More support for employers could double ‘apprenticeship appeal’

9 February 2012

The number of employers prepared to take on an apprentice would more than double if the right package of support was available from Government and learning providers, says a new survey of 1,000 employers.

The YouGov survey also found that only 19 per cent of employers currently employ an apprentice, but if they had all the support they needed, 40 per cent would hire an apprentice.

The polling also shows the need for a focus on younger apprentices and smaller businesses – 61 per cent of the large employers surveyed employed an apprentice aged under 25, which compares to only 11 per cent of small businesses.

The survey, commissioned by education company Pearson Work-Based Learning, in partnership with NIACE comes as part of National Apprenticeship Week (6 – 12 February).

David Hughes, Chief Executive of NIACE, said:

“Despite the welcome investment that Government has made in apprenticeships, a huge number of employers remain unaware of the business benefits of taking on apprentices. With further encouragement and support they could be offering many thousands of opportunities for young people to begin their working lives and older people to start new careers.”

“We know that a well-run apprenticeship programme helps businesses to thrive, we just need to get that message across to more employers. There is work here for everyone concerned.”

“At NIACE we are committed to being even more pro-active over the coming months to help spread the word, supporting apprentices themselves to describe how they have benefited and how improvements can be made to ensure a quality apprenticeship system for all.”

Pearson, one of the largest apprenticeship providers in the country, is launching a Think Apprenticeship First campaign which aims to show British businesses the benefits of an apprentice while giving them the support and guidance on how to make it happen.

Trevor Luker, Managing Director of Pearson Work-Based Learning, said:

“We fully support the Government’s strategy to make apprenticeships appealing to firms of all sizes. We believe the best way to do this is by ensuring apprenticeships are high-quality and rigorous programmes; giving employers the information and support they need to think apprenticeships first when recruiting; and making it as easy as possible for an employer who’s interested in taking on an apprentice to cut through the hassle and paperwork.”

“We’ve put a support package together to help businesses and demonstrate the real added value that implementing an apprenticeship programme can have.”

NIACE has also published a report – The apprentices’ journey – to highlight how apprenticeships can transform lives and is holding a major conference in May in partnership with Pearson and other employers to promote the benefits of apprenticeships.