School leavers: The untapped talent

Now’s the time

This summer around one million students will be collecting their GCSE or A’ Level results. Right now, they are considering their options. Should they go to uni? Should they go through clearing? Should they go on a gap year? Should they get work experience or find a job? School and college leavers flooding the recruitment market right now present businesses with an excellent opportunity to recruit new talent.

But why recruit young people? Younger employees tend to be more motivated, engaged and more loyal. They inject a fresh perspective and embrace new ways of working. They live and breathe the digital age. They have the enthusiasm to do a good job and will be keen to learn. Young people are also a great way to support growth and talent development plans. Have you thought about role succession in your business? What happens if your most trusted, valued employee leaves out of the blue? What can you do to ease that potential risk?

Socially responsible business

Youth recruitment can play a critical role in CSR strategies, which are becoming more and more important to demonstrate within business tenders and contracts, and to the wider consumer market. Proving your business is a socially responsible one, through a commitment to local communities, giving back and leading the way in developing the skilled workforce of the future can have an extremely powerful impact.

It’s likely that businesses with a youth recruitment strategy are already finding ways of reaching out to school leavers. However, if you don’t have one in place, there’s no reason why your organisation can’t benefit from employing young team members too; so long as you get started and post your vacancies now.

Rise of the apprenticeship

If you’re interested in recruiting young people into your business and offering them an opportunity to grow their career but aren’t sure where to start with supporting them, it might be time to consider apprenticeships. Apprenticeship programmes offer businesses a pre-prepared structure for teaching and learning, supporting employees to develop an array of the role-relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours that they need to grow successfully in their careers. Of course, line managers and colleagues will need to input and provide feedback day-to-day but an apprenticeship, and the assigned trainer, will guide everyone through a young person’s development, the milestones they need to reach or any changes of behaviour they need to implement, in order for them to succeed in their role, company and wider industry sector.


"Three million more apprenticeships by 2020 means three million more life-changing opportunities for people of all backgrounds and all ages around the country.”

– Robert Halfon, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister


The government has made significant reforms to the way in which apprenticeships work, encompassing both the way they are delivered and the way they are funded. Businesses with 49 or fewer employees and with a salary bill of less than £3 million can benefit from fully-funded training for 16 to 18-year-old apprentices. For new recruits over the age of 18, businesses will be expected to contribute 10% of the overall training expenses. For businesses with a pay bill of less than £3 million but who have 50 employees or more government has stipulated a 10% contribution to training costs across the board. Incentives are available including a £1000 employer cash incentive for every 16 to 18-year-old apprentice and national insurance savings for 21 to 24-year-olds. Private training providers, like Lifetime Training, or HMRC and Gov.UK, are all great sources of information on the steps one might take to recruit or train an existing apprentice.

Now is the time to take advantage of the significant pool of youth talent currently on the jobseeker market. The advice is to advertise your vacancies, whether as part of an apprenticeship programme or otherwise, before these talented individuals are snapped up by competitors.

Article by George Dee, Apprentice Recruitment Manager at Lifetime Training


Post an apprentice vacancy with Lifetime now.




  • Almost 90% of apprenticeship employers who hope to achieve business benefits say apprenticeships deliver.
    • 75% of these employers report that apprenticeships have helped their business improve the quality of their product or service.
  • After finishing, 77% of apprentices stay with the same employer.


*Source: Skills Funding Agency, Key Facts about Apprenticeships, February 2017

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