The National Apprenticeship Week 2016 is coming. From 14 to 18 March young people, entrepreneurs and businesses will meet and focus on how they can ‘rise to the top’. A good time to ponder how traineeships and apprenticeships can take ambition to the next level – for individuals and organisations.
If there is an ideal time to start considering apprenticeships, that time has come. There is greater variety, more available talent and higher standards than ever before in the UK. The conditions seem perfect. From the new corporate levy intended to stimulate apprenticeship programmes in every organisation, to new standards developed in collaboration with over 1300 employers – and counting – approved by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA).
According to the SFA, and with 194 standards published so far, 89% of apprenticeship employers have reported that their businesses improved the quality of their products or services by integrating new learners. Employers also believe that these initiatives lead to more engaged and motivated teams, which invariably results in greater productivity.
A Modern Take on Apprenticeships
The belief that university is the only path to success, and everything else is second-rate belongs in the past. Both graduates and apprentices are highly-skilled professionals in the making. However, most graduates not only lack the necessary practical experience when finishing their studies, as most of them – according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) – are performing jobs where they wouldn’t need a degree. Over-qualification is at saturation point while practical skills and work experience are in demand. That is particularly disturbing considering that England has the highest tuition fees in the industrialised world (OECD data) and that, in 2015, the youth unemployment rate reached its worst level in 20 years.
In times like these, providing youth with high-quality routes into the job market could be regarded as a social exercise for the healthy development of younger generations. But when it comes to business, companies are progressively becoming aware of the vital role apprenticeships play in the growth of their trade and the impact on our economic future.
Aiming for New Record Highs
Apprenticeship participation has now reached new record levels. During the 2014/15 academic year, companies took in 871,800 new learners under the government’s funded programmes. In previous years, the SFA reports that 23% of former apprentices have received a promotion within one 12 months of finishing, and 75% of intermediate and advanced trainees have reported taking on more responsibility in their jobs after completing their apprenticeship.
According to the Skills Funding Agency, after finishing a programme, 90% of apprentices will stay in employment – with 71% remaining with the same employer and 2% becoming entrepreneurs.
This year’s motto is “An apprenticeship can take you anywhere”. A concept that seems applicable to ambitious youth, but also to corporations wanting to steer new workforce generations towards their ultimate vision. Our hope, in line with the government and top employers in the UK, is that this year we may raise these numbers, contributing to a higher quality of training and a more inspired generation.
To learn more about our apprenticeship programmes, call us on 03333 110 157 or email apprenticeships@F2Latwork.org.uk