But should the nature of the apprenticeship and the funds allocated to them be determined by how lucrative and important to society the industry itself is?
Some schools of thought believe so. A report has identified the need for premiums to be offered to employers who are taking on apprentices in industries and schemes that will lead to higher than average wages, complex skills and work that will ultimately benefit society and the economy. Similar jobs that are focused on industries that could gradually become obsolete should have measures put in place so that they become disincentivised.
By doing this, employers who are offering placements in sectors that are classed as being ‘high value’ to society and the economy will be paid premiums. But how to you calculate the value of said premiums? Things such as progression routes, productivity gains, wage opportunity and the transferrable high-value skills that apprentices will learn will all be taken into consideration when determining just how much a premium for the employees should be.
But the very nature of apprenticeships means that there are a lot of comparable factors to take into account. For example, those completing a higher-level qualification can expect to receive a higher hourly wage than those completing a lower-level qualification, even if they are working within the same industry or field. But this is only the case in certain sectors – for example, those in the education or health sectors may not notice significant differences.
The age at which the candidate completed their apprenticeship may also affect how much they earn per hour. In order to make this clearer, it has been suggested that different levels are distinguishable by terms such as ‘higher’ and ‘higher technical’ to create more transparency between levels and the monies that can be associated with them.
In short, the report is looking at the quality of apprenticeships and their overall long-term benefit for the economy in order to allow the UK to compete with the productivity and economic growth seen in other countries like France and Germany. By making these sectors clearly identifiable and supporting the apprenticeships associated with them with a premium, the results are likely to benefit employers, candidates and the economy in general.
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