Can I Recruit an Apprentice During COVID-19?

Written by Calvin Bowers

Employers in the UK can still recruit apprentices during the coronavirus outbreak, however, they must follow all the official social-distancing guidelines throughout the recruitment process. This is certainly possible, shown by how tens of thousands of new employees were hired in the retail sector alone during the first month of lockdown to help with the increased labour demands associated with implementing social distancing.

In order to achieve this, you should set up different avenues for interviewing a candidate. Given that different individuals will have varying levels of access to certain technology, you should try make sure that you are flexible in terms of whether the interviews can be done by phone or through a video call, but also in terms of timing. If a candidate cannot access the required technology, offer an alternative route for carrying out the interview.

One essential tip for creating a new hiring method is to test it before going live. Technology is the future of most industries, but it can be infuriating if you haven’t taken the time to understand how to use it. The unprecedented situation is stressful enough, so make sure you prevent any potential future anxiety for your staff by giving them the time to test out the process ahead of time. This will make it is as smoothness as possible come the time for beginning recruitment.

Some employers have worried about the impact of digital interviewing on the quality of interviews. However, most employers have reported being surprised with how professional interviewees have been, even when the candidate has been young. This is one of the benefits of hiring a young person, as they are more likely to be able to operate technology.

A lot of businesses have adapted their recruitment process so that smaller batches of potential recruits are interviewed at one time. This ensures the potential for a safer environment for both the candidates and your current staff, as their is more space to retain social distancing.

In preparation for the actual apprenticeship, try and discuss with your training provider as to how you could make the training as remote as possible, whilst ensuring that the apprentice is getting all the necessary guidance. Luckily, with most young people being very technologically literate, you can be confident that the transition to digital or remote working as being less difficult than you may first fear. On this point, it may be useful to take into account a candidates ability to work remotely and adapt to using technology in their job when considering their recruitment as an apprentice.

Inevitably, there will be some learning opportunities that are not possible until the lifting of restrictions. Luckily, apprentices are now very flexible to ensure that every candidate completes the apprenticeship at the right pace for them. This means that you just have to make your apprentice aware that it will likely take longer to complete the apprenticeship, given the circumstances.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for hiring throughout coronavirus has actually been that candidates assume businesses are no longer looking to take on apprentices. So, even if you are looking to have a postponed start, one of the best things you can do is take to social media and spread far and wide that you are still moving forward. In times like these, it will do wonders for you company image if the public knows that you are still looking to help young people reach their future potential. If your social media doesn’t have the desired reach, you can ask your current staff to help spread the word.

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Last Updated: Wednesday May 25 2022
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