I once endured a line manager who quoted annoying nuggets of perceived wisdom to me on nearly a daily basis, but what does it mean?

90% of the effort does not deliver 90% of the result. I once endured a line manager who quoted this annoying nugget of perceived wisdom to me on a nearly daily basis. Annoying as he and it became, it’s none the less true.

The fire brigade pulling away from your home with a wave saying they had put out 90% of the fire seems a graphic illustration of the point. Just imagine - if you don't give your full effort, it's hard to imagine what you're missing out on. (I had to include a GIF here - it'd be rude not to).


But most recently I have been thinking about this in relation to employers and their experience of the world of apprenticeships. We recently ran a survey to both training providers and to the employers who use GetMyFirstJob's recruitment services. We asked the question, “do you think there is an issue in recruiting emerging talent?” The response from these two groups was in stark contrast.

65% of employers indicated that they had or expected to have issues in recruiting emerging talent. Only 15% of providers and colleges agreed.

So, what does this tell us? To answer that question, we need to ask what does a good job look like from both parties’ perspective? In any changing landscape, there are winners and losers and the introduction of new apprenticeship rules are no different. Employers are awarding contracts and in some cases this is delivering the potential of 10s, 100s and even 1,000s of ‘starts’ for those who built the winning offer.

To the training provider who fills 300 vacancies in their new high street client it’s a great result! “No issues with recruitment here”, “We can’t recruit trainers quick enough”!

But from the employer’s perspective their focus is on the 50 vacancies that were not filled by the provider, or the reports from their branch managers of disengaged applicants, or their finance team on the lack of any applicants at all!

Those of us who have been in business development for any length of time know that retaining a client is far more cost effective than winning a new one and retention is all about service. In a world where the purse strings sit firmly with the employer the service delivered should be everyone’s focus. Alas our survey suggests that is not the case. The training provider’s financial imperative is met, 90% of the fire is out, time to leave with a wave?

Retention of hard fought clients will come down to demonstrating how you plan to deliver the last 10%, the hard yards, to exceed not meet expectations. So, to paraphrase another leader, if you think delivering great service is expensive, just see how bad service feels.

It's time for you to prove yourself to employers and training providers. Be the emerging talent they need. Register & Apply for an apprenticeship!

Written by John Parkes, Partnership Director, GetMyFirstJob