That’s a statistic worth paying attention to!
With university open days now in full swing and exam season fast approaching, students are looking ahead to their career choices. It’s decision time.
Yes, university is still the norm. But apprenticeships are becoming ever more popular, and it’s not hard to see why. They can be a win-win for the employer and the employee.
Recent figures show that 75 per cent of apprentice employers say that apprenticeships cut recruitment costs. And 81 per cent say that apprentices make their businesses more productive.
Apprenticeships can help develop the skills a business needs, upskill current talent, and kick-start someone’s career.
Our research found new opportunities to attract talent through apprenticeships are not being taken up widely enough, especially by smaller employers, who sometimes lack the knowledge, expertise and capacity to develop an apprenticeship programme.
Affecting all sectors, the apprenticeship levy introduced last year is paid by employers with annual pay bills over £3m. Employers pay 0.5 per cent, which can be recouped to pay for apprentice training and assessment.
5 per cent of Financial Services employers in the City (4 per cent nationally) pay the levy, but nearly half of these are SMEs with limited HR capacity to utilize the levy.
Smaller levy payers say that training providers are often unwilling to provide the support needed when apprenticeship opportunities are limited to one or two people. They need support and advice to get most out of the levy, something we have been helping firms with.
We want to develop a diverse and resilient City that creates jobs and opportunities for people from all backgrounds, and ensures businesses of all sizes and sectors continue to compete globally.
For the City of London Corporation itself, the levy has proven a success and provided a great opportunity to kickstart many careers.
We’ve had a fantastic year, recruiting 102 apprentices in just 12 months, hitting and exceeding our target of 2.3 per cent of the workforce being apprentices.
Our new starters have been placed across a huge range of departments, learning new skills as tree surgeons at Hampstead Heath, as animal handlers at the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre and museum curators at Keats House.
Firms need to reach out to a new talent pool with different skills and experience. University degrees don’t always provide the skills needed by firms, skills which hands-on apprenticeships could easily deliver whilst providing a clear and stable pathway to a career.
Since the levy was announced, it’s been great to hear more businesses begin to talk about apprenticeships and start to look at how they can be a key part of the solution to the skills gap.
There really has never been a better time to take on an apprentice. Employers can suit their business needs through tailor-made apprenticeships which meet the needs of the organisation whilst efficiently training a freshly skilled new workforce.
Attracting and keeping talent is key to the competitiveness of the City and UK, and accessing the large untapped talent pool in London is critical for future growth and future generations.
Let’s continue the conversation about apprenticeships, and turn more conversations into action.