Is it not interesting how apprenticeships are generally few in Zimbabwe? You typically find them in engineering fields, for the most part. Should this be the case or apprenticeships should become more commonplace in Zimbabwe? Lately, I was reflecting on this and figured this is an interesting and important subject to discuss. What is an apprenticeship? An apprenticeship is a system by which a person learning a craft or trade is instructed by a master for a set time under set conditions. Businesses or startups can benefit from offering apprenticeships.

Attracting Top Talent (Committed To Deliver)

Undergoing an apprenticeship normally comes with alluring perks. These can be things like salaries, allowances, benefits, and the like. Plus of course, there is this core opportunity to learn from the best under top-notch conditions. All of this attracts top talent to apply to be considered for the apprenticeship. Once engaged these are individuals that will generally be wired to deliver. This ultimately will unlock so much value for your enterprise. That is why you should consider offering apprenticeships. Imagine having the combo of top talent who are committed to producing quality results. Let us suppose there are two enterprises, one offering apprenticeships and the other not. It is most likely that applicants will consider the former more than the latter. So if you want to build a system that attracts top talent, start offering apprenticeships.

Cost Of Acquisition For Apprenticeships Is Generally Much Lower

Studies have shown that the return on investment in offering apprenticeships is extremely high. This is, in part, because of how much lower the costs are in hiring apprentices. Hiring experienced staff is more expensive and tasking as well. One, finding them can be a tall order especially given the skills shortage rampant in most contexts. Then you would need very attractive packages to appeal to such experienced folk. All of this entails more costs as opposed to apprenticeships. You could be paying an apprentice less than a permanent, experienced employee, but that would be a big deal for them. Someone who essentially wants to be taught is not so hung up on how much they get. That is why the cost of acquisition for an apprentice is generally much lower.

Increases Likelihood Of Getting Funding – From Government, Investors, Or Donors

The need for skilled human capital is high the world over. There were lots of disruptions that shook the job and skills market. That is why countless efforts are being pursued to build the human capital hub. As a business, if you start an apprenticeship programme, you are most likely to attract interest. Entities like government, investors, or donors can become interested in offering financial or material support. This is because they know apprenticeships produce solid human capital. Even in cases where you are actively looking for funding, offering apprenticeships can make your enterprise more attractive. It generally sets you apart because not many enterprises might be doing the same.

Creates Room For Creativity And Innovation (Much Needed For Business Or Startup Growth)

Competition amongst startups or businesses these days is gruesome. You need to figure out ways to innovate to stand out from the rest. By starting an apprenticeship programme you create an ecosystem that encourages and rewards creativity and innovation. An apprentice, by nature, seeks to prove their worth, capacity, and capabilities. That is why you find that apprentices are more likely to come up with new and better ways of doing things. By having an apprenticeship programme you enhance your capacity to innovate as a brand. The potential domiciled within people (i.e. the apprentices) gets to be significantly appropriated.

Brand Image Boost Leading To Revenue Growth And Increased Profitability

Some of the talking points I covered point to this in a way. For example, attracting top talent and getting funding or support are functions of a boosted brand image. The other aspect pertains to how apprenticeship programmes attract more customers. Being an enterprise that offers apprenticeships boosts your brand image. This creates a perception of value (in what you offer) in the eyes of existing and prospective customers. The outcome is that you will enjoy more revenue and more profits.

My wish is for Zimbabwean enterprises to consider offering apprenticeships. I believe that will give birth to competent human capital. One of the great things about this is that it is symbiotic. The trainees get to acquire solid skills, knowledge, and experience. Then the employers (or trainers) benefit from the value those trainees create both during and after. Just musing on this there are so many ideas that come to mind on how businesses can roll out apprenticeships. I challenge Zimbabwean enterprises to closely look at this potentially game-changing initiative.