Sainsburys’ recent announcement of their new apprenticeship scheme looks aims to give young adults their first step towards future careers, and offers an element of hope and motivation for the future. The apprenticeship scheme aims to offer 400 places for existing employees to build upon their skills and train for managerial positions, in which they can enhance their talents and contribute to improving the work force of Sainsburys’. It is available to staff with qualifications no higher than GCSE level, and will result in the equivalent of two A-Levels. Sainsburys’ are not the only company to offer apprenticeships to today’s youth. Perhaps a strong publicity campaign from the government will raise awareness of the opportunities available, and cast a ray of sunlight on the shadow of unemployment.
Justin King, the CEO of Sainsburys, has openly condemned the Chancellor George Osborne, saying ‘we don’t think he has done enough to support job creation’. Sainsburys continues to contribute towards job creation, with continued plans to hire an extra 6000 workers this year, continuing on from the efforts of 2012. With King’s objective to be ‘the fastest growing supermarket’, it certainly seems that Sainsburys will be creating widespread opportunities for jobs. The apprenticeship scheme ‘Can you Be a Team Leader, Advanced Apprenticeship Level 3’ will attract those who wish to grow within a company.
City & Guilds, a leading vocational education organisation in the UK, are renowned for their focus on apprenticeships for today’s youth, yet it appears there aren’t enough apprentice opportunities available. Only 8% of employers in the UK offer apprenticeship schemes, in comparison to Austria, Switzerland and Germany, who stand at 22%. It is crucial for apprentice roles to be offered, as the cost of university has dramatically increased by double the fee. It allows applicants to study while earning a wage, and applicants shouldn’t be deterred by long term apprentice schemes. Over 60% of undergraduates are over 21, and taking a year out of studies to gain experience in a workplace will certainly make applicants more attractive to prospective employers.
Sainsburys are one of many companies that offer these schemes. McDonald’s offer an apprentice scheme for 16 year olds and above, in which they can become a Crew Leader and eventually train up to possibly managing their own branch. Mitchell and Butler’s offer a NVQ scheme in the hospitality sector, a sector that like retail, is seen to be expanding on a daily basis. Mitchell and Butler employ over 40,000 people in the United Kingdom, and would thus be missing out if they did not offer such schemes. However, the general view of apprenticeships appears to be in the trade sector. This is an assumption that needs to be overlooked in order for aspiring children to succeed in the future. John Hayes believes the coalition should provide funding for ‘the biggest apprenticeship programme in this country’s history’. The government wish to build upon the current 270,000 schemes to a dramatic increase up to 400,000 by 2014 – perhaps the simplistic solution to this would be consistent funding towards the schemes, and ramping up awareness on a national scale of the opportunities available.