City business chief slams negative report on apprenticeships

A NOTTS business leader has criticised a Parliamentary report which questioned the value of short apprenticeships.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has said apprenticeships on offer must improve.

It said that a fifth of apprenticeships last less than six months and are of no benefit.

But George Cowcher, chief executive of the Derbyshire and Notts Chamber of Commerce, said many adults had reaped the rewards of these apprenticeships, securing top jobs for themselves.

He said: “It’s important to remember that the number of adult apprentices who successfully completed their apprenticeship was more than 75 per cent in 2010-11 – compared with just a third six years earlier.

“There is a huge weight of evidence supporting the business case for apprenticeships. In general, apprentices are hard-working, loyal, committed and keen to learn – and the vast majority turn out to be huge assets for the organisations they work for.

“Apprenticeships are an essential part of creating the highly-skilled and capable workforce our economy demands.”

The chamber is working closely with the Nottingham Post in its Get Notts Working campaign. We are looking to create 200 apprentice posts by the end of next month, and have already passed the 150 mark. The new report followed a promise from the Government to place greater emphasis on longer and more comprehensive apprenticeships that better prepare people for work.

The Financial Skills Partnership has also called for a focus on quality from apprentices. Chief executive officer Liz Field said: “We must be sure that we are not seeking to increase the number of apprenticeships at the expense of focusing on quality. Companies need to benefit from fit-for-purpose apprenticeship schemes.”

Mr Cowcher added: “Crucially, the apprenticeship brand must not be weakened in order for the government to achieve its commitments. Work-based learning must come first in any apprenticeship programme.”

Get Notts Working aims to support local people in their efforts to find a job. It is a partnership between the Post, Notts and Derbyshire Chamber of Commerce, the National Apprenticeship Service, Nottinghamshire City and County Employment and Skills Board, local councils and companies.

Paul Champion

📱: 07540 704920

Twitter: @blogapprentice
Skype: paulchampion31

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