More applicants to apprenticeship scheme than ever before is ‘heartening’ message

Record numbers of top students are signing up for apprenticeships with engineering, IT and facilities firm NG Bailey, the company has revealed during National Apprenticeship Week.

The company, which currently has more than 130 apprentices on its books across 12 different apprenticeships programmes, has reported a surge in applications for its 2016 intake – particularly from high-quality candidates.


Shift in perceptions

Some 4,000 applications were made in the first four weeks after the recruitment process opened, which was double the number seen in 2015. When the process closed, the company had received the highest number of applicants in its history.

Frank Clayton, head of group learning and development at NG Bailey, said a shift in the way people view apprenticeships – recognising the benefits of earning and learning together – has driven the increase in applicants, as well as accounting for the quality of applications.

He said: “We have been overwhelmed this year, not only by the number of applications received but also by the quality. It’s significantly improved on previous years.

“The answers being provided on application forms are much more detailed and thorough, proving this is a considered career choice.


First choice

“It’s obvious that people have researched their career path and are applying because of a desire to undertake an apprenticeship, rather than because of a lack of other options.

“There’s also more relevant work experience this year than ever before. Applicants are approaching construction firms, gaining experience or attending careers fairs. To see applicants proactively researching and understanding the benefits this path offers them is hugely encouraging.

“It’s clear that the message about earning whilst learning is being heard and young people and schools are now seeing apprenticeships as a high quality and prestigious path to a successful career.”


Long heritage

NG Bailey is recognised for having one of the UK’s best apprenticeship schemes, having trained more than 5,500 apprentices since the 1960s, with 60 places available this year.

The company spends around £3 million a year on apprenticeships and employee training and development.

David Hurcomb, chief executive at NG Bailey, added: “Offering apprenticeships has been, and continues to be, vital to the success and future of NG Bailey, and to the industry.

“Apprentices currently make up more than five per cent of our workforce, and play a key role in increasing the pool of talent available to meet the future requirements of our business.

“I’m heartened that the messages about the benefits of apprenticeships are finally beginning to take hold among young people and educationalists and I’m excited by the potential that this year’s candidates are already demonstrating.”