From education to employment

Let 2022 see a national recovery in apprenticeships

@Rubiteks: With new Government funding becoming available from January 2022, employers are now looking at apprenticeships as part of a strategy to rebuild following the Covid-19 outbreak. Rubitek CEO and STEM ambassador Kerry Linley argues for a greater emphasis on apprenticeships as part of our national recovery

Apprenticeships can be an effective route to employment for the individual and a sound investment for the employer, but uncertainty for businesses, an economic downturn and lockdown measures have played havoc with them since early 2020.

According to data published by the Department for Education, the number of starts in England fell from 393,380 in 2018-19 to 268,700 in 2019-20(with each 12-month period running from August to July the following year).

Early figures for the start of 2020-21, the most recent available, suggested a slight recovery last year, and now there is new hope in 2022 in the form of more Government help available to employers from this month. 

From 11 January 2022, employers have been able to apply for a payment of £3,000 for new apprentices with a start date from 1 October 2021 to 31 January 2022. To make an application, you just need to set up an apprenticeship service account on the Government website.

The decline in apprenticeships nationwide was an inevitable consequence of the pandemic, and this has been a real loss for both potential learners and employers. With Government funding available, now is a very good time for businesses to consider apprenticeships as part of an employment strategy, in my view.

I’m CEO of a tech firm in Leicestershire that specialises in helping businesses take on and manage apprentices, and I employ an apprentice too. I see it from both sides, and I speak to many employers who have taken on apprentices.

These are just three of the reasons that crop up in conversation with employers, and why I think more employers should be considering recruiting apprentices too

1: Fresh ideas – the world of work is changing so we need an influx of fresh talent and new ideas in the workplace. Frankly we need a youthful approach to keep up, and apprenticeships provide a tried and tested pipeline.

2: Filling skills gaps – apprenticeships are a cost effective way of filling skill gaps in your business, which is why they should be central to the government’s employment strategy, in my opinion.

3: The bottom line – according to one survey, 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them to develop skills relevant to their organisation, 78% or employers said they helped improve productivity and 74% said apprenticeships helped to improve the quality of the product.

Apprenticeships can play such an important role in our economic recovery in 2022. I hope employers consider them and take advantage of the Government funding now available. 

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