Protect and support apprenticeships – AAM CEO

The chief executive of one of the UK’s leading asset managers has called for a culture change in the way that apprenticeships are perceived by employers and parents. Martin Gilbert is the CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management (AAM) and has written today of the need to emphasise the real quality of the training delivered by apprenticeships.

“At Aberdeen Asset Management we recognise the importance of apprenticeships to young people and to society as a whole,” Gilbert says. “We started our apprenticeship scheme in 2012 and so far 32 colleagues have taken part in the programme. We were a keen supporter of the Press and Journal’s Apprentice 100 campaign, which created 150 new traineeships across the north and north-east in 100 days. There’s a young generation entering the careers market that is brimful of talent, but youngsters need guidance and training to enable them to fulfil their potential. That’s where MAs play a crucial role.”


‘Perceptions must change’

However, Gilbert points out that perceptions must change. He cites a survey that shows that from a representative sample of 2,000 people in employment in the UK showed that less than 20% of working parents with children under 18 thought apprenticeships have the same status as a university education. The survey also revealed only 15% of parents reported that they or their children had received any information on alternatives to university education from teachers.

“Apprenticeships have a PR problem,” he says. “The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) says: “Apprenticeships are an important alternative to university education… This is particularly important in today’s labour market as employers increasingly ask for job-specific skills and work experience.” But, despite the fact that some apprenticeships are equivalent to a degree, research by the CIPD reveals a public perception of them as being inferior.”

For its part, Gilbert says Aberdeen is continuing to push MAs as a viable and attractive alternative to university. “At Aberdeen we’ve found all our apprentices to be keen, motivated individuals who are committed to on-the-job training and learning. If they develop their natural aptitudes through a wide-ranging programme, with up to two years to discover the specialisation that best suits their interests and talents, then the path to a highly successful and rewarding career lies open to them.”