Businesses must work to remove outdated stigmas associated with apprenticeships

Businesses must work to remove outdated stigmas associated with apprenticeships

It’s National Apprenticeship Week 2017, landing just one month before the Apprentice Levy comes into action.

As part of the Government’s drive to create three million apprenticeships and double the size of the apprenticeship market to £2.5billion by 2020, the levy will be introduced as of 06 April 2017.

To meet this target, businesses need to actively spend time raising awareness of the value they have on prospective candidate’s careers and change outdated perceptions.

Simon Moffatt, Human Resources Director at Prudential’s UK insurance business, comments: “The tenth National Apprenticeship Week is celebrating the success of apprenticeships in the past decade which has seen participation hit record levels with 899,940 funded apprentices in the 2015/16 academic year.

“However, the message on the wide range of opportunities available, with more than 1,500 job roles across a range of 170 industries on offer, is not getting through and too many school leavers are still not aware of the full range of career options available.”

According to research from MyKindaFuture, the survey found that 58% of young people would view themselves as still ‘in training’ while undertaking an apprenticeship, with only a quarter seeing themselves as having a career following completion. In addition, a third of young people hold back from applying for apprenticeship programmes as they fear they would be considered inferior by their peers.

A lack of industry awareness was also apparent, with apprenticeship schemes most likely to be associated with the Construction, Engineering and Energy sectors (65%), compared to Hospitality (29%) and Retail (29%).

Furthermore, a lack of communication could hinder organisations from finding talent, as nearly half (47%) of school leavers do not know about apprenticeship opportunities and 61% do not know which employers offer apprenticeships, separate research from Prudential found.

The study revealed that many young people are put off by outdated beliefs that apprenticeships are focused on manual labour and that opportunities for girls are limited to nursing, health and beauty and childcare.

Moffat also spoke to us about why it’s important for businesses to offer training: “In helping to address the issues of youth unemployment and the provision of vocational training, structured apprenticeship programmes are increasingly becoming an important part of the employment landscape.

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“By offering an apprenticeship programme, businesses have the opportunity to give young people a foot on the career ladder, helping to make sure that they can gain the skills they need to fulfil their full potential, and ultimately to develop a talent stream for the future.

“While starting an apprenticeship programme undoubtedly requires a great deal of effort and commitment on behalf of the employer, it can be hugely rewarding, not only for the young people but for the employees they work across the organisation. 

“Ultimately National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) is an opportunity to raise the profile of apprenticeships as a viable career option for young people. It’s provides the chance to raise awareness of the benefits of vocational routes into employment among both this year’s and future school leavers as they look to map out their career paths.

“For HR departments in organisations already offering apprenticeships, NAW is an opportunity to raise the profile of their own schemes further, helping ensure that they attract a widest possible pool of candidates.

“For those working in organisations which do not currently offer an apprenticeship option, the increased publicity can perhaps help to spark a conversation to assess the viability of offering such opportunities in the future.”

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