Ian Wood

Member Article

Give Young People Chance to Discover Their Skills

By Ian Wood, Managing Director, Trade Training Associates (TTA)

As the managing director of a training company with a great many apprentices in training at any one time, I know only too well how much time and effort is required to train young people.

The government continues to announce measures for employers to try to drive up participation in apprenticeships however they also impose minimum limits on the lengths of apprenticeships. This minimum limit removes the ability for a framework length to be based on employer requirements and learner ability. It also greatly affects young people with previous knowledge and skills who might qualify more quickly.

Employers who have had apprentices before do complain about the length of the apprenticeship, many stating that the cost to the company was prohibitive during the first two years therefore in the current business climate they cannot afford to employ one.

A grant also forms part of this offer, available to employers who have not had an apprentice within the past three years. Realistically, the 16 – 24 apprentice age grant of £1500 available to employers is spent in the first six weeks, however it is paid over 12 months - and for those who have not employed an apprentice before, the level of commitment required often comes as a shock.

The Government is striving to create sustainable employment opportunities for this age group, but in a climate where business cannot see beyond six months, it is unrealistic to expect employers to commit to an unsustainable three or four year programme of training.

At TTA we see a massive change in the attitudes of young people between the ages of 16 to18. At this age we are not only responsible for training them in a trade qualification but also in life and business skills. At TTA, we are in favour of young people being given basic skill development at age 16+ so that they have some economic viability before they go into an apprenticeship – a programme of practical training and employability skills built into some vocational qualification.

With the recent re-introduction of these vocational qualifications, which go some way in replacing the programme led (non-employed) apprenticeship the government has re-opened the door for providers to deliver technical programmes which can then feed into an apprenticeship thereby reducing the amount of time required to become fully qualified.

For employers this must be a great incentive as the young person can contribute to the company’s bottom line from day one. For the young person, they can start to contribute to society and help to re-build the economy.

Young people must be given a chance to find out what they are good at in real life situations and discover new areas of interest upon which to build their futures or the skills gap will only widen further and we will never have the qualified people needed in a post recession economy.

The pre-apprenticeship route ways being developed will allow them to access training to gain a foot hold on the ladder to becoming the person they aspire to be, whether employed or self employed.

I am keen to lobby Government ministers on this point to create more opportunities for young people as they embark upon their careers and would be glad to hear from anyone who is of the same opinion.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Sophie Lacey .

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