Every year, thousands of people embark on a modern apprenticeship, where they have the opportunity to work, learn and earn all at the same time. The modern apprenticeship was an initiative started in the mid-90s which aimed to equip large numbers of young adults with the skills they need to be successful in the workforce.
They are also an effective way for businesses to drive productivity and performance by growing the capabilities of their employees, and therefore they are good for the economy as a whole.
Since their introduction, modern apprenticeships have continuously evolved and can now offer training opportunities to people of any age over 16. There are also foundation apprenticeships (FAs) and graduate apprenticeships (GAs), which run alongside the modern apprenticeship. For the employer, a foundation apprenticeship is an opportunity to attract committed young people who are highly motivated, eager to learn and a good fit for a particular business.
This ensures that a business has access to people with the particular skills that are needed. Graduate apprenticeships are tailored to each business, because they are designed specifically by employers to mould graduates to particular roles.
Over the coming decade, the UK is facing an exciting period of rapid technological change in every growth sector, plus an increase in global competition. People increasingly need different qualifications and skill sets to succeed in the modern work environment. Apprenticeships have been designed to give people the experience, skills, competence and confidence they need to quickly become a useful and productive member of the workforce.
Employers who have an annual wage bill of over £3 million are now required to pay into the UK Government ‘apprenticeship levy’ and this means they can also take advantage of publicly-funded programmes.
These benefits include a contribution towards the training costs of MAs and GAs, recruitment incentives aimed at people requiring additional support and funds for up-skilling current employees. This means that apprenticeships can work for businesses, the individual and the economy, and employers have a vested interest in taking on more apprentices.
Apprentice programmes can be used to attract young people or career changers to areas with skills shortages, such as engineering and IT, and can give a company access to home-grown talent with up-to-date practical and academic skills. In turn, the apprentice gets a wide range of opportunities, on-the-job support and mentoring, and the chance to earn a wage while studying and gaining experience. This helps them to develop recognised, transferable skills that are relevant to industry and employers.
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