I was interested to read in Transport News that apprenticeship take-up in the UK has hit record highs according to new figures from their Department of Trade and Industry. Let us hope that this element of the auto industry here in Ireland will start to improve, as apprentices are essential for the future of a vibrant auto aftermarket.
Almost 860,000 people were enrolled in apprenticeships in the UK 2012/ 2013, nearly double the figure for 2009/ 2010, while more than 1.5 million have been put to work over the past three years.
Applications over the past year have also soared by a third to 1.4 million, according to earlier data from the UK’s National Apprenticeship Service.
Engineering firms in the UK stand to benefit £414 for each apprentice they take on, more than double the all-sectors average of £200, so the boost in numbers is a welcome upswing. The Centre for Economics and Business Research says that apprentices will contribute £3.4 billion to the UK economy overall by 2022.
Skills Minister in Britain Matthew Hancock said, “This is good news for the economy, and good news for those getting the skills they need to prosper. There are now more options than ever before with a focus on the quality and rigour that people and employers want from apprenticeships.”
Hancock said that changes to apprenticeships – including an insistence that they should have a minimum duration and on-the-job training – had made them more attractive as an alternative to university for school leavers.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said earlier this year that every school leaver should take up an apprenticeship if they did not go to university, something that already happens in Germany.
The British Government has also launched the Automotive Sector Strategy to boost the number of apprentices in the sector, while the initiative running through this month (October) aims to give school leavers an insight into why an automotive career could be for them.