1 in 3 businesses to increase apprenticeship numbers
New research indicate that a third of businesses in the North East are set to increase apprenticeship numbers in the run up to Summer 2012.
According to a Yorkshire Bank survey, four in every ten businesses operate an apprenticeship scheme. Of these, a third expect to increase apprentice numbers over the next 12 months.
While two fifths of businesses expect their staffing levels to remain on a par with 2011, an overwhelming 85% majority of businesses agree that using apprentices is an excellent way to develop talent.
Simon Lenney, managing partner of Yorkshire Bank’s North East Team, said: “For decades many UK businesses have used apprenticeship schemes as a vital way of transferring skills and offering alternative routes to employment for young people, particularly in sectors such as manufacturing and service-based industries.
“With more young people now choosing to tackle the world of work early rather than going to university, it is important this young talent is captured by UK businesses.”
Official figures issued by the Office for National Statistics show that applications for UK universities last year dropped by nearly nine per cent, largely due to the introduction of higher tuition fees. Youth unemployment (16 to 24-year-olds) currently stands at 22.5%, the highest percentage since records began in 1992.
However, according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, last year more than 457,200 apprentices started new schemes – a 63% increase on the previous year.
The Government have recently pledged £3.5 million to help train 1000 new apprenticeships in the energy efficiency sector, and a House of Commons select committee is currently examining how SMEs can efficiently harness apprenticeship schemes.
The Apprenticeships and Skills (Public Procurement) Bill is being considered by MPs, and requires that certain public procurement contracts issued by public bodies include a commitment by contractors to provide apprenticeships and skills training.