The world has moved on a lot since apprenticeships were last at the forefront of skills training, but the basic principles are the same - apprenticeships produce work-ready individuals who combine theoretical knowledge with practical skills, and who are already familiar with the culture, behaviours and expectations of the world of work.
What has changed is the nature of the skills that industry now requires – the combination of new technologies, rigorous licensing and regulatory requirements and the need to compete in a global marketplace is making it especially challenging to recruit skilled personnel, meaning that ‘growing your own talent’ is not only an attractive proposition but – in many cases – the only way forward.
Further Education colleges are not traditionally the first port of call for an employer seeking to recruit an apprentice, or to re-train or upskill an existing employee via an apprenticeship programme. However, a combination of their expert knowledge of funding and awarding body requirements, their academic and occupational expertise and their industry-standard facilities means they’re extremely well-placed to deliver the theoretical and practical elements of apprenticeship training, leaving businesses to complement and reinforce this learning via practical application in the workplace.
The substantial cuts in government funding mean that colleges are having to focus more and more on commercial income to achieve financial stability, and in order to do this they are forging ever closer links with their local employers. By working in partnership with the employers on their patch, and developing and delivering training programmes that address specific skills training needs, they are not only boosting their income but also attracting industry investment in purpose-built, industry standard facilities that fully prepare individuals for employment.
The new Trailblazer apprenticeship standards are helping to ensure that current apprenticeship frameworks are fit for purpose and can be tailored to meet the needs of businesses large and small. Even a micro- business, where the passing on of skills is absolutely vital to its survival, can access – and afford – an apprentice, with government funding available to cover wages for the first few months.
With the UK construction industry entering a significant growth phase, the best time to consider taking on an apprentices is surely now.
, and we know that an apprentice
can contribute to the business’ bottom line right from day one - research
carried out for BIS shows that 65% of
employers report improved productivity in their business as a result of
employing an apprentice, and 9 out of 10 apprenticeship employers hoping to achieve business benefits confirm that