One of the UK’s greatest initiatives was the apprenticeship. In a lot of cases they were indentured and for a five-year period. It was widely used to train people to acquire a wide range of practical skills.
It enabled the UK to have a well trained and qualified work force. It was the envy of the world. So, what went wrong? For some reason in the 1970s they became less popular as most large companies believed they had enough people and the cost of employing apprentices was something they could do without. Historically apprentices had been paid the equivalent of today’s £3.75 per hour.
In recent times the education system has been geared towards 50% of young people going to University. The tuition fees have been ramped up and if you add in accommodation and living costs most students leave with a debt of £50,000. Research shows that many of these graduates will struggle to find work. They would have been better off with an apprenticeship. Paid work with a structured education programme, thus giving them lifetime skills.
There seems to be disconnect between the funding of the education system which rewards schools colleges who send students on to university as opposed to an apprenticeship. The apprenticeship levy has not helped either.
There is one local initiative with a website called nextgenmakers.co.uk. Its aim is to make employers large and small aware of the benefits of apprenticeships and has formal arrangements with local colleges.
It deserves to succeed because they are acting to put the 1,000 + young people who will finish college in May into apprenticeships. Now most of these youngsters have no job to go to. What a waste. Look at their web site and see if you could take one of these youngsters on to the long term benefit to your business.
I must declare an interest as I was an apprentice from 1956 to 1961.