83% committed to taking on new apprentices despite Brexit concerns

Posted on 8 Mar 2019 by Jonny Williamson

Manufacturers are brushing aside the issues around the UK leaving the EU to continue investing in new apprentices according to a new survey measuring industry’s appetite for training.

Engineer Teaching Apprentices Skills Training - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
Nearly three-quarters of UK manufacturers have already put aside budget to recruit apprentices over the next 12 months – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

The annual In-Comm Training Barometer revealed that 83% of firms are still committed to taking on the next generation of engineers and nearly three-quarters (72%) of companies have already put aside budget to recruit apprentices over the next 12 months.

The most surprising result was the number of businesses (60%) stating they feel the Apprenticeship Levy is working – contradicting a lot of the current sentiment being expressed.

Gareth Jones, joint managing director of In-Comm Training, said: “Manufacturers, possibly more than any other sector, have recognised the value that comes with vocational learning and, if done right, how they can recruit and train staff so they have an immediate and lasting impact on their business.”

He continued: “While there is £2bn unspent in the levy pot, there are already warning signs that this and future money to be allocated by the government, will not be enough to support future uptake when all standards are available and universities are delivering degree apprenticeships.”

Of those that felt the Apprenticeship Levy wasn’t working, more than half said a lack of understanding was to blame for a lack of take-up, followed by 21% who felt the right training wasn’t available and 13% bemoaning a dearth of good quality training providers.

Almost four-in-five (78%) felt that the range of Trailblazer Apprenticeships didn’t give them access to the skills they needed, which proves that the speed of which standards are being release is halting engagement in some parts of the sector.

Apprentice Apprenticeships Skills Training - Stock Image
The skills gap is only going to get bigger if we fail to invest in the next generation of engineers.

The report also highlighted that more than half of firms (54%) preferred part-time courses over the full-time option, while two-fifths of companies engaged in apprenticeships don’t use them for upskilling.

This could be attributed to a lack of knowledge of what apprenticeships can be used for or the stigma still attached to vocational training and the notion that it is usually reserved for young people or someone at a basic skills level.

Jones concluded: “The skills gap is only going to get bigger if we fail to invest in the next generation of engineers and it appears from the report that companies have no intention of giving up on the good work that has been going on.

“Now is the time for government to listen to some of the valid criticisms around the levy and make sure they modify the system so that small, medium and large firms can benefit. We have to make it a success, in order to make sure the economy can prosper in uncertain times.”