The National Apprenticeship Week will promote apprenticeship as an alternative career path to higher education

National Apprenticeship Week promises new positions

Thousands of new apprenticeships will be announced during the National Apprenticeship Week, starting today, celebrating the value of the schemes for UK economy.

Among the firms announcing new traineeship positions is energy firm SSE, engineering company Siemens and mobile network operator EE.

SSE’s human resources chief John Stewart said the company will increase the number of apprenticeship positions by a fifth – an additional £11m investment into training.

"Research we've carried out tells us for every £1 we spend on our apprenticeship programme, the net economic impact on society is £4.29," he said.

The firm warned earlier that as half of the energy sector's workforce was expected to retire by 2023, major skills shortages may arise with more than 200,000 new people needed.

According to a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, a typical apprentice delivers productivity gains of more than £10,000 a year and double that in industries including construction and engineering.

"In launching National Apprenticeship Week we are celebrating the 2.1 million apprenticeship starts since 2010 and the positive impact they are having on businesses around the country,” said Business Secretary Vince Cable, who will meet with employers at an event in London.

"The benefits of apprenticeships are clear - they make a vital contribution to the economy, boost business productivity and give people the skills they need to get on in the world of work.”

Even though the attitude to apprenticeships seems to be improving, with more and more employers seeing its value for business and an increasing number of teachers or parents likely to consider it as an option for their offspring, the National Apprenticeship Week will focus on helping people understand the benefits of practical hands-on training.

According to a British Gas study, parents would twice more likely advise boys to take an apprenticeship than they would recommended it to girls. As a result, only one girl in ten sees apprenticeship as a possible career path.

A survey of 2,000 teenagers found that half of girls, and almost as many boys, said they had received "unhelpful" careers advice.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson will announce new apprenticeship positions in the city as part of his promise to deliver 250,000 apprenticeship positions for Londoners by 2016.

E&T podcast: Engineering apprenticeships

Interview with Scott Bredda, Technical Director at GE Precision Engineering, and Charles Marshall, the company's latest apprentice, talking about the apprenticeship scheme and the benefits it offers both parties.

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