Apprenticeships good for the economy

Posted on 27 Sep 2018 and read 1234 times
Apprenticeships good for the economyImproving social mobility, along with better education and training, is key to addressing the UK’s productivity gap, says a new report from ‘The 5% Club’ — an employer-led organisation that encourages employers to create as many ‘earn and learn’ opportunities as possible.

Published this month, the report — Playing to our strengths: Unlocking social mobility for economic good — sets out a series of recommendations for business leaders and government to drive social mobility, while at the same time ensuring inclusive growth.

The recommendations are endorsed by Sonia Blandford (founder and CEO of the award-winning charity Achievement for All) and Justin Madders MP (chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on Social Mobility).

The report says that a person’s family circumstances can still dictate their employment prospects, with young people from disadvantaged families one-third more likely to drop out of education at 16 to pursue lower-skilled, lower-paid and insecure jobs; and where they come from also has a profound impact on their prospects for social mobility, with regional disparities in the UK now wider than in any other western European country.

Furthermore, with many areas of the economy experiencing skills shortages, employers are increasingly looking at what action can be taken to increase diversity in their businesses to attract the most talented people.

Leo Quinn, chairman and founder of ‘The 5% Club’ — and group chief executive of Balfour Beatty — said: “Business leaders and government urgently need to join forces to address the UK’s lack of social mobility.

"Central to this is raising awareness among young people from less-advantaged backgrounds about going down the route of ‘earn and learn’ to start building long-term careers, while being paid.

Many of our key industries are crying out for people to train up to be skilled workers, so it’s a tragedy if we fail to reach those who desperately need this chance.

“As employers, we must ensure that traditional recruitment methods are not inherently discriminatory. We must open up early work experience or internships to all — the first vital step into the world of work.

Equally, positive careers advice in schools can tear down the perception that apprenticeships are ‘second best.’

Moreover, we must press government to transform the apprenticeship levy into a broader skills levy.”

‘The 5% Club’ has more than 320 members (representing businesses across many sectors and sizes) that “aspire to reach 5% of their workforce undertaking ‘earn and learn’ within five years of joining the club”.

Details of the report’s recommendations can be found at the Web site (www.5percentclub.org.uk) in the News section, under Our Latest Thinking (dated 13-9-18).

The picture above shows Andrew Churchill (left), executive chairman of JJ Churchill and a member of the steering board of ‘The 5% Club’.

He said: “As a contributor to this report, I am delighted to support its points and key recommendations, which will help firms of all sizes invest in our next generation of employees from as broad a pool of talent as possible.”

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