Employers need to do more to meet demands for apprenticeships and traineeships

More than 20,000 new Apprenticeships were pledged by employers last week as part of National Apprenticeship Week (3-7 March). This is a 50% increase in pledges made as part of the Week in 2013. Importantly, 47% of the employer pledges made this year came from small and medium sized enterprises as well as large employers like Lloyds Banking Group, Greene King, Starbucks and Whitbread.

National Apprenticeship Week also saw a boost to the new Traineeships, which give young people the work preparation training, English, maths and work experience they need to get 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.

This increase demonstrates that Apprenticeships and Traineeships are deservedly becoming more popular with business of all sizes.

However, recent research revealed that there has been a 43% rise in the number of applications for Apprenticeships, meaning there is now an average of 12 young people applying for each Apprenticeship vacancy. To meet this demand, the government is extending its call to employers to create more opportunities for young people.

Apprenticeships now cover more than 170 skills and industries across 1,500 job roles, over an extensive range of skill levels. This includes Apprenticeship frameworks in legal services, the IT sector, Human Resources and Project management.

The National Apprenticeship Service has been carrying out various activities to ensure that employers are kept abreast of new Apprenticeship framework developments and are provided with the most up-to-date and relevant information.

Recent activity to support employers includes:

  • A webinar, hosted by Personnel Today, that discussed the introduction of Apprenticeships in Human Resources
  • The launch of a new sector film which focuses on the Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Services
  • The development of two more new sector films to highlight Higher Apprenticeships in Project Management and Human Resources. Both films will launch by April 2014

The webinar provides insight from two of the City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2013– one large (British Telecoms) and one small (Walter Smith Fine Foods) – who discussed the positive impacts that apprentices have had on their business and how they managed to embed apprentice recruitment in their organisation.

The Legal Services film highlights the opportunities that are now available to young people in the legal sector. It explores how the recently introduced Higher Apprenticeships in Legal Services, in association with CILEx are benefiting companies in the legal sector and how apprentices are making a valuable contribution to fee-earning activities while also helping other team members to develop new skills.

The film, available at apprentice.tv features Top 50 national law firm Weightmans LLP, which took on the first-ever Legal Services higher apprentice in the country in May 2013.

The two new films, launching in the next month, are part of the National Apprenticeship Service’s Sector in the Spotlight film series which aims to promote Apprenticeships in key industry sectors.  The films illustrate how employers of all sizes and in a range of different sectors have benefited from hiring apprentices.

Furthermore, the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (for 16 to 24 year olds) means small to medium sized employers who choose to grow their business through Apprenticeships can access support funding of £1,500.   The grant is open to organisations employing up to 1,000 people, that have never employed an apprentice before, or have not recruited one in the past 12 months.

There has never been a better time to employ an apprentice, or start an Apprenticeship.

Visit apprenticeships.org.uk or call 08000 150 600 to find out more.