March 2015

The general election is just round the corner…

This, of course, is nothing new. With the rising costs of tuition fees, an apprenticeship is being pushed forward as a viable alternative to university, and rightly so. It has many benefits and it’s great to see the attention it’s being given. Initiatives like Apprenticeship Week (9-13 March) only help to promote this further. The week is about getting businesses of all kinds to take on apprentices. Furthermore, the initiative, co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) uses the week as an opportunity to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive effect it has on an individual, the business and the wider economy.

The effect on the wider economy is a pertinent point. As the economy continues to grow, skilled workers are needed to help with productivity and address the lack of talent in certain companies and sectors.

Since 2010, there have been more than two million apprenticeship starts, according to the NAS. This is great but it’s important not to rest on our laurels. Many companies are still not taking advantage of the myriad of talent available to them. At a time when there are are thousands out of employment, there is always more we can do.

Positively, women now make up 55 per cent of all apprenticeships. Even better is the fact that 1,000 businesses are now involved in designing apprenticeship standards. Employers often moan that they struggle to find the skills needed so involving them in the process can only be a good thing. We need to be doing everything in our power to make apprenticeships simple and accessible for all.

If you’re a small business, you can get a £1500 grant to help cover the cost of starting a new apprentice aged 16-24. To ensure the apprenticeship system works for all, there is a real need for stability now with a focus on learning, content and a genuine understanding of the needs of employers. Those who are involved have said that apprenticeships have helped to improve the firm’s productivity.

This month’s theme is learning to learn. We all know that we can learn in a variety of ways. In the modern workforce, there are many tools and resources available to help us do our jobs better. When productivity is the main aim of the game, can you afford not to get involved in initiatives like apprenticeships?

Food for thought.

Until next month, happy reading!

Seun Von Robert-Edomi, Managing Editor



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