Richard Thomas

A national training-and-skills company has urged businesses to safeguard their apprenticeships during the COVID pandemic.

The current health crisis has threatened apprenticeship positions across the country, with access to training providers and further learning being affected.

However, Skern Lodge’s training and development manager Richard Thomas said he and his team are seeing many far-sighted companies that are still keen to help apprentices broaden their skills and knowledge, and he urged other businesses to follow suit.

This comes as Boris Johnson promised a guaranteed apprenticeship for young people whose job prospects have been damaged by the pandemic.

Richard said: “Today’s apprentices are tomorrow’s leaders, so we really shouldn’t underestimate their importance. For businesses, a well-supported apprentice will bring a great return on the investment

“Apprenticeships are all about learning while doing, learning from others in their industry, and then sharing that knowledge to further enhance the team.

“We are committed to supporting apprentices and their employers in these challenging times. That’s why we’re continuing the delivery of high-quality apprenticeships training, while following the government’s guidelines on putting health and wellbeing first.

“We all hope that there will come a time when we have successfully moved past the pandemic, and when that happens we will need the enthusiasm, drive and commitment that apprentices offer, so it’s important that businesses continue to support and develop their apprenticeships during this time.”

Skern Lodge runs early career and talent development programmes, with the aim of transforming business performance, behaviours and leadership.

It has sites in North Devon, North Wales, South Yorkshire, Northumberland, the Isle of Wight, Kent, North Norfolk, South Yorkshire and West Midlands.

Skern Lodge’s apprenticeship development courses are approved by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, with programmes tailored to suit the needs of specific businesses or apprentices’ groups.

Richard added: “Often the focus for apprenticeships is on young people, but the apprenticeship market is actually available to a very wide age of audience. This is really important for us when we are positioning these courses, because we need to be as up to date as possible.

“Our job is to help people see the journey ahead by co-designing a programme with business leaders in order to meet the needs of the Apprenticeship Standard, and then delivering a meaningful programme that helps them relate to the required behaviours.”

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