Diversity In Apprenticeship Programmes: An Employers Guide

Written by Nicola Wylie

Businesses all over the world are embracing the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This is especially the case for employers who offer apprenticeships. By prioritising inclusion and diversity in apprenticeship programmes, employers are not only helping to create a more equitable and just society, but they’re also reaping the benefits of a more diverse and talented pool of apprentices.

This blog post aims to explore the importance of diversity in apprenticeship programmes and to provide practical tips and strategies for employers to implement these initiatives.

By the end of this post, employers will better understand the benefits of diversity in apprenticeship programmes and the actionable steps they can take to promote diversity and inclusion.


The Benefits of Diversity in Apprenticeship Programmes

Diversity and inclusion are beneficial to both apprentices and employers alike. Some of the key benefits include:

Improved creativity and innovation

The more diverse your teams are, the greater the variety of perspectives and experiences that are brought to the table. This leads to more creative problem-solving and innovation.

Better decision-making

Studies have shown that diverse teams make better decisions than homogeneous teams. A more diverse team of employees is more likely to consider a wide range of viewpoints and potential outcomes, thus leading to better decision-making.

Higher employee engagement

Employees who feel valued and included are more likely to be engaged in their work and become loyal staff members.

Greater customer base

A diverse workforce can help companies better understand and connect with a wider range of customers, ultimately leading to increased sales and profitability.

Better reputation

Customers look more favourably upon companies that prioritise diversity and inclusion. In fact, a study by McKinsey & Company found that companies with diverse workforces are more likely to outperform their less diverse counterparts. This same study also found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry average.

This emphasises the significance of promoting diversity and inclusion in apprenticeships, leading to a positive impact for both apprentices and employers.


Understanding Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are essential in creating a welcoming and supportive work environment for all employees. Let’s take a closer look at what these terms mean and why they’re important.


Diversity refers to the differences between individuals, including but not limited to race, gender, age, disability, religion, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation. By embracing diversity, you are recognising and valuing these differences, thus creating a workplace where everyone feels respected and included.


Inclusion is the act of creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. This means creating a workplace where diverse perspectives are welcomed and valued, and where everyone has equal opportunities to participate and succeed.

Promoting diversity and inclusion is important as it creates a more equitable and just workplace, leading to a more engaged and productive workforce. However, it also comes with challenges, like discrimination and bias towards different groups. For example, individuals from underrepresented groups may face barriers to employment, such as a lack of access to education or training. They may also face unconscious bias from hiring managers, who may be more likely to hire candidates who are similar to themselves.

By being aware of these challenges and taking steps to address them, employers can ensure that they’re promoting diversity in their apprenticeship programmes.


How to Promote Diversity in Apprenticeship Programmes

We’ve compiled a list of actionable steps that employers can implement to foster diversity in their apprenticeship programmes:

1. Inclusive job postings

Job postings should use inclusive language and avoid any biased wording that might discourage candidates from diverse backgrounds.

2. Equal opportunities

Employers should offer equal opportunities for all candidates to apply for apprenticeships. This could include outreach to underrepresented communities and creating partnerships with community organisations.

3. Diverse hiring panels

A diverse hiring panel will help to ensure that the hiring process is free from unconscious bias, providing a fair assessment of all candidates.

4. Mentorship and support programmes

Employers can offer mentorship and support programmes for apprentices from underrepresented groups. These programmes can help apprentices succeed and advance in their careers.


Many companies have successfully implemented these strategies. For example, Microsoft implemented LEAP (Learning, Engagement, and Advancement Programme), which is designed to promote diversity and inclusion in its apprenticeship programmes. It not only provides apprentices with mentorship, training, and networking opportunities, but has also helped to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in Microsoft’s apprenticeship programmes.

Another success story is that of PwC, which has created a programme called Access Your Potential. It’s also aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion in its apprenticeship programmes by providing mentorship and training opportunities. As well as that, they have partnered with local community organisations to recruit candidates from underrepresented groups.


Overcoming Challenges and Avoiding Pitfalls

Promoting diversity in apprenticeship programmes can come with its own set of challenges. For instance, changes to the programme may be met with resistance from existing employees. You may also struggle to find diverse candidates during the application process. Nevertheless, there are steps that employers can take to overcome these challenges and avoid common pitfalls.

We’ll begin with education. Providing education and training on diversity and inclusion for all employees can help create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace culture. It will help to ensure that all employees understand the importance of diversity in apprenticeship programmes.

Secondly, leaders should be held accountable for promoting diversity and inclusion. This can help to guarantee that the programme remains a priority, while also addressing any barriers or challenges that may arise.

Finally, there must be continual assessment and revision of apprenticeship programmes to ensure they remain inclusive and accessible to all candidates. There are numerous ways employers can do this, including:

  • requesting feedback from apprentices and candidates
  • monitoring hiring and promotion patterns
  • frequently revisiting programme policies and practices to ensure they’re aligned with diversity and inclusion goals

By addressing these challenges and taking proactive steps to promote diversity in their apprenticeship programmes, employers can help ensure that their programmes are more effective, equitable, and supportive for all candidates.


Key Takeaways: Diversity in Apprenticeship Programmes

As we’ve seen, promoting diversity in apprenticeship programmes is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also good for your bottom line. By creating more equitable and inclusive apprenticeship programmes, employers can improve employee engagement and productivity while helping to ensure that their workforce better reflects the communities that they serve.

We encourage employers to take action and implement these strategies in their own apprenticeship programmes. Doing so has benefits for both their apprentices and the organisation as a whole. Head over to our sister site, Aspiring to Include, for more information on diversity and inclusion in your workplace.

Here at Employing an Apprentice, we offer support and guidance for employers in a whole range of areas. These include a range of topics, such as the benefits of employing an apprentice, how to access funding, finding a training provider, End Point Assessments, and much more.

If you’re ready to employ an apprentice, take action now by advertising your vacancy on our specialised apprenticeship jobs board today. Browse our services for employers section for more.

Finally, feel free to reach out to our team if you have any queries, we’d be more than happy to help.

Share This Story!

Last Updated: Thursday March 30 2023
Go to Top