How Gen Z is shaping the apprenticeships of tomorrow

5 Minutes

Generation Z is knocking on the door of the business world as they start their first jobs. They’re undoubtedly the future of companies across the world, but how much do you know about them, and how are they going to affect how we train our staff in future?

Tech-savvy and brought up with a mobile device in their hands, this generation is unlike any we’ve seen before. Just as they prepare themselves for the world of work, as businesses, we need to prepare ourselves for them. Understanding what Gen Z wants and how they think is essential to bringing them into your business and setting your business up with a workforce for the future. So could apprenticeships be the way forward for future generations?

Who are Gen Z?

The oldest section of this cohort were born in 1996 and are taking their initial steps out of school and university, likely into their first full-time job. With Google at their fingertips ever since they could walk, the world of digital is their playground. They’re informed, outspoken and independent, making them a totally new challenge for businesses.

The way they see the world is very different to previous generations, so you need to ensure you’re communicating with them in just the right way. To really engage with this savvy generation you need to go for the bespoke angle, to prove to them that you know who they are and what they want.

To tap into the thoughts and values of Gen Z, Pareto undertook a survey to draw insight from Gen Z  about their attitude to the workplace. We found that they’re determined to get to the top, and a business who can help them on their way to achieving their career aspirations will have an edge. A resounding 70% of Gen Z respondents said that learning and on the job training is the most important workplace aspect to them. This ambitious group are also looking aiming high, with 56% of the group looking for fast career progression.

What we can gather from this is that Gen Z are thinking about their career trajectory and want to work for businesses that can offer them progression. An apprenticeship is an excellent option to attract this determined cohort. It offers training and advancement and has captured the imagination of Gen Z. A substantial 63% believe they can create a successful career from on-the-job training courses and another quarter are (24%) considering an apprenticeship, so it appears Gen Z are taking apprenticeship opportunities seriously.


How to make your business Gen Z friendly

To get the very best of Gen Z, you need to first attract them to your company, then harness their skills whilst meeting their expectations by offering progression opportunities; ideally through apprenticeships and on-the-job training.

With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017, these courses are being viewed in an entirely different way. The new focus on training and qualifications will make them extremely attractive to young Gen Z applicants. What’s more, by learning on the job rather than in a classroom, training for soft skills can take place in a live business context.

Make sure your apprenticeships are attractive to Gen Z and future new talent with these tips.

Include less menial or routine work – develop programmes with greater cognitive or creative project work. Increased automation will mean many traditional jobs centered around data entry and routine will be made redundant anyway, so choose your apprenticeship courses carefully and give your Gen Z staff a challenge from day one.


Allow apprentices to take control of their own project – even a small venture will allow your staff to put into practice the higher level skills they’ve learnt with advanced apprenticeships.


Adapt to emerging technologies – internally and externally, this is key. Gen Z, like millennials, are an always-connected generation, so being able to communicate with them on this level will not only help retain them in the long run, but also make your business forward-thinking and tech savvy in an increasingly competitive world.


Close collaboration – in past decades, new starters were considered the bottom of the rung, with no access to the top team. Pairing more junior colleagues with senior staff will not only develop their skills, but allow more experienced staff to get new eyes on existing challenges.


Keep it flexible – Gen Z prefer a multidisciplinary focus to their work. Opportunities for training, working abroad and other day-to-day benefits such as flexible working will go a long way to attracting and keeping staff.


To catch the eye of Gen Z, you need to meet their dreams and expectations of the working world and that means offering them the ability to learn and grow professionally. So reshape and re-imagine your apprenticeship offering with your Gen Z applicants in mind. When you adopt a similar approach and attitude to their careers, you’ll create something they’ll want to engage with and stay with.

Get a head start on the future and prepare to re-shape your apprenticeship offering to get the very best from this exciting new generation. Contact Pareto today to see how you can attract and retain the next wave of talent or browse our apprenticeship courses to see what they can bring to your business.


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