Boom in apprentice schemes in region
It’s good news for apprenticeships, with four in 10 businesses now operating schemes in the region and saying they want more trainees.
A new survey by Clydesdale Bank questioned more than 1,000 businesses, showing that 43% of East Anglian businesses operate an apprenticeship scheme, with 13% expecting to increase the number of apprentices they employ this year.
Martin Guildford, managing partner at Clydesdale in Cambridge, said: “For decades many East Anglian businesses have used apprenticeship schemes as a vital way of transferring skills and offering alternative routes to employment for young people, particularly in sectors such as manufacturing and service-based industries.
“With more young people now choosing not to go to university but looking to tackle the world of work early, it is important this young talent is captured by East Anglian businesses.”
The survey findings come 10 days after the launch of a campaign in the News, in association with Cambridge Regional College, to get 100 young people into apprenticeships in 100 days.
Official figures issued by the Office for National Statistics show applications for UK universities last year dropped by nearly 9%, largely due to the introduction of higher tuition fees.
Youth unemployment (among 16 to 24-year-olds) currently stands at 22.5%, the highest percentage since records began in 1992.
However, according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, last year more than 457,200 apprentices started new schemes – a 63% increase on the previous year.
Martin’s comments come shortly after a Government announcement which pledged £3.5m to help train 1,000 new apprenticeships in energy efficiency positions.
A House of Commons select committee is also examining how SMEs can best use apprenticeship schemes while the Apprenticeships and Skills (Public Procurement) Bill is being considered by MPs.
It will require certain public procurement contracts issued by public bodies to include a commitment by the contractor to provide apprenticeships and skills training.
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