It’s not so long ago that the choice a bright school leaver faced was “trade or profession?” Those wanting to enter into a profession continued in further or higher education, while those wanting to learn a trade went on to do an apprenticeship.
Changes in the national economy, industries and social structures over the past few decades mean that such easily delineated choices no longer apply – as the range of higher education qualifications on offer broadened, the quantity of available trade apprenticeships waned. However, following a process of revitalisation, apprenticeships are now enjoying a resurgence.
Not Just About Learning a Trade
Apprenticeships are no longer the sole province of traditional trades; yes, you can still embark on an apprenticeship in the building industry, for example, but they are also available in fields such as transport, music, and the civil service – and we even have our own apprenticeship scheme here at Seven Resourcing.
Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich and Under-Secretary of State for Health, recently visited our office and one of the many things we discussed was the great value apprenticeship schemes offer to both the apprentice and the employer. We’re big fans, because we know the benefits apprenticeships offer – Richard Cooke, our MD, himself came through an apprenticeship scheme.
In many modern apprenticeships, as well as learning job-specific skills, you get to study for a relevant qualification over 1–4 years. You learn on the job as well as in the classroom or lecture hall; it’s the best of both worlds. And with the criticisms sometimes levelled at new graduates – that they might have a nice qualification but that doesn’t necessarily make them “workplace ready” – it could be argued that apprentices already have an advantage.
Independent research overwhelmingly shows that apprenticeships provide an opportunity to build skills capacity within the business, increase productivity, loyalty and quality of work, as well as reducing staff turnover. They can also reduce the overall costs of recruitment.
David Frost, former Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, has said of apprenticeship schemes: “Because apprenticeships are based in the workplace, employers get the skills they really need. They are vital to the future success, not only of businesses across the country, but also for a vibrant economy.”
Perhaps the biggest benefit is that apprenticeship training and learning helps open minds and that, in turn, opens doors. We know this because here at Seven Resourcing we have a 100% success rate in taking our own apprentices into full-time permanent positions.
If you’d like to discuss the value of apprenticeship schemes or maybe even apply to join ours, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.