Even more people will gain an opportunity to earn while they learn after more than 20,000 new Apprenticeships have been pledged by employers as part of National Apprenticeship Week1.
From Lloyds Banking Group committing to hiring 5,000 apprentices through to Greene King and Whitbread pledging 2,000 a piece and EE, Mitchells & Butlers and Starbucks each announcing 1,000 vacancies, announcements have been made by hundreds of businesses around the country.
It’s not just big corporates that are showing their commitment to Apprenticeships – 47% of the employers creating new Apprenticeships are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Smaller organisations announcing plans to take on apprentices include Cambridgeshire retailer Crafting Time, Kent web designers Interactive Red, London charity Lives not Knives, Grimsby-based electrical contractor HYBRiD, Oldham construction firm Emanuel Whittaker and Penzance customer services company TR18 Contact.
Other companies that have pledged new Apprenticeships include BT, ITV, Network Rail, Be Wiser Insurance, Central Bedfordshire Council, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Ashtead Plant Hire, Southend Citizen Advice Bureau and Virgin Media.
Meanwhile, Capita Personal Independence Payment has pledged to make 5% of its non-healthcare workforce apprentices and launched a drive to hire more disabled young people onto Apprenticeships.
National Apprenticeship Week, which ran from 3-7 March, has also seen a boost to the new Traineeships, which give young people the work preparation training, English, mathematics and work experience they need to gain an Apprenticeship or other job.
Employers including the BBC and Port of Tilbury have pledged to give more young people Traineeships – as have Liverpool Football Club through a partnership with Myerscough College.
Meanwhile, Westminster Kingsway College has launched a new Parliamentary Traineeship programme so 16-23 year olds can get a chance to gain experience in the corridors of power.
Damaging divide between vocational and academic learning
Business secretary Vince Cable said: “The Government is putting an end to the damaging divide between vocational and academic learning. We are committing to the biggest ever investment in Apprenticeships and are on track to create two million Apprenticeships over the course of this Parliament.”
Cable continued: “The resounding success of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week demonstrates that apprenticeships are deservedly becoming more popular with businesses of all sizes. Apprentices already contribute £1.8 billion to the economy and, with these further commitments, thousands more people will now be able to gain the practical skills they need to build careers and help firms grow.”
Friday’s announcement follows new research revealing that nearly half (44%) of employers intend to take on one or more apprentice in the next five years2. Further research from the Association of Accounting Technicians has revealed that apprentices have delivered around £1.8 billion of net economic benefits to UK organisations in the last year3.
National Apprenticeship Week has also seen the Prime Minister announce the Government’s commitment to creating two million Apprenticeships over the lifetime of the current Parliament. David Cameron announced the next round of Trailblazer employers – 29 new groups of employers who will lead the transformation of Apprenticeships. The new trailblazers span sectors from accountancy to aviation and nursing to retail and include small businesses and sector specialists as well as some big names such as Tata Steel, John Lewis, British Airways and BMW4.
Online mentoring service to begin
Other announcements during last week included the launch of new Higher, degree level, Apprenticeships in Space Engineering and Nursing.
To help bring more SME employers on board, further support has been announced including a new online mentoring service entitled Apprenticemakers.
Meanwhile, the AvLive feed of vacancies which training providers and partners can use to promote Apprenticeship vacancies has been upgraded following a successful six-month testing period.
Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock MP explained: “We want to make going to University or into an Apprenticeship the new norm. Over half of young people say they would like to do an Apprenticeship if one were available. As National Apprenticeship Week 2014 comes to a close, we can announce that 20,432 new positions are to be created.”
The minister continued: “In order to give young people the best chance possible of securing an Apprenticeship or job and unlock their potential, we need to help them become work-ready. The new Traineeships will be crucial to that.”
In conclusion, Hancock said: “Apprenticeships are delivering for employers, young people, adults and the economy and are increasing at a record rate. Nearly every employer that takes on an apprentice reports benefits to their business, including the ability to grow their own talents.”
Now in its seventh year, National Apprenticeship Week is designed to celebrate Apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. The overarching theme for 2014 has been Great Apprenticeships to demonstrate that Apprenticeships are great for business, personal careers and create opportunities for both employers and apprentices.
Visit apprenticeships.org.uk or https://bitly.com/Traineeships2014 for more information.
1Data sourced from monitoring press coverage during National Apprenticeship Week and through press releases sent to the National Apprenticeship Service and registrations on the National Apprenticeship Service Pledgeometer
National Apprenticeship Service: delivering Apprenticeships and Traineeships
The National Apprenticeship Service supports and co-ordinates the delivery of Apprenticeships and Traineeships throughout England.
The organisation is responsible for increasing the number of Apprenticeship and Traineeship opportunities and providing a dedicated, responsive service for both employers and learners. This includes simplifying the process of recruiting an apprentice or trainee through Apprenticeship vacancies, an online system where employers can advertise their vacancies and potential apprentices or trainees can apply.
Apprenticeships bring considerable value to organisations, employers, individuals and the economy. Businesses across the country are increasingly realising the enormous benefits that Apprenticeships create, not only in terms of developing a highly skilled workforce but also by boosting productivity and staff retention.
Research shows that Apprenticeships are an optimal way of training, developing and skilling people for the future, helping businesses to secure a supply of people with the skills and qualities they need and which are often not available on the external job market.
A Traineeship is an education and training programme with a work placement that is focused on giving young people the skills and experience that employers are looking for. At its core are work preparation training, English and maths for those who need it, and a high quality work experience placement.
Traineeships are for young people aged 16 to 23 who are motivated to get a job but who lack the skills and experience that employers are looking for. Traineeships prepare young people for their future careers by helping them to become ‘work ready’. They give young people the skills and experience to be able to compete for an Apprenticeship or other job.
Traineeships are a stepping stone to future success for young people, businesses and the wider economy.
There has never been a better time to employ an apprentice or start an Apprenticeship.
Visit apprenticeships.org.uk or call 08000 150600 to find out more.
The Skills Funding Agency
The Skills Funding Agency is a partner organisation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Its job is to fund and promote adult further education (FE) and skills training in England, including Traineeships and Apprenticeships, in a way which supports economic growth.
The Agency delivers £4.1 billion of skills training through contracts with over 1,000 colleges, private training organisations and employers with a highly effective supply chain that means FE meets local need in the most cost-effective way.
Within the Skills Funding Agency there are two customer-facing services: the National Apprenticeship Service, which is responsible for increasing the number of Traineeship and Apprenticeship opportunities, and the National Careers Service, which provides impartial careers information, advice and guidance online, by telephone or face-to-face.