4 Tips for Generating High Quality Leads as a College or Apprenticeship Provider

Since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017, many colleges and apprenticeship providers have been impacted by increased competition. We have made a collection of our top-tips for generating high quality leads as an apprenticeship provider.

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Working for a college or traditional static apprenticeship provider (governed by geographical boundaries), you will have undoubtedly seen an increase in competition in recent years. The demand for ‘earn while you learn’ roles has increased, leading to all apprenticeship providers racing to capitalise.

The majority of new private apprenticeship companies run their courses exclusively online, which gives them the ability to take on many students. They are not geographically bound and can also provide a more cost-effective solution for businesses than most colleges/static providers.

This has increased competition for many colleges. However, apprenticeships requiring regular visits from assessors (such as Lab technicians, Motor Mechanics, Engineering etc.) are still dominated by static providers.

Operating in an increasingly competitive market has probably left you wondering how you are going to stay viable and generate leads for companies who are looking to hire Apprentices.

That’s why in this article, we will talk about how you can take your prospecting to the next level and confidentaly compete in this new market.


As you already know, LinkedIn has evolved from being a professional social media platform to an all-in-one solution for business updates, hiring, data collection and prospecting. As a result, the platform can be used as an effective tool for lead generation for colleges, thanks to the built-in sales navigator tool.

Once data has been sourced, you’ll be pleased to hear that the next step is relatively simple. Having built your ideal prospect list, you can utilise powerful LinkedIn outreach software to start conversations with multiple prospects at once. You can then track which prospects view messages and respond to you, therefore allowing you to shift focus to interested parties and start nurturing them into leads.

This all becomes an efficient and effective lead generation campaign, helping you find the companies that are most likely to recruit an Apprentice.

Growing Your Social Media Presence

An often-overlooked benefit of using LinkedIn to generate leads as a college is the growth of your social media presence. Social media is already likely to contribute to your marketing strategy as part of your target market is generally younger people (who make up the vast majority of users on social media).

However, there is no reason to limit your use of social media to advertising and generating inbound enquiries from businesses looking to recruit an Apprentice, or upskill their existing workforce.

A larger LinkedIn page can attract companies and their respective Decision Makers, presenting your college as an attractive option to provide trusted apprenticeship courses.


Whilst LinkedIn certainly is a powerful tool, as with all good things, it comes with certain challenges. One of these is the LinkedIn database itself. As LinkedIn is a professional tool, the data available is solely dependent on the user base of the website. This means that you may have difficulty sourcing data for a couple of your target sectors.

For example, if you were looking to find a suitable placement for an apprentice Lab Technician, secondary schools would be an ideal contact. However, most secondary schools, and importantly their staff, are renowned for having no (or little) LinkedIn presence. This means that profiles for these people will be few and far between. Furthermore, you will be limited to LinkedIn prospecting when you do find relevant contacts.

Because of this, to get the most out of LinkedIn as a lead generation tool you should reflect on which sectors from your targets are going to have the largest social media presence and be contactable.

As a result, you should reflect on which targets will give the highest social media impact. This could reflect the SaaS sector, for example.

If, however, you would like a more well-rounded approach to lead generation, using relevant data on all sectors, we have a solution.

Utilising Telemarketing

Any guide for an effective lead generation method would be incomplete without explaining telemarketing itself.

At the time of writing, the Apprenticeship Levy is now 5 years old. Since this is essentially a tax paid by employers to the Government kept aside for apprenticeship funding, businesses' interest in enrolling staff on apprenticeship upskill courses and hiring their candidates as apprentices have increased greatly. A new opportunity was presented and many online providers started to capitalise. By 2022, these companies have positioned themselves comfortably in the market.

Telemarketing and Online Lead Generation Methods

These newer style providers often steer their marketing strategy towards online advertising, social media campaigns and SEO. The websites for online apprenticeship providers prove that search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click advertisements play a large factor in generating inbound enquiries and leads.

When researching apprenticeship providers, private online companies tend to be the first to show on Google. It’s not all bad news, though. Since there is a multitude of private apprenticeship providers, it would be impossible for each of them to reach the first page on their respective search engines.

Many private companies are not only competing against their static, geographically bound counterparts but they are also competing against each other. Because of this, telemarketing could be used effectively by either a college or a new private provider to generate high-quality leads.

As a college, you know that decreased numbers of inbound enquiries from businesses looking to hire apprentices could result in courses being underfilled, which is detrimental to funding. This is where telemarketing comes in, as it allows you to initiate conversations with relevant Decision Makers and communicate the benefits of your courses and recruitment services before your competitors are considered. Furthermore, telemarketing services are an effective way to save time and resources when reaching out to prospects.

It is apparent that new courses run multiple times, so your colleges need full cohorts to secure critical funding. Consequently, is essential to ensure the longevity of your lead generation strategy.

Telemarketing allows you to build a pipeline of qualified leads with companies or small businesses who are looking to recruit at a different time. Using this data gathered by experienced B2B marketers, you can call these Decision Makers back when the timing is right and generate leads you would have otherwise missed.

Sourcing B2B Data

To effectively reach out to prospects and converse with companies who are interested in recruiting Apprentices for your courses, you need to have an intelligently sourced, relevant database of Decision Makers. Without this, you could be prospecting to companies in inappropriate sectors and speaking to the wrong people.

In order to compete with other apprenticeship providers, you should think about the sort of data you need and the target market for each of your course offerings.

An example of this would be to think about the size of the businesses you are prospecting. Large organisations with a payroll over £3 million are required to pay the Apprenticeship Levy, so will probably have a pre-existing structure in place for running apprenticeship schemes. These businesses might not be ideal prospects for your lead generation activities if you’re looking for quick wins. However, should be incorporated within your long-term lead generation strategy.

On the other hand, smaller businesses with under 50 employees can take advantage of Government incentives (that cover at least 95% of the cost of an apprenticeship course). The message to these companies will allow you to secure apprenticeship placements within organisations that are relevant, but also, quickly.

Purchasing data through professional data-brokers allows you to gather more specific data using similar filters as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, however searching a much larger database. Not only this, but intelligently sourced data includes phone numbers, emails, company turnover and more.

Automated Email Marketing

When building your lead generation strategy, a powerful tool you can include is outreach to targeted email addresses. Using high-quality data of potential customers, your sales team can implement email marketing either as a stand-alone method or as part of your wider lead generation strategy.

Automated email marketing tools allow you to send automated messages to relevant decision-makers and prospective students. By creating a sequence of emails, you can (at one time) deliver emails to hundreds of contacts. From here, you can track statistics such as click-throughs and replies allowing you to focus on those who show interest, saving you time and generating high-quality leads.

A calculated mix of telemarketing, LinkedIn prospecting and email marketing could be the most effective approach for lead generation in colleges.

A drawback for colleges when considering email marketing, especially as a stand-alone solution, is once again the availability of data on certain target sectors. Similarly to LinkedIn lead generation, some sectors do not have readily accessible information within the domain. This means that you should reflect on which sectors will work best for this method.

If you would like to find out how The Lead Gen Specialists can help you find suitable companies, looking to hire apprentices and fill your courses. call 03332 400 054 or email enquiries@leadgenspecialists.co.uk

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