Are apprenticeships the key to solving the skills shortage?

After recent statistics suggest over-qualification is at ‘saturation point’ one of the North’s leading window manufacturers is calling on school leavers to seriously consider the benefits of apprenticeships.

Ian Harrison, managing director at Goldthorpe based Building Product Solutions who has long been an advocate for the apprenticeship scheme, said: “Apprenticeships work well for both the young person and the company. Not only does the apprentice become skilled in their chosen industry – they learn the ins and outs of the business.”

The latest study from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development shows that the UK currently has 58.8% of graduates working in jobs that don’t typically require a degree.

This trend was particularly high in the construction and manufacturing industry where apprenticeships have always been the traditional route into the industry. It means that whilst graduates are looking jobs which typically wouldn’t require a degree, those without are facing stiff competition.

Statistics from this year's GCSE results show that although the percentage of pupils achieving a C grade or above has risen, those achieving the top grades has seen a slight fall. With universities now able to accept as many students as they’d like and with entry requirements dropping, the South Yorkshire based manufacturer is encouraging school leavers to research their other options.

“Young people shouldn’t be spending as much as they do on university fees and then worrying about career prospects. With an apprenticeship you can ‘earn while you learn. And 90% of apprentices stay in employment once completing their studies – you can’t argue with those figures.” Adds Ian

 “Apprenticeships should no longer been seen as second class. They pose a real alternative to gaining qualifications without going to university. Manufacturing and construction in particular offer plenty of career progression and continued professional development.”

In 2013/14 academic year there was 13,700 apprenticeship starts in South Yorkshire and 440,000 in England as a whole.

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