I’ve blogged before on the problems faced by students in the current economic conditions, and focused on the importance of developing graduate resilience. We know that, with the increased competition for jobs, employers can afford to be ‘picky’ and look for more than just a degree grade. This can make it very difficult for individuals entering into employment, and graduates need to be able to stand out from the crowd in order to get their dream role.

However, it isn’t only graduates suffering in these tough times. In a recent article, for example, it was revealed that the number of apprenticeships for young people has fallen. Official statistics have suggested that in the third quarter of 2012, the number of under-19s starting such schemes fell to 22,200, despite the high youth unemployment that we are currently seeing, and government efforts to encourage subsidised in-work training.

The main reason behind this decrease is said to be a lack of demand from employers which is further exacerbated by a policy to raise apprenticeship standards. It was also suggested that, with the growth in university attendance, employers are making the assumption that young people opting to go down the apprenticeship route instead are likely to be low-achieving, or below average in terms of personal qualities.

With this in mind, the importance of resilience is just as significant for those coming out of school as it is for graduates and, if a student is able to develop this trait, they will hugely benefit. This is because resilience allows individuals to be better adapted to cope with setbacks that they are likely to face when searching for an apprenticeship. In turn, as their resilience develops, they will possess the qualities that employers are looking for, such as a constructive work attitude, lower levels of stress and absenteeism and higher performance, and so will be more likely to gain and hold onto an apprenticeship.

It’s up to HR teams to recognise the importance of resilience, and highlight the benefits to employers. In order to ensure that you don’t miss out on key talent, the perception that those choosing not to go to university are low-achieving needs to be altered.

As your business develops in response to external demands, for example, roles will change and it can be difficult to predict the skills needed in the long term.  They can be built over time though as required, whereas core personality traits of an individual will always be fundamental. And while our economic future may be uncertain, what is clear is that we need staff who are able to adapt to changes, and this is where resilient employees will really shine.



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