Newcastle Council sees fall in apprenticeship applications, despite positive feedback

Despite local employers being keen to take on apprentices, Newcastle Council has seen a fall in the number of young people using its apprenticeship service.

The council service, which has been running for the past three years, has helped secure employment for more than 90% of its recruits and has received positive feedback from the SMEs using it.

Elaine Withycombe, employment and skills coordinator at Newcastle City Council, said: “The main obvious change to previous years is the raised participation age. From discussions with the likes of Connexions and some other providers some opinion is that perhaps the message isn’t necessarily clear to young people and parents of what the options are. But the participation age being raised for young people does not just mean they have to pursue full-time study at school. It includes full-time work or volunteering combined with part-time education or training. It also includes apprenticeships.

“Employers can expand their team with a young, vibrant person. It’s about succession planning, bringing young people in and training them up to replace retiring workers. All too often young people go back to school and quickly realise that it’s not what they want. They’d prefer to learn on the job, gain qualifications and enjoy money all at the same time. We’ve had great feedback from the employers who use our service and there’s definitely no shortage of demand for trainees.”