The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has launched a campaign to encourage businesses to take on apprentices.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has also leant his backing to the 100 Apprenticeships in 100 Days campaign, which hopes to persuade companies to develop skills for the future.
Apprentices can help to create a motivated and loyal employee base, while the campaign will also work to show apprentices are not only useful in the manufacturing sector.
More than two thirds (69 per cent) of companies in London do not have an apprentice on their staff at the moment, according to a survey. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in particular are known to have difficulties in creating apprenticeship programmes.
LCCI chief executive Colin Stanbridge said: “With unemployment so high, particularly among 16 to 24-year-olds, apprenticeships represent a great way to improve the skills of the domestic workforce and get people working. However many businesses simply do not consider taking on an apprentice or fear the process of doing so will be too complex.
“Our 100 in 100 campaign will highlight the great benefits that taking on an apprentice bring and will encourage businesses to invest in London’s future by getting 100 more people in the capital into work.”
The LCCI and the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) will work together to help members to create apprenticeship roles and iron out any problems that they encounter in the process.
Johnson said: ‘It is fantastic news that the London Chamber and its members are getting on board with our campaign to get 100,000 apprenticeships by the end of 2012. Small and big businesses alike can benefit hugely from the value of apprenticeships, which help to improve productivity and profits while giving Londoners high-quality on the job training.”
The LCCI’s campaign comes ahead of National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from February 6 to 10 and is organised by the NAS. More than 500 events and activities are lined up for the week across England.
Financial Skills Partnership chief executive Liz Field believes businesses in the financial sector could benefit from taking on an apprentice.
Field said: “Long gone are the days when apprentices could only be found in a blue-collar setting. Apprenticeships are already being used successfully in accountancy and in financial services. Now new-type higher apprenticeships will be opening up exciting new paths into the UK’s financial sector.”