Apprentices who want to learn more than the “nuts and bolts” skills they need to do their jobs are now being offered a chance to hone their business sense.
Employers can enrol forward-thinking apprentices, who may grow into becoming the next generation of managers, onto an online course in entrepreneurship.
Promoted by CW Growth Hub Business Solutions, part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) the course is the brainchild of Darin Tudor, former Entrepreneur in Residence at Coventry University.
The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit guides learners through every step of establishing a business, from initial assessment of markets through to eventual sale and exit, leading to a Level 4 qualification for those who successfully complete it.
Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular, with nearly two-thirds of 11-16 year-olds expressing an interest in pursuing one, while employers are recognising that growing their own talent is a way to future proof their businesses.
Jeremy Moore, head of Business Solutions, said: “Employers are looking to make their apprenticeships attractive so they can recruit the best people, those who will grow with the business.
“They want apprentices to acquire a good commercial sense alongside their technical skills, because then they will better understand the business and help to secure its future.
“From the apprentices’ point of view, gaining that wider insight will help them see where their contribution fits into the business and will reassure them that their employers are taking their careers and futures seriously.”
The interactive course covers how to assess risks and rewards, draw up a business plan, choose investors, set up manufacturing, conduct sales and marketing, consider pipeline and cash flow, all the aspects that are vital to business success.
Some of the world’s most highly successful entrepreneurs feature in video clips offering advice and apprentices can study the course at their own pace, making it easy to combine with their other training.
While the number of apprenticeship starts fell after the Government brought in the apprenticeship levy, as employers got to grips with the new approach, in recent months they have started to rise again.
A survey for education charity the Sutton Trust last year showed that 64% of 11-16-year-olds said they would be ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ interested in becoming an apprentice, compared with only 55% in a similar survey four years previously.