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Government to create 200,000 apprenticeships within the public sector

The government has pledged to create 200,000 apprenticeships within the public sector by 2020

The decision comes on the back of the government’s promise to create three million apprenticeships by 2020. If they succeed, this means that 2.3% of the public sector workforce will be made up of apprentices.

Private businesses have been using apprenticeship schemes in their droves for many years. The government now wants the public sector to follow suit in order to reap the benefits of the process. Not only does this mean giving young people the opportunity to get their foot on the career ladder, but it gives a much-needed boost to services such as the police and the NHS which are crying out for higher numbers of staff.

Apprenticeships are an alternative route into higher education that allows someone to earn while they learn. Although several recognised qualifications can be undertaken through an apprenticeship scheme, which usually includes at least one day per week in college or another academic setting, the main focus is on an individual working directly within their chosen field and learning the ropes as they go. This practical experience is usually very desirable and gives candidates confidence and a ‘foot in the door’ and also the opportunity to network as well.

Although this sounds very positive, there is some concern within the education sector regarding the plans to enforce apprenticeship schemes in the public sector. Many authority run schools are worried about the new levy that is due to be introduced in line with the apprenticeship scheme. This requires businesses earning over a certain amount to contribute 0.5% of their wage bill to fund the scheme. Some schools feel that this could take their already overstretched budgets to breaking point.

Despite funding concerns, there is no doubting that apprentices will play an important part in the future of the public and private sectors. They encourage people from all ages and backgrounds to take the first step into an exciting and rewarding career. Although some qualifications are necessary to get onto an apprenticeship program, usually 5 GCSE grades A-C, the scheme will accept those with no qualifications providing they are prepared to take some basic English and maths courses.

Overall, this is a mutually beneficial development for young job seekers, public services and indeed the economy.

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