Apprenticeships develop skills that can only be gained through employment, say 77% of businesses
· Almost half (47%) believe apprenticeships are a faster route to a career compared to a degree, and the same amount thought it’s a more cost-effective route into a career than university
A recent YouGov study, commissioned by training specialist Kaplan, has looked into apprenticeships and their benefits for school-leavers, identifying a positive perception among the UK's business community, alongside a widely-recognised array of key benefits for the apprentice themselves.
Firstly, the study highlighted what those in the finance and accountancy industry think are benefits to those taking apprenticeships - identifying the ability to learn the skills they need while earning a wage (78%), receiving skills that can only be learnt in a working environment (77%), and the chance to learn from experienced senior people in their industry (72%) as the top three benefits.
The statistics also showed an appetite for offering apprenticeships spanning industries across the UK, with almost a third (31%) of the 1,000 senior decision-makers surveyed saying their company currently offers apprenticeships - good news for those considering the route as an alternative to university.
In the finance and accounting industries, just over a quarter (26%) of senior decision-makers say their company offers apprenticeships, underlining that the sector can be extremely accommodating for young people looking for a way into finance and accountancy.
These results suggest businesses are keen on the idea of harnessing fresh talent by taking on apprentices, with the majority (73%) of senior decision-makers saying one of the benefits of apprenticeships for businesses is that they provide opportunities to harness fresh talent. Well over half (64%) champion apprenticeships, saying that they help businesses to address skill shortages within the workforce.
The landscape is changing in terms of businesses being helped to offer apprenticeships. Following the Richard Review, the government has been keen to allow employers to set the standards and skills involved in training through an apprenticeship, designing frameworks that are even more rewarding and attractive to businesses. This is one of the key measures set out in 'The Future of Apprenticeships in England' Implementation Plan (published October 2013) and a driver behind a recently-formed group of Trailblazers, comprising employers and professional bodies in the industry.
Cassandra MacDonald, head of accountancy and tax apprenticeships at Kaplan, and a member of the Trailblazers Group, suggests that the statistics revealed by the study imply that apprenticeships offer British employers other attractive benefits.
She said, "At Kaplan, we have carried out extensive research to form a clear picture of how employers see both graduates and apprentices so young people can understand the development options available to them, and take apprenticeships seriously as a route into a professional career.
"A study we carried out in 2014found that the majority (83%) of business leaders do not feel that possession of a degree is in itself an indicator of talent. Another study shows that under one in five businesses believe that graduates are ready for work, and this is further highlighted by the fact that almost half of senior decision-makers (49%) said having pupils 'job ready' after completing an apprenticeship would encourage UK businesses to offer apprenticeships."
She continued, "While getting a degree is still a valued next step (76% of employers hire through graduate recruitment), apprenticeships address the issue that not all candidates are born job-ready. They give businesses the chance to be fully involved in how their new employees are trained - especially once the new Trailblazer standards become live which have been designed and developed by and ether with employers. For apprentices themselves, this means being fully trained in the areas your employer wants you to be trained, and learning skills your employer wants you to master, and let’s not forget that an apprentice may also decide to progress their studies to earn a full honours degree"
She added, "In the accountancy sector, accountancy and tax apprenticeships provide apprentices with skills directly related to their job role, but also professional bodies AAT, ATT, CIMA, and ICAEW accredit apprenticeships with a qualification that is recognised worldwide. This, in addition to the benefits highlighted by our study, emphasises just why an apprenticeship is a route well worth considering."
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