The Future’s Bright for Apprenticeships

HFE Tutor with student
Tutor with student

After a lack of opportunities and years of growing unemployment, it seems that the outlook for young people in search of work is finally improving.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) have released their latest Labour Market Outlook (LMO) report and the main takeaway is that businesses are looking to invest in the future, and turning to young people to take up hard-to-fill vacancies. CIPD is a professional organisation for human resource management and it currently has over 135,000 members worldwide.

Produced every quarter, their LMO report focuses on the issues and trends affecting businesses in the UK, and plans for the future. This quarter’s report is based on responses from nearly 1,000 employers, many of whom come from the CIPD’s vast database of members.

The Summer 2015 LMO centres around pay and redundancy, and recruitment outlook – with a lot of figures suggesting that young talent will be core to future business plans.

Across the board, unemployment rates continue to fall in the UK, however many respondents to the survey are still struggling with hard-to-fill vacancies. When asked for the solution to this problem, 50% said upskilling existing staff, while 33% cited that hiring more apprentices was the way to go. With great strides being made by the Government recently to place apprenticeships firmly in the public consciousness, it seems businesses are following suit and exploring just how much young people have to offer.

In hiring more apprentices, businesses can help alleviate some of the financial concerns they may have about recruitment, as well as where young people can fit in with their current priorities. Alongside unemployment rates falling, the UK’s economy continues to grow as it pulls further and further away from the recession. Despite this positive turn, 57% of employers surveyed claimed that cost management remains their number one priority. Improving productivity is also high on the list with 35% citing its importance to their business.

While money is always going to be a foremost concern for commercial businesses, hiring more apprentices can prove to be a worthwhile and intelligent investment. According to figures from the Skills Funding Agency and the National Apprenticeship Service, 70% of employers using apprenticeship programmes report that apprentices have improved their quality or service, and productivity. Similarly, 53% benefited from lower recruitment costs, and 59% experienced lower training costs overall.

With these figures in mind and the job market continuing to strengthen, employment prospects for young people are showing signs of improvement. There are few better equipped to learn new skills quickly and make an instant impact to businesses, and as CIPD labour market analyst Gerwyn Davies pointed out: ‘young people have been the worst affected age group’ (with regards to employment). He goes on to mention that employers are looking to address future skills needs and shortages, which perfectly suits young people eager and ready to get into work and make a difference.

In his statement on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Davies concluded: “After a long, dark decade, the prospects for young people are finally looking brighter.”

If you’re a young person interested in becoming an apprentice, or an employer wanting to know how apprenticeship programmes can benefit your business, or even how to upskill existing employees, please contact us on 01772 440310.

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