Creating occupational opportunities

By | Business
A study of 600 businesses shows that 20% of small businesses plan to take on one or more apprentices in the next 12 months. Image credit - www.lynnefeatherstone.org

A major new apprenticeships campaign has launched, the ‘Get In. Go Far’ campaign aims to support young people to consider an apprenticeship alongside university and benefit from the opportunity to earn while they learn. The launch coincides with the third phase of the government’s Trailblazer initiative, which brings employers and training providers together to design the best possible apprenticeship schemes.

More than 200 employers and training providers were involved in the third phase of the apprenticeship Trailblazer project, first launched in October 2013, which aims to give employers greater influence over the type of training and experience apprentices receive. Speaking on apprenticeships, Business Secretary Vince Cable has said, “For too long there has been a divide between university and vocational education. Placing university degrees and apprenticeships on an equal footing will help break down barriers and better meet the needs of business.”

To mark the launch of the new campaign, Skills Minister Nick Boles said, “The new campaign features some great success stories, which show exactly how far an apprenticeship might take you. I would recommend any young person who is considering what to do next with their career, to look at some of the new and exciting apprenticeship opportunities available to them.”

Earlier this year, employers pledged 20,000 new apprenticeships during the National Apprenticeships Week 2014. This should contribute to more people being given the chance to earn while they learn. Apprenticeships applications are on the rise as more and more young people are switching on to this alternative route into their desired career. Traditional sector apprenticeships such as manufacturing and engineering are still as popular as ever; there has been a clear increase in applications for business, administration and law positions.

“With two-thirds of manufacturers planning to recruit an engineering apprentice in the next 12 months, starting salaries well above average, accelerated career progression and in many cases a job for life, manufacturers are shouting from the rooftops to attract young people into their industry,” said Tim Thomas, head of employment and skills policy at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation.

Looking towards the future, the figures for apprenticeships look very promising for the next few years. A study of 600 businesses shows that 20% of small businesses plan to take on one or more apprentices in the next 12 months – 37% of larger businesses plan to do the same. Around a third of those that plan to take on apprentices say this is because they are a core part of their growth strategy. It is clear that Apprenticeships are growing in popularity. A recent study showed that 43% of employers are more likely to offer an apprenticeship than they were 2 years ago. In addition, Nearly 2 in 5 said this was because the talent pool had widened as apprenticeships become more popular.

Overall, 41% of employers agreed that apprentices stay in the business longer than other recruits. Furthermore, over 115,000 young people aged between 16 and 18 started an apprenticeship in 2012/13. Girls are narrowing the gender gap by seeking out this opportunity to earn while they learn. As demand and popularity increases, it seems many more employers consider apprenticeships as they see the advantages it may bring to their company.

Interestingly, a rising number of middle-class teenagers are also considering on-the-job training courses, according to the Skills Minister. “An overhaul of apprenticeships in recent years, which is creating more positions in jobs such as financial services, engineering and computing is starting to put work-based training on a par with traditional three-year degrees”, said Nick Boles. These comments were made as research showed that up to 100 teenagers are now competing for every training place as major employers compete with universities to recruit the brightest teenagers.

What additional ideas might be introduced to assist young people to get into work? 

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