11-15 March 2013 is National Apprentice week. It is the time when all eyes are on apprenticeships and it’s all about raising the profile amongst employers, individuals, teachers, parents and the media.
Apprentices earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job specific skills and nationally recognised qualifications. Established sectors are manufacturing, construction and engineering however the fastest growing areas in recent years have been IT, childcare, accountancy, health and retail. An apprentice can take between one and four years to complete and is fully funded by the government. Apprentices are good for business. They bring productive enthusiastic people into an organisation and demonstrate an organisation’s commitment to investing in young people. Furthermore apprentices will be the workforce of the future so it is essential to start investing now.
Over 100,000 employers offer apprenticeships in England, however the government has plans to increase this number and is setting aside funding whereby small businesses will be paid £1500 to take on an apprentice. However, it will be important that the young people are provided a structured programme of education to ensure this initiative is a success.
The UK is plagued by youth unemployment which is a potential ticking time bomb for the future if not addressed. In the UK youth employment is around 22% and increasing all the time. Young people who have been unemployed for a long time will earn less throughout their lives. They will be less unemployable as they won’t have the skills business needs. They are more likely to have long term health problems as well. So hopefully a growth in apprenticeships will help to solve this ever increasing problem to benefit the both young people and the UK economy at the same time.