People & Skills  

UK apprenticeships in desperate need of overhauling

Following the release of a report which argues the government needs to overhaul the UK's current apprenticeship scheme, prominent industry leader, Mike Heslop offers his comments
 Comments - Antony Bourne, Global Ind. Director, IFS

The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee took 11 months to compile the report, concluding that there is substantial room for improvement in terms of cost-effective training and empowering the next generation of apprentices with the necessary skills industry requires.

Mike Heslop, owner of supply chain maintenance company Centrex Services, criticizes current practices and suggests reforms cannot come quickly enough:

“The quality of apprenticeship schemes is being tarnished as we place more focus on increasing numbers to these programmes. There has been a big rise in short-term apprenticeship schemes for example, but they offer no lasting benefit, and are being used by some companies to recruit cheap labour.

“After speaking to candidates on Centrex’s training programme, I firmly believe some companies are using these six month schemes to take advantage of the 2.5 million unemployed young people in the UK.

“I worry they are recruiting young people as cheap labour to plug skills gaps, with no intention to develop their skills, or offer full-time employment.

“Short-term apprenticeships just cannot offer enough on the job experience to provide any real benefits to the individuals who take part, and I also have real question marks over the quality of training these apprentices receive.

“We need talented individuals who are eager to learn, and in return we offer people the opportunity for employment that they deserve just as much as any fully qualified applicant. I wholeheartedly agree with these reforms; standards do need to be improved and schemes need to be better monitored.

“This is the only way we can provide a platform for the next generation to learn the skills needed in order to provide the tools needed to boost economic growth.”

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