Brought to you by
GED Tech Apprenticeship™ Job ExpoWYWM LogoGED Testing Service logoPearson logo

A guide to building an effective and meaningful Tech Apprenticeship Program


A pathway to bridge the digital skills gap and level up the workforce

In a world where technology is evolving at breakneck speed, staying ahead of the curve isn't just a competitive advantage – it's a necessity. Yet many organizations are still hamstrung by not having access to the digital capabilities they require. At the same time, there's a growing call for greater diversity and equality in the tech industry, with most organizations eagerly seeking out ways to be a more socially responsible employer.
Vicki Greene profile
Tech apprenticeships have emerged as a compelling solution for introducing new tech talent into the market to not only address capability gaps, but also diversify workforces. When run properly, tech apprenticeships can be truly transformative for an organization; empowering individuals to forge successful careers and propel organizations forward through practical experience, innovation and a commitment to continuous learning.

Companies of all sizes and industries require professionals who can harness the power of data, artificial intelligence, and emerging technologies to drive innovation and competitiveness. However, a critical shortage of digital skills is stunting growth and limiting progress. Traditional hiring models can't keep up with the pace of change, leaving organizations scrambling to find ‘qualified’ candidates to fill positions.

Simultaneously, the tech industry grapples with another pressing issue: a glaring lack of diversity and equality. For years, Black, Latino and Indigenous people and other underrepresented groups have been sidelined in this booming sector. There's a growing acknowledgment that diverse teams lead to better innovation and more inclusive products. Companies are fast recognising that achieving diversity and equality in their workforce is not just the right thing to do; it's also the smart thing to do.

Tech apprenticeships represent a viable pathway to bridge the digital skills gap and diversify the tech workforce. We’re all familiar with the traditional apprenticeship model – for example a builder or a plumber undergoing training while they receive practical work experience for an entry-level role. A tech apprenticeship is no different, providing individuals, often without traditional tech backgrounds, with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, learn in-demand skills and contribute meaningfully to their employers' success.

For too long, the tech sector has been operating under the misconception that a university degree or prior industry work experience is required for someone to step into a tech role. But the pace of change in the sector – plus the nature of the skills required – means that even those without experience can quickly train and gain the knowledge they need to be proficient in an entry-level role.

I hope this guide helps you see the full picture of the value that launching a tech apprenticeship program can have not only in helping your organization to achieve its objectives, but also in helping solve a deeply entrenched societal problem.

Vicki Greene
President of GED Testing Service® and SVP Workforce Skills

Why Tech Apprentices?

Filling tech skills gaps while creating a more equitable world

A vibrant, thriving and profitable global tech sector demands a pipeline of fresh talent. Traditional technical university degrees are no longer considered the only viable way to train people for digital careers. The rise of tech apprenticeships enables organizations to take a practical, agile and skills-led approach to building their workforce. The model is founded on the principles of skills-based hiring. Skills-based hiring is on the rise and represents a paradigm shift where companies prioritize a candidate's skills and capabilities over their educational background and credentials. Instead of exclusively focusing on qualifications, HR teams hire people based on their skills, honed through certifications or micro-credentialling, work experience and practical knowledge. The focus shifts from what candidates studied and where they studied, to what they can bring to the table in terms of new skills and contributions.

Many organizations have shared their success in enabling this skills-led approach. For example, major tech companies including LinkedIn, Google and Apple have moved away from traditional degree requirements in favor of skills assessments and practical evaluations. These industry leaders have seen improved diversity, innovation, and overall performance by focusing on skills over education or previous job credentials.

Transitioning to a skills-based hiring process

For recruiters, the shift to a skills-based approach to hiring requires buy-in across all levels. It represents a different way of recruiting – a disruption to BAU – so a thoughtfully considered plan is important. One effective way to implement this approach is by incorporating an initial skills assessment at the outset of the candidate screening process. These assessments provide an unbiased evaluation of both interpersonal and technical skills, encompassing communication proficiency, aptitude, learning preference, leadership capabilities and emotional intelligence. Additionally, work sample tests (which WithYouWithMe calls Capstones), which simulate real-world job tasks, allow recruiters to assess technical skills accurately, transcending the limitations of a traditional CV.

The benefits of skills-based hiring

Hiring people based on skills and abilities offers a multitude of advantages over traditional hiring methods. Some of the key benefits include:
  • Faster hiring: Skills-based assessments expedite the identification of suitable candidates early in the recruitment process, streamlining hiring processes and reducing time-to-hire.
  • Expanded talent pools: Hiring based on skills widens the talent pool, enabling access to candidates with a broader spectrum of skills rather than being confined to those with specific qualifications.
  • Promoting equal opportunities: Skills assessments help combat unconscious hiring bias, fostering greater diversity and equality by basing hiring decisions on skill levels rather than education backgrounds.
  • Improved retention: By evaluating specific skills and cultural fit, skills-based hiring also helps improve the likelihood of finding the right fit for the job, leading to increased retention and reduced turnover.
  • Enhanced assessment accuracy: Unlike traditional hiring practices, which relied on keyword-based filtering of CVs during the era of degree inflation, the power of skills-based hiring provides deeper insights into a candidate's ability to meet performance expectations.
  • Cost efficiency: Reduced turnover not only benefits retention but also minimises recruitment and hiring costs.
of open jobs don’t require any digital skills,
which means
of jobs do require digital skills. 
There are
open technology roles currently in the US
35% of new jobs require high-level digital skills.
82% reduced total time-to-hire *
  • 36% of employers reduced their time-to-hire by 18% on average. *
  • 19% of employers reduced their time-to-hire by at least 51%. *
Disruptive green asterisk
88% reduced mis-hires *
  • 41% of employers reduced mis-hires by an average of 18%. *
  • 23% of employers more than halved their number of mis-hires. *
Ocean blue asterisk
Entry-level roles on offer range from (USD)
$45K - $56K
55% of the jobs are middle-skill positions, which require training beyond high school but not a college degree.
74% reduced cost-to-hire *
  • 31% of employers saw their cost-to-hire improve by 18% on average. *
  • 16% of employers reduced their cost-to-hire by at least 51%. *
Disruptive green asterisk
89% increased employee retention *
  • 46% of employers improved employee retention by an average of 18%. *
  • 23% of employers improved employee retention by at least 51%. *
Ocean blue asterisk
70% of organizations are currently working on digital transformation - and they don't have the talent they need to fill these roles.
* The State of Skills-Based Hiring 2023 Report, TestGorilla, 2023

Building a business case

Driving support for skills-based hiring

Tech apprenticeships have the potential to redesign how organizations build their talent pipelines. Some of the key reasons organizations are bringing tech apprentices on board include:
  • Access to fresh talent: Apprentices bring a new perspective and diverse experiences to the tech industry. They come from varied backgrounds and therefore bring diversity of experience and thought to their roles.
  • Filling skills gaps: Apprenticeships are tailored to address specific skill shortages within a company or industry. Apprentices upskill quickly to be across key technical requirements and rapidly deploy to continue learning on-the-job.
  • Promoting diversity: These programs actively contribute to a more diverse and inclusive tech workforce. Barriers to entry – such as a university degree, or prior experience – are removed, creating an opportunity for organizations to fill their skill requirements in a socially responsible way.
Importantly, the rise of the tech apprentice represents a promising solution to the digital skills shortage while also championing diversity and equality. But it also represents a shift to traditional hiring methods. While some organizations will be progressive in their approach already, others may require you to champion the concept to build comfort with introducing a new model.

Research on implementing a skills-based hiring approach for tech apprenticeships

When building a business case for tech apprenticeships, it’s important you capture why and how it will impact and benefit your specific organization, as well as bring evidence to the table that supports your recommendation. There’s a wealth of industry research available that points to why skills-based employment is critical in modern workforces. Some examples include:
  • LinkedIn's annual Global Talent Trends Report highlights that 92% of talent professionals and hiring managers believe that soft skills, which are a crucial component of skills-based hiring, are equally or more important than hard skills. This finding emphasises the importance of assessing a candidate's full set of skills beyond formal qualifications.
  • McKinsey's research underscores the urgency of addressing skills gaps, with companies increasingly focusing on skill-building and skills-based hiring. Challenges include sourcing talent, validating transferable skills, and scaling skills-based practices.
  • Grads of Life report emphasizes that skills-based hiring helps drive equity in employment and acknowledges that an overreliance on college degrees can create unnecessary barriers, limiting access to valuable candidate profiles.

Best practice approach

A step-by-step guide to implementing the ‘Train, hire, deploy’ model

By following this step-by-step guide, your organization can establish a robust tech apprenticeship program that supports both organizational growth and the development of diverse, skilled professionals in the tech industry.

Step 1: Define program objectives

Clearly outline the goals and objectives of your tech apprenticeship program. This may include alignment with your organization’s Diversity & Inclusion programs, Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability initiatives; as well as specific tech and hiring requirements, such as finding the right talent with the right skills. It’s important from the outset that you identify the specific skills and competencies you want apprentices to acquire.

Step 2: Engage stakeholders from across your organization so you have buy-in and support

Gather support from key stakeholders, including executives, HR, and department heads. Ensure alignment with organizational goals and obtain commitment for operationalizing the concept.

Your Human Resources departments may be called upon to alter their hiring processes (by removing the need for a degree or previous tech experience, for example), or your Marketing teams might be engaged to promote the program to attract interest from diverse candidates. Rallying these efforts requires support from leadership, which is why it’s critical to have everyone aligned from the start.

There are several ways to engage leaders with your tech apprenticeship program, including but not limited to:
  • Sharing knowledge: Demonstrate the value of establishing a Tech Apprenticeship program through research and insights on the unique strengths of diverse talent.
  • Showcasing success: Share case studies where leading organizations have built Tech Apprenticeship programs that positively impact their businesses.
  • Highlighting DE&I benefits: Discuss how leaders are approaching diversity and inclusion, highlighting how a Tech Apprenticeship program can set the tone for your organization both internally and externally.
  • Leveraging internal advocates: Find those within your organization who are passionate about supporting diversity and have them advocate for the development of the program.
Beginning with a pilot program can be a helpful starting point for organizations new to skills-based hiring as it demonstrates to the business that the model works.

Step 3: Identify an industry partner to support the development and delivery of your apprentices

There are various programs in-market that are follow the ‘Train, hire, deploy’ model on which modern apprenticeships are built. Identify an organization that has these capabilities and supports diverse, under-represented groups to ensure you not only are accessing the skills you need, but are supporting positive social outcomes too. A great starting point is the GED Tech Apprenticeship Program™ which connects more than 700,000 learners from historically marginalized populations with meaningful employment outcomes. As part of this program, you’ll be able to outline the exact skills your organization needs your apprentices to have to ensure they are put through a comprehensive training curriculum that aligns with industry standards and your organization's needs. This includes technical skills, soft skills, and relevant certifications.

Step 4: Prepare your organization to welcome apprentices

Before you begin bringing apprentices into your organization, it's important to ensure that your workplace, processes and culture are welcoming and inclusive for candidates. Actions to establish an apprentice-friendly culture may include:
  • Sharing your plans to launch a tech apprenticeship employment program: Tell your workforce about your new hiring program, highlighting what it means for your organization and the value it will bring to your teams.
  • Define clear expectations and roles: Before welcoming apprentices, it's crucial to define clear expectations and roles for both the apprentices and existing team members who will be working alongside them. Clearly outline the goals of the apprenticeship program, the skills and knowledge the apprentices are expected to acquire, and the roles they will play within the organization. It’s often helpful to establish a mentorship structure to provide guidance and support. This clarity ensures a smooth onboarding process and helps apprentices integrate into the team seamlessly.
  • Create a positive learning environment Ensure that your organization provides a positive and inclusive learning environment for apprentices. Encourage open communication, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing among team members. Create opportunities for apprentices to engage with experienced professionals, attend relevant workshops or events, and contribute meaningfully to projects. A supportive learning environment contributes to the success of the apprenticeship program and helps apprentices feel valued within the organization.
  • Develop onboarding and training programs: Ensure you have a robust onboarding process in place that introduces apprentices to your organization's values, mission, and team dynamics. Regular check-ins and feedback sessions can help apprentices track their progress and address any challenges. A well-designed onboarding and training process sets the foundation for apprentices to thrive in their roles and contribute effectively to the organization.

Step 5: Promote success stories

Showcase the success stories of apprentices who have transitioned into successful roles within your organization. Use these stories not only to support ongoing development of your internal culture and morale, but also for recruitment and program promotion.

Step 6: Explore options to scale

Once your pilot program is complete and has proven successful, consider your options for scaling it. Develop a report that includes outcomes from the program, benefits to your business and recommendations for ongoing implementation. It’s also worth sharing the stories of your apprentices as these are the human faces of a progressive approach to employment. Expand the number of apprentices and explore opportunities to collaborate with more training partners. The skills-based hiring model which apprenticeships are built upon are the way of the future, particularly in the digital age. Get your organization comfortable with building its workforce and people capability in this inclusive and practice way.

Interviewing and hiring with inclusivity in mind

By Rebekah Nugent
Global Delivery Lead, WithYouWithMe

While the process of interviewing and hiring tech apprentices is essentially the same as with any other candidate, there are some adjustments you can make to better identify the skills, experience and potential a new technologist can contribute to your organization. Whether it's asking the right questions or being open to outside-the-box answers, interviewing with inclusivity in mind will ensure you don’t overlook top talent.
  • Establish a fair and unbiased screening process: In many instances, hiring bias starts with the initial screening process where people are assessed based on their university credentials or a one-page CV. Taking this approach will immediately see many talented diverse candidates be overlooked as they don’t fit the ‘traditional’ mould. These biases can be mitigated by incorporating other screening methods such as psychometric and aptitude testing which can identify people with the innate skills required to perform a role.
  • Initiate contact with a phone call: Where possible, initial outreach to a candidate should be made over the phone. People less experienced in navigating the corporate world will place far more value on a direct conversation than an email.
  • Enable online interviews: Diverse candidates may be experiencing a very different set of circumstances to your typical job seeker. Enabling virtual screening processes and phone or video interviews will ensure your hiring process is both inclusive and accessible, regardless of a candidate’s current location, external time pressures and physical abilities.
  • Create opportunities to translate former job experience: Understanding a candidate’s previous role will also help you identify transferable skills relevant to your organization. If someone is new to the corporate workplace, they may not know exactly where their skills fit, so creating opportunities to showcase them is essential. Asking questions focused on soft skills like communication, teamwork or time management can help unlock deeper insight into their capabilities. For example, “Think of a time when you didn’t agree with an approach proposed by a colleague to complete a task. How did you address your concerns?”
  • Ask for clarification: When tech apprentices are explaining past roles or experience, don’t be afraid to ask for further information on what a role or word means. They want to share their background with you and asking questions will help them do so effectively.
  • Consider alternative methods for verifying competency: Rather than relying solely on an interview process to verify competency, consider setting a practical work task for candidates to complete. Doing so will allow them to demonstrate their skill set against actual role requirements, rather than focusing on interpersonal communication skills. This approach offers a more nuanced and practical evaluation of competency, bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and its application.
  • Present a clear hiring roadmap and maintain regular contact: Conclude each interaction by providing clear next steps, including any further action you require the candidate to take, and a timeline. This is the best way to remove ambiguity and provide a good interview experience for all involved, even if the candidate is unsuccessful. Maintaining regular contact via email or over the phone will reduce stress and ensure tech apprentices remain engaged with the hiring process.

Best practice case study

Leading organizations around the world are embracing tech apprenticeships and skills-based hiring, prioritising skills and practical experience over formal qualifications. One of the most significant examples in the United States is the GED Tech Apprenticeship Program.

GED Tech Apprenticeship Program

The GED® program was created as a second chance opportunity for many adults who have been marginalized or needed an alternative to the traditional K-12 system. It’s been an important institution for raising the voices of historically marginalized and underserved learners, including those from Black, Latino and Indigenous communities.
GED Tech Apprenticeship™ Job Expo
The GED Tech Apprenticeship program was established in 2023, providing every learner who goes through the GED Testing Service – around 700,000 each year – with the opportunity to access free accredited training to upskill in high demand areas and have their skills matched to roles at leading companies in the United States.
To deliver the program, the GED Testing Service® has partnered with WithYouWithMe, a global social impact company that helps organizations solve their digital skills shortages by identifying and growing talent in places others don’t look – whether it’s underrepresented groups in society or within their existing workforce.

GED President Vicki Greene says the program was started to help both the GED learner realise their full potential – and the US workforce benefit from the rich diversity of experience and perspectives which the GED talent pool represents.

“The GED learner is a dynamic individual who has so many skills to offer and they don't recognize the skills and abilities that they have. Often their life circumstances have been challenging and the traditional education system didn’t meet what they needed as individual learners. We know their home life sometimes had challenges or situations that really impacted their ability to study and to be part of the K-12 system. But we also know that our GED learner is very passionate about wanting to do the right thing, about building a life for their family, for making themselves proud, their parents proud, their family proud.
“The tech apprenticeship means a meaningful path to a career that maybe they never dreamed of or never even thought of. And having a career that they could talk about and be proud of and have a sustaining wage.”
Vicki Greene
President of GED Testing Service and SVP Workforce Skills
More than 1,500 GED learners are currently upskilling to become tech apprentices, and Vicki Greene is passionate about ensuring US employers create opportunities for them.

“As an employer, I look at the whole person, not just what's on the resume. I encourage other employers to look at the learner and look at what they have to offer your company, not just what's on the resume. Look at their life experience. Look at who they are as individuals, and then look at how you can train them and build them up. Because what we know about our learners is that once someone believes in them, they're on their way to success. Believe that they can do it and then help them achieve it,” said Vicki Greene.

GED tech apprentices are trained and certified across 11 high-demand career pathways.
Once they have completed training and passed assessments, which includes a technical demonstration for their employer, they receive accreditation and a skill profile mapped to the SFIA framework.
ANSI National Accreditation Board - Accredited - logoSFIA accredited partner logo
All US employers who are interested in bringing tech apprentices onboard are invited to partner with GED and WithYouWithMe to support the GED learner pool into new roles.

How WithYouWithMe's tech apprenticeship programs work

Our talent management platform, Potential offers a proven, scalable approach to find, train, deploy and manage tech apprentices while also enabling skills-led professional development that ensures individuals’ newly acquired capabilities match business needs.

The process is simple

Discover icon deep green


Market leading aptitude and psychometric assessments match individuals to new skills and digital roles they’ll excel at.
Purple arrow
Train icon deep green


Industry accredited training enables apprentices to become rapidly proficient in high demand tech skills in around 150 hours.
Purple arrow
Deploy icon deep green


Tech apprentices are deployed as individuals or teams into entry-level roles, ready to hit the ground running.
Purple arrow
Grow icon deep green


Continuous learning helps apprentices become experts in their field, keeping them ahead of market requirements.

Want to find out more?

We have a range of resources and expert guidance to help organizations build successful tech apprenticeship programs.

Register now for more tech apprenticeship insights.