Less conversation, more action needed on apprenticeships

  • 11-17-2011

Vince Cable is set to announce a £30m scheme to encourage small firms to take on young apprentices, as reported by several daily newspapers yesterday, with one recruiter saying we need to push ahead with creating more apprenticeships rather than just talking about them.

Under the new scheme, firms employing fewer than 50 people would be given an incentive of between £1,500-£2,000.

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As reported on recruiter.co.uk on 11 November, recruitment consultancies Acorn and Pertemps have both taken on interns recently, although as both employ over 50 staff, they would be excluded from the scheme.

Sarah John, director of Acorn, told Recruiter: “It would be worth monitoring it over the first two quarters with a view to seeing how it could also be rolled out to larger employers.

“The new proposal should provide a great fillip to encourage firms to take on apprentices, and importantly should encourage firms to want to increase their workforce even in the current climate.”

Carmen Watson, managing director of Pertemps Recruitment Partnership, told Recruiterthat she started out as an apprentice herself. She adds: “For too long we have spoken about the conundrum that young people face […] We all need a ‘call to action’ if we are to assist our next generation of employees onto the employment ladder.

“The trichotomy of dealing with growth, competitiveness and innovation is challenging at best.”

While neither party mentioned funding issues, Charles Logan, director of Hays, commenting on the more general question of youth unemployment, admits: “It is difficult for companies to continue to invest in the next generation of workers when resources are so stretched.”

Acorn’s John stresses, however, that apprentices are not just for young people, but can provide a good opportunity for people of all ages.

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