Apprenticeships In Britain Today

The BBC have reported that the apprenticeship system in Britain is ‘failing’ to address youth unemployment and requires a radical reform in order to become more effective.  The Local Government Association (LGA) have recently published a study which found that 42% of all apprenticeships created in the last five years have gone to people aged over 25 and that that focus of such apprenticeships is therefore on training workers already established within a company rather than helping unemployed young people into work.

The BBC reported that the IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research) and the LGA found that over two thirds of intermediate-skilled apprentices were already employed by their company when they started their apprenticeships.  Figures for the year 2013 – 2014 showed that under-19s applied for 57% of apprenticeships, but where only given 27% compared to over-25s who accounted for 7% of applications, but received 37% of apprenticeships.

Furthermore a significant number of apprentices are being paid less than minimum wage.  On average, 24% of 16-18 year old apprentices, and 15% of all other intermediate apprentices received less than minimum wage.  However, in some sectors the proportion of apprentices receiving less than minimum wage was much higher; 42% if hairdressing apprentices, for example, earn less than minimum wage.

The LGA’s report recommended that apprenticeship grants should be devolved from central government to regional hubs in order to allow apprenticeships to be tailored to the needs of local employers and the local economy.

The BBC also reported that the government pledges to create three million new apprenticeships by the end of Parliament in 2020.

Through the work placement and mentoring opportunities that Bridge Builders can provide to young men, we are pleased to be able to help school-leavers secure successful and effective apprenticeships to help them gain the experience and skills that will help them make a successful transition between school and work.

Helen Robinson