Apprenticeship survey must point government in the right direction says campaigner

A survey of UK employers has discovered that employers regard apprenticeships as the best method of training staff and Davies, who is co-founder of property maintenance and refurbishment company said: “Employers like myself 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,”.

“The government is now jumping on the apprenticeship bandwagon and offering a little more financial support but they shouldn’t just concentrate on ‘higher apprenticeships’. All youngsters need to have confidence in the training they are offered and know that the skills they are taught can translate into permanent employment,” he added.

The study by IMC Research of British employers in February this year found that employers rated the Higher Apprenticeship above a university degree when looking for employees. The research also concluded that employers rated all levels of apprenticeship 15 per cent higher than academic qualifications.

“Employers know what skills they need and are best placed to design work based apprenticeships. Modern business develops and changes quickly and apprenticeships need to be equally fluid,” said Mr Davies. “Employers have the hands on experience to provide that.”

“There will always be a place and a need for academic study but it can never be the right path for everyone. Currently, about 50% of each academic year is studying to degree level; that has gone too far.”

“There are over one million young unemployed in this country and they are becoming totally demoralised by the job market. They have to be given confidence in the training and apprenticeships we can offer them. Otherwise, we will be dealing the financial ramifications of our failure for decades to come,” said Mr Davies – who was an investment banker before creating his property maintenance company has returned his company 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 – who was a vocal supporter of the Richard Review into apprenticeships which concluded that the definition of apprenticeship had been ‘stretched too far’ and that schemes which only lasted a few weeks were incapable of providing real skills.

His company organised a series of apprentice boot camps this year to select candidates for their own apprenticeships. Youngsters were put through a series of fitness, literacy and numeracy tests. “The individuals who were prepared to contribute the most to a boot camp were the individuals who my company benefited most from employing,” said Mr Davies.