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National Apprenticeships Week 2014

Everyone knows about apprenticeships, right? There are adverts on the Tube and on buses, and government figures tell us over 850,000 people started an apprenticeship last year – which is almost 370,000 more than in 2009/10.

However, in a survey of 200 employers for the REC’s monthly JobsOutlook report last year, over two thirds of the employers interviewed (71%) told us that they do not offer apprenticeships.

This is a great shame as there are some clear and tangible benefits to employers who offer apprenticeships. Many employers see apprenticeships as a way of bringing on board a new generation of talent. The programme allows their new recruits to learn about the operational structure and culture of the whole business. They can also be a great tool for spotting future senior managers. At Airbus, for example, 70% of their senior management team started in the business as an apprentice.

For individuals, the biggest incentive is they can “earn as they learn”. At a recent careers fair in Essex for the Inspiring Women campaign, we were delighted that the young people visiting our stand had not only heard about apprenticeships, they wanted to know where to sign up!

In spite of the rhetoric, something is stopping UK businesses from offering what sounds like a win-win for everyone. Government drives to make sure the funding available for apprenticeships is informed by employer needs is a step in the right direction but it seems that alone will not encourage more employers to offer apprenticeships.

Instead, what we need is more information targeted at employers. Better stats on the business case for apprenticeships would be great and at the same time, we need a place where employers can share what works for them in terms of delivering apprenticeships and what doesn’t. This is all the more important for the SME community. As the market hots up and the race for talent intensifies, recruiters should be looking at how apprenticeships can help businesses source new talent.

This week is National Apprenticeships Week and there will be a range of activities around to help you find out all you need to know about apprenticeships. So if you do nothing else this week, have a read of the support materials available for National Apprenticeships Week and we challenge you to ask just one client this week – have they thought about taking on an apprentice?


Hewett Recruitment are involved in Apprenticeships in Business facilitated by Parkinson Wright Solicitors, bringing apprentices together to help develop crucial business skills and promoting benefits of apprenticeships to businesses.

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