The real apprentice

Chloe Bennett speaks to industry and Government experts to help outline why the modern route to success for the unemployed may be through a traditional apprenticeship.

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]pprenticeship schemes come in all shapes and sizes, are open to all age groups and work on the basis that an individual gains on the job experience and works towards a nationally recognised qualification in the process.
By implementing a blend of practical and theory training, individuals can be assured they are achieving the two vital skillsets that are required for anyone applying for work in the current job market. This summer has seen apprenticeship vacancies across the UK rise to 15,000.
“Whether you are interested in working in nursing, engineering or for a large company like the BBC, apprenticeships are a sure fire way to equip yourself with the right skills and experience for the job in hand,” comments Carl Bennett, Managing Director of Trade Skills 4U.
“In addition, although age permitting, funding is available to cover the costs of training and the employer can be offered up to £1,500 for taking you on.”

Manufacturing and engineering industries have enjoyed an increase in take up of more than 70% over the past three years.

On a recent visit to Tradeskills4u’s training facility near Gatwick, Barry Sheerman (Labour MP for Huddersfield and Chair of the Education and Skills Select Committee) pledged his support for apprenticeships and explained that his goals are clear for bettering education and employment opportunities.
“Together we are working for a more sustainable future and this begins with providing impending generations with the right opportunities to progress. I have always been in great support of the apprenticeship and the impact of small businesses and their importance of the future.
“My own view is that there should be no such thing as unemployment for anyone under 25 years of age. Until 25, everyone should be in education, training, high quality work experience or a job. It is my job to help encourage every community in every town in every constituency to forge a new partnership of employers, educators, and trainers to tackle the local challenge. The mission is simple: we need more young people to have jobs.”
Modern apprenticeships are becoming attractive options for school leavers as recent reports outline that the manufacturing and engineering industries have enjoyed an increase in take up of more than 70% over the past three years.Figures like this help highlight that the UK is slowly getting to where we want to be but more needs to be done so that young people realise what a great opportunities are on offer through apprenticeships.
“With Government help, businesses like ourselves can continue doing what we can to ensure young people are getting the right skills they need to get started in a career,” says Carl.
“Opportunities are endless in the world of electrics and most people forget that this is an industry that is simply continuing to grow. Wherever you see a socket or a switch, an electrician has been there to install it.”
On the other side of the training, apprentices like Tom Ward, currently on Trade Skills 4U’s City & Guilds 2357 apprenticeship course, believes that more needs to be done to encourage and financially support those looking to enter the schemes. As someone who always wanted to be an electrician, Tom realised that an apprenticeship was the best way to get into the industry.
“I started my apprenticeship knowledge training with Trade Skills 4U in April this year. I’m currently working with EDES Ltd in London and have a goal of completing the entire scheme by this time next year.
“I wasn’t completely aware of my funding options and the incentives available for employers, which would have really helped me in the job seeking process. I’m lucky enough to be in the bracket where my training is fully funded but more could be done to financially support and encourage those who aren’t.
“Apprenticeships aren’t just for school leavers – a lot of the guys on my course are a lot older than me. We have a 45 year old, 38 year old and 39 year old amongst a range of twenty-something’s all taking the course to better themselves and their knowledge in the industry. I think it’s just me and one other lad that are able to receive funding and out of a class of 12 that means 10 are funding it from their own back pocket.”
“Tom makes a great point in addressing support,” agrees Carl Bennett. “I think if more could be done to help support everyone taking an apprenticeship, irrespective of age, we might find that the national shortage of electricians begins to decrease.”
[tabs type=”horizontal”][tabs_head][tab_title]Apprenticeship Stats[/tab_title][/tabs_head][tab]
665,900 – Total number of apprentices (2010/11)
50.4% – percentage of female apprentices (2010/11)
68.3% – percentage of apprentices under 25 (2010/11) [/tab][/tabs]
[author image=”” ]Chloe Bennett is the Digital PR Executive for Trade Skills 4U, Britain’s premier electrical and renewable energy training provider. Since Chloe joined the company, Trade Skills 4U have trained more people in their range of City & Guilds electrical qualifications than any other training provider in the UK. Chloe has also been key in the creation of one of the UK’s fast emerging Solar PV wholesalers – – and currently manages the PR and marketing for both companies.[/author]