver high-quality apprenticeships is important. It makes sense for you as a business to ensure that your apprentices get well trained and integrated into the company so that they go on to have a career with you. It also makes sense in terms of recruiting apprentices – if you’re known for delivering a great apprentice experience, then you won’t struggle to fill your vacancies.

Beyond that, apprenticeships are often required as part of the social value offering for a bid or tender. Local authorities look to use their spending power to deliver economic growth in their area by requiring companies to take on local apprenticeships. But if you and the competition are both offering the same number of apprenticeships, how can you make your offer stand out? It comes down to quality.

Why Apprenticeships

It’s helpful to understand why local authorities and other organisations are making apprenticeships a priority. The number of young people who are not in employment, education or training (called NEETs) was steadily increasing before the pandemic but has risen sharply as a result of it. We have a generation of young people who are leaving school or graduating at a time when recruitment is slow as companies begin to bring staff back from furlough and businesses return to a new normal.

Ensuring that local young people can access quality apprenticeships is a key part of a local authority’s strategy to support the people living locally. It improves the quality of life of young people and their families and ensure that the benefits of the money they spend on the contract remains in the area.

Running Quality Apprenticeships

How do you stand out in your tender response as an apprentice provider? The key is to ensure that your apprenticeship is offering the best experience for the individual you take on, and that you understand the priorities for the local area. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Apprentices aren’t just for the young. While NEETs tend to be the focus of apprenticeship offers, if the area you are working in has a higher level of long-term unemployment, then it can be useful to open apprenticeships up to older candidates who want the opportunity to retrain.
  2. Offer a variety of roles. For example, if you’re a construction company the obvious thing to do is take on a trade apprentice, but you could also widen your offer to include management, quantity surveying, or head-office based roles like business administration. This has the added benefit of allowing you to appeal to a more diverse range of candidates with the benefits that brings to your business.
  3. quality apprenticeshipsThink about where you advertise vacancies. Are there things you can do to reach out to under-represented groups? Women into Construction CIC allow members of list vacancies to interest applicants, but reaching out to local community and faith groups can be a great way to reach those furthest from the jobs market. Recruiting former armed forces personnel or ex-offenders can also help you stand out.
  4. Choose your trainer with care. In addition to looking for a high-quality apprenticeships trainer, also consider how the apprentice is going to receive that training. If they are going to college, which one? Choosing one that is close to their home makes it easier for them to attend.
  5. Assign a mentor. For many young people, an apprenticeship is their first job, and they will have an adjustment to make to working life alongside learning new skills. Having a contact at work who is there to support them can help tremendously. A good candidate might be a former apprentice or another worker who isn’t a ‘boss’ that they can speak their mind to.
  6. Stay in touch with their learning. Make sure that the skills they are gaining through work are relevant to what they are studying by coordinating with the learning provider. If they are starting to slip in terms of workload or attendance at college, then step in to ask if you can help.
  7. As their apprenticeship comes to an end, check in with them to see if they want to stay within your company or not. If they don’t, ask your HR team to give them some support in terms of CV writing and interview skills. Support them by seeking a role for them in your supply chain.
  8. Training doesn’t end with the apprenticeship. If your apprentices do stay on with you, then make sure that they have a training plan and a career path that supports them to achieve what they want to going forward.

Social Value Responses

Doing all these things isn’t just practice, it also helps you to write better tender responses. Rather than simply agreeing to offer X number of apprentices as part of a contract win, you are able to talk about the detail of your program. You can use examples that are drawn from life to illustrate or quote statistics about the number of successful apprentices you’ve trained and how many of them are continuing to work in your company. All of this can help make the difference between a bid that is just compliant, and one that truly stands out as understanding and addressing the needs of the client.

If you need more support with your social value offer, we can help. We have supported a number of companies to define and develop winning social value portfolios that fit their values and win them bids. Make an appointment today to find out more.

Adrian Corcoran

Adrian Corcoran is Managing Director and Founder of Bid for Success. Passionate about working with great businesses to win them new work, she and the Bid for Success team are here to help you with your bidding and work winning needs.


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