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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Only 20% of employers hire apprentices – and falling


A mere one in five employers has taken on an apprentice over the last year, with the majority harbouring negative perceptions of the current workplace training system, including its relevancy to them.

To make matters worse – and despite the personal urging of Prime Minister for businesses to take on more such trainees– even fewer firms (15%) plan to go down this route over the next 12 months.
David Cameron is banking on the private sector to offer 250,000 extra workplace training places next year, rising to 400,000 per annum from 2014/15. Last week, he pleaded with employers to make more apprenticeship positions available, claiming “not enough” were delivering – at a time when youth unemployment stands at 20%.
But a survey among 6,000 UK organisations undertaken by the British Chambers of Commerce revealed that more than half (54%) of those employers that had failed to take on apprentices simply believed that such on-the-job training was not relevant for companies in their sector.
Other key issues were negative perceptions of the apprenticeship system and a belief that learning frameworks were too rigid. This situation made it difficult for participants to choose the most relevant modules for their chosen career path and the needs of their employer.
John Longworth, the BCC’s director general, said: “Our statistics show that the quality level of many apprenticeships is not high enough and too few businesses see apprenticeships as relevant to their sector. More must be done to put apprenticeships at the heart of workplace-based training and future economic growth.”
The study entitled ‘Skills for Business: More to Learn?’ also indicated that, despite national unemployment hitting 2.57 million, some 45% of employers were finding it ‘very’ or ‘quite’ difficult to find suitable candidates to fill vacancies due to inadequate skills. These included poor levels of literacy and numeracy as well as softer skills such as time-keeping and communication.
Author Profile Picture
Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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