From education to employment

Results of Research Support Apprenticeship Awards Ceremony

Apprentices are continuing to demonstrate the benefits of training and skills for the workforce, indicates a research project from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

The research was released to coincide with the Third Annual Apprenticeship Awards ceremony, recognising both exceptional employers and exceptional employees in the sector. At the ceremony, hosted by TV personalities Natasha Kaplinsky and Richard Hammond, British Gas walked off with the Large Employer of the year award for their work with 650 apprentices. Interested parties from across the sector gathered to welcome the achievements of the learners and the employers, and to highlight the findings in the research.

Documenting Success

Apprenticeships are currently at the front of combating the skills gap that is so often held up as a Trojan Horse of a problem that could come back to harm our economic prosperity in the future. Apprenticeships, currently providing more than 250,000 16-24 year-olds in England with its own blend of work based and “off the job” training, also offer the apprentices the opportunity to earn a wage whilst learning. The LSC’s research indicates that not only are Apprenticeships meeting their Government targets; they also appear to be having a significant impact for employers as well.

The research was carried out by BMRB on behalf of the LSC, with the survey questioning more than 2003 respondents about their attitudes to learning and skills. The research indicates that, of those surveyed, 71% agree that on-the-job training provides them with the necessary skills for their career and its development. A further finding shows that 62% of those surveyed believed that they had benefited even more comprehensively through the provision of the blended approach, both on and off the job training. Further, the majority of respondents from sectors as diverse as hospitality, financial services, manufacturing and IT and telecommunications stated that on the job training combined with employer provided formal training was beneficial to their careers.

The Responses

Stephen Gardner, Director of Apprenticeships for the LSC, spoke of the research findings, saying: “Our research shows the growing recognition in the UK of the importance of vocational and on-the-job learning. With more and more young people looking for training that leads directly to employment, we are thrilled to recognise those who have made such a success of their Apprenticeships. The stories we have heard at the Awards are truly inspirational and show what can be achieved within the Apprenticeship programme when committed employers work with young people and providers of training to develop excellence.”

The Director General of City & Guilds, Chris Humphries, the UK’s leading awarding body for work related qualifications and one of the Sponsors of the 2006 Apprenticeship Awards, said: “Any business can only be as good as the skills of its workforce, so it’s great to see that the Apprenticeship Awards showcase the very best in staff training. We are delighted to sponsor these Awards for the second year running. As well as applauding individual and employer successes, these Awards highlight the real economic benefits that Apprenticeships have to offer.”

Jethro Marsh

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