Apprenticeships – a price worth paying

A scarcity of HGV drivers may grab the attention of the national press but behind the headlines many industries across the UK are facing challenging staffing shortages.

Construction; manufacturing; hospitality; agriculture; all industries that are facing recruitment difficulties at most skill levels.

Across all sectors the pattern is similar. In the electrical industry alone a pre-pandemic labour market report by industry body the Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) estimated that as many as 15,000 additional skilled electricians would be needed by the mid-2020’s to accommodate the anticipated growth across the sector.

And that forecast didn’t take into consideration the standard staff ‘churn’ of electricians leaving the industry or retiring – a number that has accelerated since the start of the pandemic – nor did it take the government’s recent heightened focus on energy efficiency into consideration.

With demand for qualified electricians likely to continue its steep upward trajectory over the next few years, it is just one sector where companies are looking at apprenticeships to bolster their long-term workforce.

The government has recognised the importance of providing an employment-based route into industry and is actively promoting apprenticeships as the ideal vehicle to do just that. With training subsidies being offered to businesses looking to provide apprentice opportunities, the process of developing and filling an apprenticeship programme is relatively straightforward.

And with apprenticeship opportunities available at all staff levels across most sectors, the time might be now for companies to look more favourably at apprentices to fill their staffing shortfall, according to Options Resourcing director David Doherty.

“For too long apprentices have been looked upon as the ‘poor relation’ compared with graduates. Now that attitude is changing and firms across a host of industries are recognising the benefits in offering apprenticeships in their organisations,” he says.

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