Apprenticeships and The Apprentice the answer to jobs creation

To kick of Apprentice Week, Business Secretary Vince Cable is to announce the UK Government is committing £1.4bn to Apprenticeships in 2011.

This is a great move and part of an overall strategy to encourage 100,000 additional apprenticeships by 2014.  This at a time when UK Manufacturing is growing at record rates and 70% of employers in a recent survey claiming skill shortages as one of the biggest barriers to future growth.

Apprenticeships have been undervalued and undermined for years.  For too long successive Governments have espoused the virtues of higher and further education to the detriment of practical, hands on learning, giving Apprenticeships second class status.  They are not.  They are of enormous value.

Not everybody is academic, but everybody has something to offer.  If you are practically minded, the opportunity to further your career with a combination of practical skills and theoretical learning is not to be dismissed.

Apprenticeships are crucial to encourage the skills needed to facilitate future growth and to ensure the UK has the skills we need to remain competitive globally.  The more done to encourage those best suited as to the virtues of such a pursuit the better.

At the same time Entrepreneurship is also essential to encourage the creation of jobs.  This is one area of Economic policy that is yet to be sufficiently addressed by Government.  Sure, the rhetoric is that we cannot afford tax cuts.  Can we afford not to?

Business is mobile.  If you do not create the conditions, the environment, in which talented people with great ideas are encouraged to start business, this essential fuel of economic prosperity will soon start to dry up.

Don’t get me wrong, the successful entrepreneur will find a way to make his or her’s business work regardless of the circumstances.  It is that determination regardless of circumstances that contributes to their success.  That is my point, if it can’t be done here, if it is easier to do elsewhere, then elsewhere it will be done.

Who will create the jobs, the Apprenticeships of tomorrow?

Todays announcement is a great step in the right direction.  Encourage Apprenticeships and encourage The Apprentice.  The next generation of Lord Sugar‘s are just as essential to future prosperity as the skilled trades.



Filed under Careers, Job Creation

3 responses to “Apprenticeships and The Apprentice the answer to jobs creation

  1. Hi Lee,
    Just some random thoughts..
    I’m not convinced by the long term impact of manufacturing. Isn’t the UK fundemantally priced out of these markets by our high labour costs?
    If apprenticeships can give some 16-25 years olds the skills to earn a living then fine but which companies are going to want to pay for an unskilled apprentice almost irrespective of govt incentive. So we may end up with the “intern” scenario-those that can afford it will engineer a job via (free) internship/apprenticeship, leaving those that can’t afford it right where they started.

  2. Alison Boothby

    I think David has a good point. I’d love my four boys to do something “real” for a living – I’d be delighted if my next generation did something other than drive a desk in the professional services sector for a living. But it is more complicated now. Society’s values have fundamentally altered: celebrity and wealth – frequently, money for nothing – confuse the picture. We need trades; we need manufacturing and engineering skills – they bolster local communities and I believe are key to The Big Society. Oh, and we’ve got to get rid of the “I want it now so I’ll have it now” attitudes. We’ll get nowhere until, as a nation, we realise that it’s hard work that pays off.

  3. Thank you Alison and David for your contribution, I appreciate it. Interestingly according to the Department for Business, Apprenticeships are currently running a drop out rate at 26.2%. This is however a great improvement on figures in the past. In 2002 only 24% of Apprentices completed the scheme.

    Of those dropping out, according to the report one of the biggest reasons given for doing so was the “early mornings and long hours”!!! So to back up your point Alison, regardless of the training given, encouraging people as to the virtues of hard work are clearly essential and go back to the very earliest education at school. The sense that you wont get something for nothing, nor will you get rich quick, is something that we would appear to have lost sight of.

    In terms of our competitiveness in manufacturing, whilst we will always suffer in the face of lower cost competition, it is in added value and enhanced skills where we can win. A recent report amongst CEO’s / MD’s in the UK evidenced that 70% of those surveyed highlighted lack of talent and skills as the biggest single issue to long term success and competitiveness. We must invest in our practical skills as much as our theoretical knowledge, an over reliance on a service economy has already caused us huge problems. An investment in manufacturing to re – balance the economy (at least to a degree) is essential, as is investment in science and technology.

    Great to engage with you both. Thanks again.


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