8:00 AM March 10, 2022
As the UK economy slowly emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic, the creation of a skilled workforce that is fit for the future will be critical. And apprenticeships have a huge part to play in that.
Businesses regularly tell us they do not have the staff they need and struggle to recruit – yet apprenticeships are a fantastic way to ‘grow your own’, while tackling barriers to employment.
We published the new Economic Strategy for Norfolk & Suffolk earlier this year, and part of its focus is on people and skills. There are pockets of deprivation across urban, rural and coastal communities within Norfolk and Suffolk, all with quite different needs. Building confidence, aspirations, skill levels and improving digital and physical connectivity is key to opening up opportunities for both study and employment.
The VCSE (voluntary, community and social enterprise) sector has an important role to play – primarily through the provision of volunteering, work experience and entry-level employment opportunities for those who are not economically active and do not engage with traditional learning and employment activity .
However, there’s an onus on companies in all sectors to consider how they could enhance the prospects of tomorrow’s workforce – and in turn, the future of their business. Consider, for example, that a young person is 86% less likely to be unemployed or not in education or training if they have had four or more encounters with an employer, and can earn up to 22% more during their career.
It’s not just young people that make up the ‘workforce of the future’ – nor are apprenticeships limited to a specific age group. By thinking differently about apprenticeships, both employers and prospective employees have an opportunity to thrive, addressing clearly-defined skills gaps in the process.
With that in mind, it’s worth considering some of the most commonly-held myths about apprenticeships – and contrasting them with the reality.
Myth #1: Apprenticeships are only for young people
There is no upper age limit for apprenticeship training. Anyone aged 16 and over can enrol onto an apprenticeship, and newer higher and degree-level apprenticeships have seen more people undertaking training to reskill or upskill during their career.
Myth #2: Apprentices are poorly paid
Apprentices are paid employees of your business, earning a wage and with entitlement to benefits like annual leave. There is a minimum wage for apprenticeships – currently £4.81 per hour – but employers choose the wage they offer, and it’s important to consider the salary to make sure you attract and retain the best candidates.
Myth #3: Apprenticeships are only for trades and construction
This is not the case. There is a wide range of apprenticeship training available across sectors from ICT and digital to marketing, business administration, finance and occupations like nursing and physiotherapy. New standards are being developed all the time.
Myth #4: Apprenticeships don’t offer the same job opportunities as degrees
There are apprenticeship pathways which lead to degree-level roles. Apprenticeships can be just as valuable and open up as many opportunities as a degree. Apprenticeships are available from Level 2 (GCSE) up to Level 7 (Master’s Degree). Remember that as well as receiving this level of training, apprentices are working and earning throughout, which can make this is a very appealing route into a career.
Myth #5: Apprenticeships are only for new staff joining the business
There are lots of great options for businesses who want to use apprenticeships to upskill and reskill existing staff – and it’s becoming more common. Apprenticeship-funded training can allow staff to learn new skills, work towards a promotion or change their role within a business.
For more information on apprenticeships and how they could work for your business, visit www.newanglia.co.uk/apprenticeships or call 0300 333 6536.