Becoming an Apprentice – a question of age?

Written by Charlotte Nancarrow on 19th January 2012
Posted in Work-Based Learning

Reporter John Sergeant addressed a very topical question this evening on BBC One’s The One Show – is becoming an Apprentice a question of age?

Highlighting two case studies, showing Apprentices from either end of the age spectrum it was interesting and useful to see the viewpoint of both the learner and the employer on a typically sensitive topic. As many of those working out in the work-based learning sector and hopefully a good percentage of employers too will know anyone of working age 16+ is entitled to complete an Apprenticeship, depending on their previous attaintment and eligibility for government funding. But how many of the nation’s Apprentice workforce are indeed 25+?

The report highlighted a lady aged 61 working in as a Retail Assistant, completing her Apprenticeship, retraining and learning the ropes from scratch. As a learner she was enthusiastic and reassured by the opportunity to train in a different sector and be afforded the same opportunities as her colleagues. Her employer expressed the benefits of employing staff of all age ranges and the diversity this brings to the team and the service offer to the customer.

However, a statistic from the report was that 90% of Government funding for Apprenticeships is reserved for 16-24 year olds. Is it common in workplaces that the vast majority of the Apprentice workforce is under the age of 25? Or, are more 25+ year olds looking for training opportunities that are not available or known about?

Is the notion of becoming an Apprentice still only considered by the younger generations and are we doing enough to promote an all inclusive approach to training, irrelevant of age to establish a more, well balanced and content workforce?


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Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

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