Campaigning for more apprentices

THE National Apprenticeship Service, with partners (including The Journal), last week launched another 100 days of campaigning to encourage more employers to take on an apprentice.

This coincides with the introduction of a £1,500 grant for small and medium employers who haven’t previously offered apprenticeships. The same campaign last year led to over 1,300 new apprenticeship places being offered throughout the region.

With unemployment of young people at alarmingly high rates (one in five in some parts of the region) this push for extra apprenticeship opportunities couldn’t come at a better time, especially when we are already witnessing a number of employers in key sectors identifying potential skills shortages moving forward.

There is a growing evidence base that apprenticeships are “good for business”. A British Chamber of Commerce survey from last year and a recent Populus report showed that 81% of businesses who take on an apprentice have seen an increase in productivity, with a similar impact on their customer base and on the morale of staff – both benefiting dramatically from the introduction of apprentices in the workplace.

Apprenticeships are good for the economy too. A National Audit Office report shows that the return on investment is as much as 18 to 1, so for every pound spent on developing an apprentice, the economy gains £18 in return. That’s a dramatic return on investment.

As a regional office of the TUC we have recently benefited from two apprentices, and our experience certainly backs up the findings of the research. The apprentices that we have employed and developed have brought new ideas, a fresh way of looking at issues and a commitment and loyalty to our organisation that has had a much broader impact than anticipated. Both are now employed in more senior areas of work and one of the unexpected bonuses is that once the apprenticeship was complete there remains a hunger for learning and development that continues to pay dividends.

The Northern TUC is in the process of taking on apprentice number three, with a commitment to train that individual to a Higher Level Skills standard while they help our organisation to deliver excellence in key areas of our work. We have enjoyed and benefited from the support of NAS and very positive engagement with a range of potential providers. Now is a really important time for employers to step up and provide quality opportunities for apprentices.

:: Kevin Rowan, Regional Secretary, Northern TUC

Paul ChampionStrategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

Sent from my iPad

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