APPRENTICESHIPS: THE GATEWAY TO SUCCESS

APPRENTICESHIPS THE GATEWAY TO SUCCESSWhy should I consider an apprenticeship?

That’s the question both learners and employers should be asking themselves.  And the answer is because apprenticeships benefit both trainees and the business community. 

For learners, there are three main advantages.

  1. The learning experience

Apprenticeships offer the chance to gain first-hand experience of a real working environment and train towards a qualification at the same time. You develop knowledge, skills and yourself by learning from professionals, experts in their field, and because training is tailored specifically to the needs of the apprentice and the requirements of the job, it is always relevant.

  1. Employability

Apprenticeships are often the easiest way of securing that all-important first job – as soon as they have completed their training programme, many apprentices are offered permanent employment with the company that trained them.

  1. Finance 

Earn while you learn!  An apprentice starts earning a guaranteed wage immediately – no tuition fees that leave the learner in debt.  And the average salary of someone who has just completed an apprenticeship is nearly £4,000 higher than a university graduate earns.

And the benefits for employers?

You get hard-working, highly motivated people to join your workforce, eager to learn your company’s regulations and working practices, with training to suit the job perfectly.   You receive guidance from experienced advisors, to ensure your company’s business needs are fully met.  It’s a great PR move, too.  Training an apprentice – helping to develop the skills of employees throughout the area – reinforces a company’s commitment to giving something back to the local community.

But what of the future?  The government intends giving greater priority to apprenticeships over classroom-based learning.  Employers, small businesses in particular, are to be encouraged to take on more apprentices;  apprenticeship funding will go directly to employers who will be in a position to choose training providers and have greater control over how apprentices are trained.

We recognise that employers may be reluctant to take on apprentices because they find the system too complicated.  We accept that colleges like ours need to work in close partnership with employers and offer them a more streamlined solution, to fully understand their business needs, and to be flexible enough to adjust our training provision accordingly.  In this way, we can all work together to prepare an effective workforce for the future.

So whether you’re an employer or a learner – ask yourself:

Shouldn’t I be looking at an apprenticeship?

By Mark Emmerson

Assistant Principal, Skills and Innovation at Stratford-upon-Avon College

About Association of Colleges West Midlands

AoC West Midlands promotes and supports the interests of 38 general further education, sixth form and specialist colleges throughout the West Midlands region. The West Midlands is a diverse region and our colleges reflect this diversity. From small specialist colleges in rural locations to large inner city establishments, colleges reflect the needs of their local environment. Working closely with employers, learners and the local community, our 38 member colleges offer a broad range of flexible learning opportunities for individuals at all levels. They aim to give local people the skills they need for success and prosperity, tackling barriers to learning and providing opportunities that meet the needs of individuals and employers
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