Don’t forget the workforce of the future

Last week I spoke to BBC Look East about the drastic fall in apprenticeship starts for September that we are predicting. We expect to see 75% fewer apprentices starting than we had estimated pre lockdown, despite applications from young people rising.

As we know Essex is a county of small, medium and micro businesses which account for around 74% of all Essex businesses. Many of our apprentices are placed in these SME’s so the drastic drop is unsurprising. Rightly so, businesses are focused on ensuring that they rebuild their livelihoods and stay in line with current social distancing guidance for their particular sector.

As a sector however we are extremely worried about the long-term impacts on the careers of our young people and on ensuring businesses have the skills and resources they need for the future. 

This is why the college is supporting the Association of Colleges ‘Rebuild: a skills led recovery plan’ which is calling on the government for another bold and necessary course of action to reduce the post-furlough shock, minimise the risk of economic scarring, and prepare the country for the rebuild by:
1.    Guaranteeing a high quality, education or training place for every 16 to 18 year old, funded to meet their needs and the learning lost.
2.    Offering a suite of work focussed training programmes, including expanded traineeships and apprenticeships designed to get young people into jobs as soon as they become available. This should include a comprehensive bursary system and incentives for employers.
3.    Providing support for adults who lose their jobs to train or retrain flexibly up to higher level technical / professional level, aimed at getting them back into the workforce as quickly as possible, with additional training to manage their transition once back in work.

I am sure in future weeks and months we will see a response from the government with some of these measures introduced which will certainly help the situation and hopefully prevent long-term impacts on our young people and skills development in the UK.

In the meantime, what can you do as businesses? Put simply, don’t forget apprenticeships as part of your rebuild plans. As soon as you feel ready and able to take on a young person or adult, who can contribute to your business while developing the skills needed in your business, then do please get in touch. Apprenticeships can start at any time  throughout the year to suit you. 

Don’t forget. Apprentices earn a lower wage than a qualified person but do make a significant contribution and you can train an apprentice from scratch to suit your business needs. Apprentices are often more workplace ready than learners straight from college or school. 

So when you are ready, please get in touch,