The Rise in Apprenticeships in the UK
The past few years have been a different and on occasion difficult time for this country’s economy. It has seen a lot of change in the employment and employability of the UK population.
One of the major contributors to the current record levels of employment is the promotion and subsequent take up of the schemes of apprenticeships.
Driven by greater pressure on young people to accept awareness of their part of the investment of the future and the changes in school leaving age, the interest in taking up apprenticeships has never been higher.
Apprenticeships offer a portal into employment for those without a skill or worthwhile job, learning the trade at the “sharp end” whilst being taught the relevant modules in a scholarly environment.
The scheme also, by its own definition, offers apprentices the potential to earn a wage, which may be a bonus to some, but necessity to others.
To take part in the scheme you need to be over the age 16 and have left full time education. There are three levels of apprenticeships, starting with those with average or minimal GCSEs, those with A levels, and those who have gone on to Diploma standard.
There are some areas of the working environment which by their very nature mean that hands on experience is the only real way of understanding and appreciating what it is the job or career is really about.
This is particularly relevant to construction, engineering, up to date office management, customer service, catering or hospitality to name just a few.
Alongside the practical experience, academic learning goes hand in hand, provided by further education colleges or private training companies which can also help fill gaps in literacy and numeracy that were left from basic school education.
As well as the practical and theoretical side of the courses, it introduces another dimension, which is the start of character building and introducing the practices and expectations of a trade or profession, and becoming part of a team.
This means experiencing getting on with others, understanding how one cog helps another to function. Using initiative, developing self-understanding and motivation.
Whilst the course, the work, the teaching, the “morphing” goes on, the apprentice receives a salary which may also include paid holidays.
The combination of all these experiences generally mean that the apprentice has built character and the employability skills that businesses describe as “transferable skills” which may reflect in salary and future employment possibilities.