What are apprenticeships and why are they important?
Apprenticeships play an important role in the improvement of productivity and employment. They allow apprentices to combine working and earning whilst learning, and aid the economy in building qualified workforces. The end goal is for the apprentice to have gained the necessary skills and knowledge that will help them grow within their sector. An apprentice can bring new ideas into the workplace and can prove to be vital to the growth of a business.
More employers are participating in apprenticeship schemes, and the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy has also helped increase the number of employers doing so.
Apprenticeships in STEM
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an 18% drop in apprenticeship starts (source: Public Policy Exchange). In addition to this, a lack of workers with STEM skills is reportedly costing the industry £1.5 billion annually (source: QA Education).
Apprenticeships are a great method for plugging the current skills gap, especially within the STEM industry which is currently facing a skills shortage. According to the Royal Academy of Engineering, over half of companies say that they have faced problems recruiting experienced engineers. These apprenticeship programmes are increasingly becoming more popular and are ideally suited to STEM sectors.
In order to close the skills gap, more businesses must be willing to become more inclusive. For example, 50% of apprentices in the UK are women, however only 8% of this percentage work in STEM (source: QA Education). Women are choosing apprentices in different fields and as a result, STEM industries are missing out on thousands of potential employees. However, more organisations are working to offer apprenticeships that cater to different groups of individuals.
In alliance with the government’s mission to have created 3 million job placements by 2020, STEM apprenticeships are now being advocated more in schools to encourage enthusiasm amongst students. Businesses are also forming strong relationships with universities and other educational establishments to offer more insight into the industry and create opportunities.
How are apprenticeships changing?
Apprenticeships have gone through significant changes within the last 5 years; factors such as structure and the Apprenticeship Levy have been a part of this change. The structure of apprenticeships have been updated to follow newer standards such as off-the-job training. Off the job training is a form of learning which is taken outside of the daily requirements of an apprentice, and will ultimately lead to them achieving their qualifications. This new structure will allow apprentices to study whilst gaining skills to aid them in their job placements.
The Flexi-job apprenticeship scheme, launched in August, was also included in this boost and will enable apprentices to work with a number of different employers at once. This Flexi-job scheme was created in an attempt to make apprenticeships more flexible in response to the “changing world of work”.
As the world transitions and more jobs are created, it is inevitable that we will see more schemes designed to improve problems the apprenticeship industry may face in the future.Back to insights