Hiring in the manufacturing sector remains an especially critical issue among senior managers, and the number of options in response seem limited. For whatever the reasons, there is an unprecedented number of people still not engaged in the workforce, which does not help the hiring situation. Many of those individuals would likely be considered unskilled labor. Calls for more skilled workers leads to discussions about apprenticeships, since these initiatives involve partnerships between employers with needs and training institutions, such as community colleges, with the distinct mission of preparing individuals ready to take on skilled positions.
Apprenticeships offer much hope, given that most job openings now require some training and experience in a trade. Simply being a person who can lift, follow simple directions, or assist others does not add the same value as a person who has participated in an apprenticeship program. However, some nagging issues related to apprenticeships remain, including the following:
Most employers support apprenticeships in principle, but are often less enamored from the results they get in terms of the abilities of apprentices, making them wary to fully engage in a program.
Related to this, apprentices typically have sound general skills suitable for the manufacturing and production environment, but they lack the specific skills required by the employer, and employers don’t always have the resources internally to make up the deficit.
Some apprenticeships programs focus more on time than on competencies, making the preparation period take longer than what many managers believe necessary.
Addressing issues related to hiring skilled employees require a broad set of actions. Yet, there’s growing evidence that SiTUATE, the platform that is the digital version of structured on-the-job training (S-OJT), addresses some of the more pressing issues, such as preparing task-relevant training guides, delivering skills-based training even when the trainer and trainee may be in separate locations, and perhaps mostly importantly, ensuring the performance checks match job expectations and are connected to the trainee’s training plan. One observer has called SiTUATE the connecting point between the employer and the training institution.
Today, managers can find many reasons why skilled workers are difficult to find. The evolving changes in the workplace have focused more attention on SiTUATE, especially for delivering apprenticeship programs, because the platform retains the features of S-OJT, along with adding the integration and flexibility possible when using a digital technology.