By Ododo Ediagbonya, Employability and Enterprise Project Officer in the Economic Development Office
Apprenticeships are a key talking point for government, with apprenticeships seen as a method of addressing skills shortages and stimulating economic growth. As part of this refocus on apprenticeships, last year the Government announced plans to increase the number of apprenticeship starts to 3 million. Alongside this, from April 2017, employers with an annual pay bill of over £3 million will have to pay an Apprenticeship Levy of 0.5% to HMRC, to fund their apprenticeships. Discussions are on-going about how unspent levy money will be used. However, it is thought that it may be used to fund apprenticeships in small businesses. It is hoped that this new scheme may incentivise more industries to explore the apprenticeship route for employment, particularly given the additional subsidies received from Government.
Yet as the Government begins to implement the changes to the apprenticeship industry, many still have questions about apprenticeships. Here are a few common apprenticeship misconceptions debunked:
- Apprenticeships are for young people
Although there is more government funding available for young people aged 16-18, apprenticeships are accessible to all age groups. In fact in the year 2014/15, 39.9% of apprenticeships were taken up by people aged 25 and over.
- Apprentices don’t have 'real' jobs
An apprenticeship is a work-based training programme. This means that apprentices work in real job roles for a minimum of 30 hours a week.
In addition to this, an apprentice will undergo a training programme, which will result in them gaining an NVQ, BTEC HND/HNC or Degree qualification. In some cases apprentices obtain a specialist qualification such as an Accountancy ACCA qualification.
- Apprenticeships are a less academic route
The types of apprenticeships available are extremely varied. They range from skills such as butchery to a degree apprenticeships in laboratory science.
Employers in all industries are leading the way by creating a wide variety of apprenticeship standards through the current Trailblazers programme. The apprenticeship offer will continue to grow and hold a range of both practical and academic options.
- Apprenticeships are for new employees only
Apprenticeships can be accessed by both current and new employees. Apprenticeships can provide current employees with a flexible method of gaining new skills.
I hope this gives readers a quick update and overview of the apprenticeship landscape today and encourages serious consideration of apprenticeships. In London only 8% of firms employed apprenticeships in 2014, compared to the national average of 11%. It will be interesting to see how this figure grows over the next few years.
If you're based in the City and want to know how the City of London Corporation can support you in taking on apprentices, - or if you would like to know more about becoming an apprentice in the City, have a look at our dedicated webpage.
You can also contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For further reading on non-graduate routes to employment, read Saif Ullah's blog piece