Government figures published this week revealed that a 19 per cent drop in the number of 16 to 18 year olds beginning apprenticeships between February and April this year than the same period last year.
“There is a generation of young people who are becoming totally demoralised by the job market. If we don’t deal with the problem, this country will be paying for our failure for decades to come,” said Mr Davies – who created his property maintenance and refurbishment company aspect.co.uk after working as an investment banker in the City.
“The government has been keen to highlight its support for ‘higher apprenticeships’ but skill training for less qualified youngsters that can provide real jobs are desperately needed,” said Mr Davies.
“For example, there are massive skill shortages within the building trades,” he said.
The figures released by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) also show that in the first nine months of 2012/13 788,640 youngsters aged between 16 and 18 applied for apprenticeships but only 11 per cent were successful in securing a place.
“Employers like me have been telling government for years now that apprenticeships are the most efficient way to instil the employable skills into Britain ‘s next generation of workers,” said Mr Davies.
“Too many of our youngsters are leaving school without the basic ‘life’ skills that make them employable. Employers are the people best equipped to oversee our apprenticeship system because they understand the skills they need,” he said.
aspect.co.uk has returned to a system of old fashioned apprenticeships for training their own young workers.
“I can only urge other employers that if they can give young people an opportunity to demonstrate how keen they are to work; they will be astonished with the results,” said Mr Davies.
aspect.co.uk developed a system of apprentice boot camps to select candidates for their own apprenticeships. Youngsters are put through a series of fitness, literacy and numeracy tests. Their next boot camp will take place later this summer.
“The individuals who were prepared to contribute the most to a boot camp were the individuals who aspect.co.uk benefited most from employing,” said Mr Davies.