The National Apprenticeship Service has 5000 new Apprenticeships available for unemployed 16 and 17 year olds... to start before March 31.
The news comes after the launch of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) scheme, which offers small businesses a £2,500 bonus for each 16-17 year old they take on as an apprentice.
Although some, including awarding body EALs MD, Ann Watson, have pointed out that the true cost of supporting an apprentice can be £50,000 or more the AGE initiative has been welcomed by employers as a step in the right direction.
Last month, The Rocking Horse Shop in Yorkshire became the first business to take on an apprentice using the new AGE scheme. 16 year old Paige Walker said, “I am so excited about this. School just wasn’t for me so I’m really grateful of the opportunity to undertake nationally recognised qualifications, learn on the job – and earn!”.
Apprenticeships Minister Iain Wright says: “It is great to see that our grant for businesses has worked so quickly and that the first apprentices to benefit are already beginning their new careers. Young people like Paige will gain valuable skills and experience whilst also bringing fresh ideas, commitment and enthusiasm to the workplace.”
Last year reported a 7% increase in apprenticeships and with a million 18-24 year olds currently unemployed and out of education it seems that apprenticeship schemes will continue to be sorely needed. Add to this the consideration of escalating university fees and the fear of the debt that university education incurs, and the attraction of paid training with job security to follow is augmented.
Through supporting apprentices with schemes like AGE the government has given the opportunity to employers to restore the faith of young people. A recent poll from the EDGE foundation, a charity for improving the image and standards of vocational training, showed that while 85% of under-17s were confident that their education had prepared them well for employment, the figure plummeted as they moved closer to the job market with only 53% of over-17s displaying confidence in their education to provide future job stability.
To find out more about the AGE scheme please visit: www.apprenticeships.org.uk