Apprenticeships could compensate for a likely IT talent drain from public services as the private sector benefits from a recovering economy and the public sector endures continuing austerity.
‘Apprenticeships: a solution to staffing issues?’ the latest briefing from Socitm, says that talented personnel shifting from the public to private sectors in search of better pay and prospects present a looming problem for the sector. Public service employers in south east England, it says, are already reporting severe competition from the finance sector in London.
The briefing describes the The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), launched in April 2009, and its offering for ICT, which splits the discipline into ‘knowing how it works’ and ‘knowing how to use it’.
Although there are significant costs to employers, apprenticeships can deliver talented personnel with appropriate knowledge and skills. The briefing describes employer responsibilities and how apprenticeships are usually delivered in partnership with training providers.
Research for Socitm’s IT Trends suggests that IT workforce planning, within which adopting an apprenticeship scheme would sit, is not on the agendas of most local public services. Only 15% of respondents were able to say workforce planning was either ‘developed’ or ‘highly developed’ within their organisation.
Anecdotal evidence gathered in preparing the briefing suggests that few public sector organisations have adopted apprenticeships as yet, but many are thinking about it.
Socitm is encouraging adoption, as a low-risk strategy that could deliver significant future benefits as the commercial world soaks up talented ICT people.