Posted by

Natasha Downes, Press and Communications Office at the British Chambers of Commerce

20 May 2015

Apprenticeship schemes are becoming an increasingly popular way for young people to enter the world of work, allowing them to learn a trade and gain valuable on-the-job experience whilst earning a wage.

One of the biggest benefits for businesses running an apprenticeship scheme is that it helps to create a loyal workforce. It also gives companies the means to deliver specialised training and development to plug skills gaps. In addition, apprentices can offer a business a fresh perspective and help increase a business bottom line.

As part of its commitment to strengthening its apprenticeship scheme, the National Apprenticeship Service is delivering a series of events ‘How Apprentices can Benefit your Business’ in partnership with Chambers of Commerce. The first event kicked off on Thursday 14 May, at London Chamber of Commerce highlighting the benefits of taking on apprentice and signposting how businesses can start the process.    

About 40 to 50 people gathered bright and early at 7.45am to network over breakfast. During that time I spoke to business owners wanting to find out more about how to find their first apprentice, as well as further education colleges and universities keen to engage more closely with the business community and highlight different routes for their students.  

After a lively networking session, we heard three presentations; from a business, an apprentice and the National Apprenticeship Service. This helped to give the full picture of the benefits for both businesses and the apprentices, along with the practical steps for employers to take on an apprentice.

Jean Duprez MBE, Manager at Islington based decorating company; K&M Decorating delivered the first presentation. She spoke about the K&M skills school they’ve developed to build a pipeline of talented young workers – construction has an ageing workforce so this scheme has been vital to the future of their business.

In her presentation Jean talked about the massive pay off their company has benefited from investing in young people – ‘you are training them for your [employers] future’. She also talked about the importance of giving young people their first opportunity to get onto the career ladder. Jean’s presentation was so inspiring that she had a queue of people lining up to speak to her after the event.

Next up was Jimmy Lopez, apprentice at Metro Bank. Thanks to the scheme Jimmy has gone from a 1 year customer service apprentice to a fully fledged employee managing seven staff – some of whom have degrees. He talked about how the apprenticeship scheme gave him confidence, focus and every skill he needed to progress on the job.  

Jon Thorn of the National Apprenticeship Service closed the session by talking about funding options for employers, different apprenticeship levels and signposted where interested businesses can start the process towards finding an apprentice.

More than 100,000 employers are offering quality apprenticeships in more than 220,000 locations. These events prove an excellent way to get even more businesses taking on apprentices - helping them to grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

More information

Forthcoming BCC and National Apprenticeship Service events: http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/business/events/how-apprenticeships-can-benefit-your-business.html

More information on apprenticeships is available through the government ‘Get in, Go far’ campaign website: http://www.apprenticeships.gov.uk/

Information on finding an apprentice or becoming an apprentice is available here: https://www.gov.uk/further-education-skills/apprenticeships