Birmingham needs more apprenticeship schemes


It’s National Apprenticeship Week until 15th March 2013. Now is a good time to consider the benefits that apprenticeship schemes offer businesses.

It’s generally agreed that apprenticeships are a good thing. Speaking on the second day of National Apprenticeship Week last year, David Cameron stated that apprenticeships are ‘equipping businesses with the skills they need to rebalance our economy and distribute opportunity more widely.’

High calibre young people who are not suited to academics are given the chance to enter their industry of choice. This is extremely important in today’s economic climate. Despite an overall rise in UK employment figures, youth unemployment levels have passed the alarming figure of 1million.

Additionally, they help to increase levels of skilled staff in industries that are suffering shortages. Traditionally, apprenticeships were an entry route to trade professions only, but in recent years, the trend has spread to a number of other sectors too, including the legal and fire protection industries.

An overwhelming number of employers are finding that the graduates they would normally recruit are entering the workplace without the basic skills required for the job they have been hired to perform. There is now a growing need for candidates to prove they aren’t simply vessels of knowledge, but that they can put skills into practice too.

How can businesses benefit from an apprenticeship scheme?

Employers can take over the training of their apprentice to ensure they have the exact skills required, while saving money on hiring skilled staff members. Employers will also be adding new blood to their business, which is also good for the economy and for maintaining industry standards. Other staff members may become motivated to perform; the enthusiasm of apprentices tends to have a positive impact on the overall working environment.

Additionally, businesses may see improved job satisfaction and better staff retention rates. Investing in somebody by paying them to train is a superb way of building a strong relationship with your employee and making them feel that their position is secure. This will encourage them to stay with you once their training is complete.

Birmingham’s budget cut

However, the success of apprenticeships in Birmingham is challenged by the recent announcement of future budget cuts.  It has been reported that 1000 people will be made jobless over the next two years, which will likely have a devastating consequences on the number of businesses willing to invest in apprentices.

What type of funding is available?

There are several existing initiatives that will help you with these costs. For instance Apprentice Grant for Employers (AGE) provides grant of £1500 to support SMEs taking on apprentices aged 16 – 24. You will be eligible for this scheme if you employ fewer than 1,000 people.

Photo credit: gcoldironjr2003 via photopin cc

Author Bio

Natasha Sabin is a community manager from Island Fire Protection, a company that’s committed to giving fire safety tips to help businesses comply with the law. Click here to see their website.

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