Apprentices: quality over quantity urges industry boss

UK manufacturing productivity grew by 4.7% between 2000 and 2007 - image courtesy of Pixabay.
Apprentices are valued for their enthusiasm, and their ability to be moulded to suit employer needs and future proof the workforce – image courtesy of Pixabay.

Christopher Greenough, commercial director at Salop Design & Engineering and director of the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, responds to the recent publication of government figures revealing that SMEs are predicted to recruit 202,000 new apprentices over the next 12 months.

Read the original news story – SMEs set to recruit over 200,000 apprenticeshere

“With the government pushing through the Apprenticeship Levy as its preferred route to close the skills gap, there will indeed be the opportunity for SME’s to recruit around 200,000 apprentices over the next 12 months.

Apprentices Comment - Christopher Greenough, commercial director, Salop Design & Engineering.
Christopher Greenough, commercial director, Salop Design & Engineering.

“But, as business we need to make sure that all these apprentices are given a real, value-added training experience. There is a great opportunity to get the next generation of workers trained to a level that will help business in the UK grow and thrive.

“Skills Minister Robert Halfon may believe his work is done, by creating the Apprenticeship Levy platform and pushing the onus onto business to make training providers give a service that meets the needs of all. But are all businesses ready to take up the challenge, I fear not….

“I see that over the coming months, many new training providers will spring up ready to take advantage of the financial rewards that the Apprenticeship Levy spend may yield. There will be the opportunists, who try and make a quick profit, rather than looking to add value to the apprentice, employer and business sector. So I would suggest working with the training providers who are well established, who have history and experience of what employers and learners need.

“If, as a business, you need more information on the Apprenticeship Levy, on apprenticeships, or indeed on which training provider you need to work with, then contact me.

“As businesses, we need to make sure that all vocational learning experiences are given and received in the right way, that we close the skills gap in a responsible, sustainable way, and, ultimately, allow industry to thrive.

“The government’s new Get In Go Far campaign [launched yesterday] is a real change in policy, a real look to the future, a way of taking the benefits of apprenticeships to employers, teachers, parents and the next generation. Indeed, very much a joined-up, inspiring campaign that can help all youngsters make an informed choice on their futures.

“To have upwards of 200,000 new apprentices in UK business is in my opinion the very best way to help grow the UK economy, but we are need to be vigilant and keep the quality training provision in our sights as a must.”