EEF and BIS working to boost take up of apprentices

Posted on 10 Jun 2011 by The Manufacturer

Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network is is collaborating with the EEF and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to raise the profile of apprenticeships.

After the government recently announced funding to support an extra 50,000 additional apprenticeships, the event is aimed at boosting investment from firms as part of a workforce development strategy. Another focus is to provide practical advice to companies that already run apprenticeship schemes on how they might develop them in order to to grow other parts of their business.

Keynote speakers include John Hayes, Minister with responsibility for apprenticeship policy. Other speakers include Christine Gaskell, personnel board member for Bentley Motors, who’ll express her high esteem of apprenticeship programmes from direct experience at her firm. There will also be an opportunity to meet other companies and representatives from the Further Education sector.

Manufacturing accounts for a sizeable share of apprenticeships, with around one in eight employed in the manufacturing industry. Recent research reports from the Apprenticeship Ambassadors’ Network explains the benefits of taking on apprentices – from staff retention and reduced recruitment costs through to higher levels of productivity and competitiveness.

EEF’s director of Apprentice & Skills, Peter Winebloom, said “training new generations of skilled workers is the key to sustainable economic growth for manufacturers, large or small.”

“Skill shortages remain a major concern for manufacturing and are in danger of holding back economic recovery. Apprenticeships provide an excellent way for companies to turn the passion and enthusiasm of people – both the young and the more mature – into skills fit for the workplace,” he added.

One point of concern, however, is that the number of manufacturing apprenticeships make up a relatively small proportion – 15,000, from Sept 2009 to Aug 2010 out of279,000 that started in that period.

George Archer