With A Level results out and GCSE and GNVQ results to be revealed later this week, apprenticeships are being highlighted to employers as an increasingly popular option. The idea of earning whilst learning appeals to many young people, who are uninterested in taking on A Levels or attending university.
With one fifth of employers in England encountering some form of skills gaps in their workforces, almost 145,000 jobs remain unfilled because of the lack of suitable candidates, as shown by research from Skills in England in 2004. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has stated that 68% of employers have been forced to recruit staff who did not have “all the skills and experience required to do the job.” As a result, many negative impacts have followed including loss of business to competitors, higher operating costs and customer service difficulties. Therefore it is more important than ever for employers to demand further development and use of apprenticeships.
With their positive impact on productivity and competitiveness, apprentices can help solve businesses” recruitment and retention problems. Additionally they help create a more loyal, confident and motivated workforce. In some 80 sectors, there exists over 180 different apprenticeship frameworks, each co-designed by colleges and businesses. They ensure that apprenticeships are relevant, sector-specific learnings so that apprentices will add value to an organization from the onset.
Apprenticeships Hold the Key to a Better Workforce
Director of Apprenticeships at the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), Stephen Gardner says: “Research from BT shows that their apprentices are over seven per cent more productive than non-apprentices and retention rates among apprentices are impressive.”
Whether the company under consideration is a micro-business or a large employer such as Tesco, BT and British Gas, all are making use of successful apprenticeship programmes. John Burrows, proprietor of Somerset-based Upper Cut Hair Salons Ltd and employer of apprentices since 1983 says: “Apprenticeships represent a win-win for employers and apprentices. The apprentices gain valuable skills. As for employers”¦a highly skilled workforce”¦guarantees business growth.”
Although I credit the various merits of A Levels and university degrees and the opportunities they offer, it cannot be denied that hands-on training is becoming increasingly important amongst jobseekers. If the chance to develop experience in a skilled sector whilst continuing to learn is available, then I believe it is essential for employers and young people to take advantage of this through apprenticeships.
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