On Wednesday 30th October, WhiteHat and Bond co-hosted a breakfast panel and networking event exploring how apprenticeships can be used to improve diversity and increase retention across the charity sector through entry-level hiring and the upskilling of current staff.

The room was packed with HR and L&D professionals within the nonprofit sector looking to find out more about how apprenticeships can increase diversity at entry-level and upskill existing employees.

Launching the partnership between Bond and WhiteHat, colleagues spoke alongside passionate HR professionals and inspiring current apprentices from UNICEF and ActionAid.

If you couldn’t make it - here are the top 5 takeaways from the event.

1. How does hiring an apprentice, or starting an apprenticeship, impact you and your team?

Andrea Metcalf, who has hired two apprentices at ActionAid, believes there is huge value for bringing in individuals who are hungry to learn and bring diversity of thought to the team. They not only had a huge impact on the team dynamic, but left other team members feeling inspired and motivated to look at their own learning & development. Plus, hiring an apprentice is an amazing opportunity to develop team members through first-line management experience.

For existing employees who have started an apprenticeship, Christine, a data apprentice at ActionAid explained that an important change was her need to be more flexible with her working style.

2. How much do you need in your levy pot to hire an apprentice?

Depending on the qualification, the amount of money you’ll need will vary.

If you don’t have enough in your pot? The government covers 95% of any overspend which means you would only need to spend 5% of the overspend commercially.

And, if you don’t have the levy? We are working closely with corporate clients who are willing to donate levy funds to charity, making the training free of charge for you. And, because we understand charities have strict rules and will need to screen company's background before anything is donated, WhiteHat will provide support to ensure a smooth process.

3. How does WhiteHat attract diverse candidates?

WhiteHat’s educational engagement team works across Greater London to inspire and inform young people, their parents/carers and the professionals in their lives about the amazing opportunity the apprenticeship route offers. The team includes 50 Apprentice Ambassadors who are trained in educational & community engagement. They act as role models delivering a variety of workshops in schools and community settings. This is incredibly impactful both for the apprentices developing their public speaking skills and the young people receiving the workshops too, as our apprentices are truly relatable and reflective of the young people they aim to inspire.

Since January 2019, WhiteHat’s educational engagement team have interacted with over 5,000 young people, parents, teachers and other professionals supporting young people.

4. How can WhiteHat ensure new hires are aligned with your business and values?

WhiteHat delivers apprenticeships through a combination of excellent coaches, brilliant content and applied learning. Whilst the apprenticeship has been developed to ensure the apprenticeship standards are met, the applied nature of the programme means that the approach is bespoke to your organisation with coaching and support tailored to your values throughout the whole programme.

5. How do we support apprentices in managing the  20% off-the-job training?

As an apprentice, part of the qualification is 20% off-the-job training.

There are often a lot of misconceptions about 20% off-the-job training, what counts towards off-the-job training and when it needs to be undertaken.

In fact, off-the-job training can include anything from coach visits to deliver on-programme learning, practical training such as mentoring or shadowing another team, or wider reading and online learning and can be carried out in whatever way works for the apprentice and their line manager.

As a line manager, it is important to make sure the apprentice has enough free time during the week to work on the 20% off-the-job training. Support, understanding and flexibility are key criteria to ensure the success of the apprenticeship.

Through our learning platform Appli.ed, line managers and coaches are able to follow the progress of the apprentice’s 20% off-the-job training so that they can support the apprentice accordingly.

We will be running regular cohorts for charities every quarter with the courses chosen to be demand-driven, starting with Data Fellowship and Business Associate programmes. Get in touch with daniel.wardle@whitehat.org.uk to find out more.