Sophie Adelman & Euan Blair, co-founders of WhiteHat joined CNBC international to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the future of the education sector and how apprenticeships offer the perfect solution to bridge the skills gap and promote equal opportunities.

Apprenticeships versus university

Should students always choose the traditional university route in order to succeed?

Not anymore.

At WhiteHat, we believe that university should not be an obligatory rite of passage for young people to thrive in their career.

With an average university graduate debt of £34,800 and an academic knowledge which isn’t always in step with the skills required from businesses, more and more school leavers are choosing a different path to success and we cannot blame them.

Yet, school leavers aren’t the only ones benefiting from apprenticeships programmes. Indeed many WhiteHat clients have already realised the fantastic added value of shaping talents from the youngest age.

Also, before you start thinking apprenticeships are only for tech companies… wrong. See how WhiteHat helped Christie’s evolve their employer image and futureproof of their business.

Sophie Adelman, Co-founder at WhiteHat commented: “Once companies start engaging with our apprentices, engaging with people who haven’t got a degree, they realise academic performance isn’t the best indicator of future success in the workplace.

Bridge the diversity and skills gap

A large number of companies rely on university graduates for their entry-level roles and suffer from a skill shortage crisis, with many having to invest money and time to retrain their new hires to make sure they have the skills required.

Euan Blair, Co-founder and CEO added: “One of the challenges you go through when just relying on university graduates is that over half of those on graduates programs were educated at a private school in the UK. That’s an astonishing figure given they represent only 7%-8% of the country.”

With 50% of WhiteHat applicants having claimed free meals at school and 65% of them being non-white, our apprenticeships programmes allow young people from any background to access equal opportunities while businesses benefit from a productive and diverse workforce.

Sounds good right?

But apprenticeships aren’t just for young people...

Let’s be honest, we’ve moved on from a time where people were staying in the same company from their first job to retirement.

Current businesses need flexible individuals that are able to juggle a number of tasks at once, and employees are struggling to keep up with employer expectations.

But reskilling your staff doesn’t have to be painful. Check out 3 secrets to employee apprenticeships your teams will actually love!

Watch a clip of the interview here.

Interested in learning more about the future of the workforce?

WhiteHat and Goal 17 are co-hosting a myth-busting breakfast on the 3rd October. At the event, we’ll discuss what companies can do to introduce a generation of diverse talent and the initiatives you can put in place to increase levels of engagement and improve staff retention. Sign up here.