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.