National Apprenticeship Week: 7th-13th February 2022

Written by Sita Raj Rani Rathore, Project Co-ordinator on ELBA’s Employment programme, EDGE

This year marks the 15th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships.

The Importance of apprenticeships
Apprenticeships are important as they give one the chance to learn and acquire skills whilst putting these into practice. There are a variety of sectors that offer apprenticeships at different levels. I personally completed an apprenticeship in Business Administration, which I believe helped me to get where I am and has opened doors for me that I never thought I’d be able to access, due to not going to university.

Whether you have just left college or want a complete career change, there are apprenticeships that can help you do what you enjoy. For some people, an apprenticeship is more appealing than attending university, as it provides you with ‘on the job’ learning and there is always a chance for you to advance and get to where you want to be, once you have a ‘foot in the door’. However, there are many misconceptions surrounding apprenticeships, including that they are designed and suitable only the younger generation, when in fact apprenticeships are a great option for people of all ages; originally designed for those leaving education, significant changes were made to the apprenticeship system in 2004 and 2006, with apprenticeships now available for people of all ages.

Sadly, these outdated misconceptions prevent people accessing amazing career development opportunities.

History of Apprenticeships
The apprenticeship scheme was initially launched back in 1994, but was only open to 18- and 19-year-olds working towards a level 3 qualification, but it did not get the results it was expecting. Significant changes were made in 2004 and 2006 in order to allow people to work towards apprenticeships without an age cap, which has proven a huge success when you look at the numbers of those now applying across the UK. Apprenticeships are widely available in many sectors and offer a stepping stone for those looking to get into a certain career without the risk of getting into debt through student loans.

Statistics and Sources

  • In the first two quarters of the 2020/21 academic year (August 2020 to January 2021), there were 161,900 apprenticeship starts. This was a drop of 18% from the same period in 2019/20, with 36,700 fewer starts – the pandemic contributed to this. (Source: DfE Apprenticeships and traineeships data)
  • 74% of employers say that apprentices improved product or service quality, and 78% say that they improved productivity. Apprentices become highly skilled even before they finish their training. (Source: 1 Unless otherwise noted, statistics on this page are taken from the 2017 Apprenticeships evaluation survey)
  • In 2019/20, the number of women and men starting apprenticeships was almost at the same level. 51.2% of apprenticeships were started by men, with 48.8% started by women. (Source: DfE Apprenticeships and traineeships data)

ELBA / London Works and their apprenticeships
ELBA currently supports both candidates and employers that are interested in apprenticeships through the various projects across our Employment team. We have access to a broad range of exciting opportunities through our network of corporate and community partner organisations, and we help to ensure that local people are able to access these. This approach has helped change the lives of some incredible local talent, enabling them to get what has often been a very difficult first foot through the door.

“In my apprenticeship, I’m learning whilst working at the same time. For example, I attend learning courses and receive training, which increases my confidence in completing tasks unsupervised. As a result, I am now receiving greater responsibilities at work, such as chairing meetings. Regarding career progression, my experience and variety of skills will enable me to become the business owner of certain tasks in future. Thus, the decision to undertake an apprenticeship is having a positive impact on my career.”

Ayca Ozvurulmus (London Works beneficiary)

As we progress into 2022, after what has been a very tough two years, we look at apprenticeship schemes as a shining light and a positive approach to addressing youth unemployment. If you have any questions, please do reach out to ELBA’s Employment team:

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