February 03, 2012 - Anonymous
Small firms have been called on to take part in this year’s National Apprenticeship Week to help raise awareness of the opportunities apprenticeships can offer school leavers, graduates and the unemployed.
The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) has urged businesses to take their apprentices into local schools to give presentations or arrange for them to volunteer in their local community for the week, which will run from 6-10 February.
Senior managers in small firms are also being encouraged to swap roles with apprentices for a day, so the apprentice gets the opportunity to find what his/her future could hold as they progress with the business.
Now in its fifth year, National Apprenticeship Week will see hundreds of events taking place across England. These range from colleges hosting events for employers and potential apprentices to find out about the range of courses on offer, to presentations by large businesses such as Unilever to highlight the role of apprentices in their organisation.
Government figures released this week have revealed that the number of apprenticeships in England increased by 63 per cent in a year to a record 457,200 in 2010/11. The growth, spurred on by financial incentives from Government, has been across all age groups, sectors and regions.
“There has been an increase in the number of businesses offering apprenticeships, because they are proven to offer a host of benefits ranging from improved productivity and competitiveness, to better staff retention and motivation,” said NAS chief executive Simon Waugh.
The Government recently announced measures to encourage small businesses to take on apprentices. From April 2012, businesses taking on their first apprentice aged 16-24 will receive an incentive payment of up to £1,500. The Government has also promised to simplify the red tape around apprenticeships.