UK employers and educators are now preparing for National Apprenticeship Week 2015 from 9 to 13 March to celebrate the positive impacts of apprenticeships in the wider economy. In November 2014, government figures revealed that there were 851,000 apprentices: an increase of 73% since 2009. National Apprentice Week hopes to build on this figure through increased media exposure and promoting the range of benefits to small UK businesses.
LoveLocalJobs.com are passionate about working with a community from the grassroots up to build a sustainable economic future. Here’s why you should become an advocate for increasing the number of apprenticeships in the UK.
Good for business
To coincide with the announcement of the UK’s National Apprenticeship Week last November, a report in The Independent cited that apprenticeships can help to drive British economic growth, largely within specific industries such as IT and construction. With a gaping skills gap in a handful of industries in the UK, more quality apprenticeships has been named as a key solution to help fill these roles that are repeatedly filled by skilled workers from overseas.
Apprenticeship benefits can be measured in figures and by social factors. A survey conducted by the National Skills Academy in 2014 found that 80% of businesses asked with apprentices said that they made a workplace more productive. Apprentices are routinely found to be keen, hard-working members of a company and continuity of skills, particularly niche skillsets, is often cited as a positive business benefit as a result of apprenticeships.
Other reasons why more businesses should start hiring apprentices include:
- Minimal disruption to a business as the apprenticeships can be conducted in the workplace
- It can encourage a fresh, invigorated learning culture in your workplace
- An apprentice can be trained to specific in-house styles and plug skill holes that can drive growth. For example, a business can offer a new service to clients following apprenticeship training in a particular field
- Retention rates for apprentices are much higher as potential for progression and a sense of loyalty allow businesses to keep those members of staff for longer
- All stages are cost effective, from the initial free online advertisements and the government grant; to free training costs if the eligibility criteria is met.
While a general consensus agrees that apprenticeships are good for business, some employers have demonstrated reluctance in the past. In a bid to overcome the financial burdens that SMEs may encounter, the government has set up financial incentives such as an apprenticeship £1,500 grant. In an attempt to bridge gaps in the digital sector, the government-backed Tech Partnership was created in 2014 to provide degree apprenticeships. A group of firms signed up to meet industry needs. They included BT, Ford, Hewlett Packard and Lloyds Banking Group.
Apprenticeships vs. university
Although a conscious effort has been made in recent years to advocate the benefits of internships in the UK, comprehensive careers advice during education continues to fall short according to the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) report. While many young people see apprenticeships as a viable career move, only 31% of those surveyed said that this route was discussed and explained to them by educators. From these findings, it is clear that a university-is-best culture is discouraging young people to seek apprenticeship places, as illustrated by a record number of undergraduates in 2014 despite tuition fee increases.
This favourable attitude towards university education greatly contradicts figures from the Office of National Statistic at the start of 2014 which revealed that a quarter of graduates were paid less than the £11.10 average work-based training scheme wage. Despite years of dedicated study, this low-earning graduate workforce were more likely to end up in part-time roles. The results of the data, collated by Labour MP, Frank Field, led to the conclusion that too many school leavers chose university courses without considering other alternatives. While graduates in general earned more than apprentices in 2014, the high university debts accumulated – between 40,000 and 50,000 – tainted any financial advantages.
As 2015 welcomes more apprenticeship schemes being introduced in the UK, more school leavers are defying the status quo by entering the workplace through an apprenticeship. The most common reasons behind such a decision include unattractive university fees and gaining skills for sought-after roles that don’t require a degree, such as jobs in the construction industry.
Expert advice from LoveLocalJobs.com
LoveLocalJobs.com is passionate about working with young people to find the right career routes for them. In order to help more people across the south east, our team of experts have set up several award-winning employability advice portals: Take OFF, BEACH and Pathway.
Originally started up by school students in November 2014, Take OFF provides guidance and tangible steps to help young people access the workplace with support from GatwickDiamondJobs.com and Horsham District Council.
Launched in October 2012, BEACH (Brighton Employability Advice and Careers Hut) has become an invaluable resource on the BrightonandHoveJobs.com job board. The micro site, in collaboration with Brighton and Hove Council and a number of schools in the area, offers advice to school leavers and the employment paths that are available to them, for example apprenticeships.
Finally, the Pathway initiative engages young people on the CoastalWestSussexJobs.com job board. The online tool was launched in December 2014 by school students from West Sussex with the support of local employers, educational establishments and local authorities.
The LoveLocalJobs.com team are also excited to announce the start of a new initiative that was launched on February 9 named World of Work. Like our other online micro sites, World of Work is a collaboration between students, local authorities and businesses. Amongst its many useful tools, World of Work incorporates interviews with local hiring managers and business people with market knowledge.
LoveLocalJobs.com are proud to work with our local community during National Apprenticeship Week to highlight the great benefits that this employment pathway has to offer. For more information on our services and our events, please fill out our simple online form or call us on 01273 651100.