By Lynette Daly, Publisher of Moving On Magazine

Demand for apprenticeships exceeded supply in 2013/14 by 1,645, 470. The total number of young people who applied for an apprenticeship numbered 1,811,620 and they competed for 166,150 vacancies.

The sectors which saw the greatest demand included: business, law and admin, engineering and healthcare, all of which are predicted growth areas according to labour market statistics provided by UKCES. This paints a positive picture in one respect; young people are seeking careers of the future – but more apprenticeships are needed in order to make this possible and to secure a positive future for business and for young people.

What are the benefits of hiring an apprentice?

Hiring an apprentice is not about doing a young person a good turn, although you can be sure that you are by getting them started on a successful career path. Taking on an apprentice is good business - it’s win-win for everyone.

• The young person begins their career, earning, learning and developing valuable work skills
• Your company actively creates a workforce that is skilled in those areas which are valuable to the business
• The industry area is kept alive and strengthened by a sustained, skilled workforce, which in turn bolsters the growth of the UK economy.

We’ve all experienced how difficult it is to pick up something that has been started off by someone else and turn it into the finished product that you want. If you’re building a house and someone has laid the foundations in a way that prevents you creating the building that you want – that’s a problem and sometimes you need to start all over again. One of the greatest benefits of hiring an apprentice is that as an employer, you are able to lay those foundations yourself.

Many employers speak of the problem of young people entering the workforce lacking in the core employability skills necessary and also of the difficulty of employing graduates, some of whom have unrealistic expectations and a sense of entitlement that leads them to believe that some jobs are ‘beneath them’. Apprentices by comparison tend to enter a company with an understanding that their employer is investing in them and that this involves mastering the basics in return for a wage, which although below the national minimum, reflects the investment that the employer is making in them.

Employing an apprentice is an investment in the future of your business as well as the future of that young person and 70 per cent of employers report that their business was improved with the employment of apprentices.

Getting involved

Too often young people are pushed down the apprenticeship route for the wrong reasons – seen by some as the choice of the ‘non-academic’ or ‘troublesome’ pupil. Much is being done to correct this misconception, but this means everybody, including employers working to the same collective goal.

Nobody understands industry needs better than employers and working with schools and colleges, informing them of industry needs and ensuring that training providers are able to meet the demands of UK industries is a crucial element of success.

Trailblazing organisations understand how important it is to lead the way by helping develop apprenticeship frameworks which ensure that the components of apprenticeship programmes fit the needs of employers. So, get involved, take advantage of the fact that young people are out there, wanting to start their career as an apprentice – offer an apprenticeship and in return, boost your business with a loyal employee who has the right skills for your business.