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Starbucks higher apprenticeship programme is a step in the right direction

The coffee chain are giving apprentices more opportunities to progress within the business.

Safeera Sarjoo
28th June 2016
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One major hurdle when it comes to apprenticeship uptake has been the lack of higher apprenticeships that are available, which feeds into the idea that there is limited success to be attained when taking an apprenticeship. However the good news is there are efforts being made by businesses like Starbucks who have introduced higher and degree level apprenticeships including management and leadership roles.

Carol Muldoon, vice president for partner resources at Starbucks said: ‘We are really proud of our Apprentices – they have really inspired many partners and leaders in our business and we have grown our offer because of them. With this expansion we want to be an employer of choice for apprenticeships and youth opportunity. We aim to offer more than 20 different Apprenticeship Frameworks, supporting another 1,000 young people into our business by 2020.

‘With the new Higher Apprenticeships we are delighted to offer our partners more opportunity to demonstrate their skills and to realise their ambitions.

‘We are passionate about the true potential for apprenticeships and the young people working for Starbucks are testimony to this.’ 

This is breath of fresh air considering a recent YouGov survey, which found that only 7% of students planned to do an apprenticeship.

The purpose of the survey was to find out how apprenticeships are viewed by three groups; UK employers, secondary students aged 13 – 18 and their parents.

Whilst we were in shock about the lack of uptake by students, we were further concerned that only 27% of parents believed an apprenticeship was the right type of programme for their children.

When questioned, only 32% of SMEs said they had heard of higher or degree level apprenticeships. Meanwhile just less than half (46%) of larger corporations had heard of these programmes.

The study interestingly pointed out a North-South divide. It appeared that university degrees were still favoured over work based learning programmes in the South, whereas the North had a more positive attitude towards apprenticeships.

What’s worrying is the lack of interest students currently have in pursuing an apprenticeship route. The negative stigma around apprenticeships can be detrimental to the number of uptakes; however students could simply be unaware of the opportunities they can get from taking this type of programme too.

We know that the government have been making head way in encouraging businesses to create a number of apprenticeship opportunities and have even launched the ‘Get In, Go Far’ campaign, which stars top apprentices who landed work in major firms like IBM and JCB. We think time being put into this marketing strategy is great and it’s also an effective way to show students and parents how far you can get by taking an alternative educational route.  

We should be promoting and celebrating these success stories and showing students at career fairs and in schools, as well as their parents, that apprenticeships hold great promise for those who opt for this route.

At the same time though, businesses need to make more of a conscious effort to educate themselves on the different levels of apprenticeships available and how this could tie in with their own organisations.

Starbucks has seen results with their apprenticeship programme. Since its launch in spring 2012, one in five apprentices have achieved a promotion including supervisor and store manager positions and 80% of young people who started a Starbucks apprenticeship completed their full Diploma and remained in the business.

Now with the inclusion of leadership roles, the company will be able to provide further support to individuals who wish to progress beyond retail and into head office.

The only way to change perceptions is to start talking about the success stories, the opportunities and the advantages of taking an apprenticeship. We can’t think of anything better than earning as you work.

As long as businesses can pledge and prove there is progression with their apprenticeship programs, the more trust students and parents will have in their security and ability to provide an education just as good as a university.


If you think you want to see what opportunities an apprenticeship can bring you, why not start your search on Training and Courses today?



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