25% of UK organisations have never considered apprentices, despite evidence that they are highly valued, according to new research by The Adecco Group UK and Ireland, the UK and Ireland's largest workplace solutions organisation.
The Adecco Group UK&I's report, Closing the Skills Gap: Will Apprenticeships Deliver the Workforce of Tomorrow? includes research that found that a popular reason for not employing apprentices is that respondents feel an apprenticeship qualification is not well suited to their business needs (27%). This is followed by the idea that apprenticeships require too much time from the management team (18%), and the worry that they are too much of a long-term commitment in the current market (11%).
Employers do seem to understand some of the benefits of apprentices versus graduates, with apprentices believed to integrate better into company culture (according to 47% of respondents, with a balance of +40) and respondents thinking apprentices have a longer duration of employment (44%, with a balance of +19). Yet despite this, a worrying number of employers are still not offering apprenticeships as a career route.
Chris Moore, President of Group Operations, The Adecco Group UK and Ireland, said: "These findings are worrying in light of the recent introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy. We need to be promoting the tangible workplace benefits that apprenticeships offer in terms of culture-fit and tenure. We might just find that apprenticeships become the key to our country's success if Brexit creates further talent gaps."
The report also highlighted that it's not just skills shortages amongst Britain's youth that apprenticeships could target. It found that more than 40% of the over 50s lack digital skills - skills that could be effectively introduced during advanced apprenticeships.
Moore continued: "The Apprenticeship Levy opens up new opportunities for workplaces to bring older workers' digital skills up to speed. It's time we stop thinking about apprenticeships as 'less-than' degrees and recognise the very real value they fulfil in the workforce."
Andrew Thompson, HR manager at Seymour Civil Engineering said: “We can only see the benefits of something like the apprenticeship levy. By being a part of it we get to train people in the Seymour Standard.
“I can only see positive results for the business from the levy and for the wider community. It’s also important to work closely with local colleges and training boards to ensure that young people in the area have a chance at hands on training for their career.”
Lewis Hunt, management trainee at Seymour, said: “One of the main benefits of apprenticeships over traditional education is it allows you to get your foot on the ladder. Also, I get paid to do this so I can set myself up a little bit more.
“Picking an apprenticeship doesn't stop you from following your education. In some cases like mine the company you work for actually helps fund your education and encourages you to do your best by allowing you the time and the right environment to learn and grow.
Darren Hankey, Principle of Hartlepool College of Further Education, said: “The fact that one in four firms do not consider apprenticeships is hardly surprising.
“A more alarming statistic is the fact that only about 1 in 4 firms in the North East take on apprentices and this is something, which needs urgent attention and probably a key driver of the recent reforms. Apprenticeships are a superb way of ensuring firms can address workforce development needs. For many firms the cost of apprenticeships is extremely low with the government paying 90% of fees – in some instances there are no fees to pay.
“Furthermore, there are many wonderful providers, including Hartlepool College of Further Education, which offer outstanding apprenticeship training and skills development.”
For more information on the benefits of apprenticeships and how to tackle the Levy, please download our white paper here.
About The Adecco Group: The Adecco Group is the world's leading provider of workforce solutions, transforming the world of work through talent and technology. Each year, The Adecco Group provides over 1 million people around the world with career opportunities, guidance and insights. Through its global brands Adecco, Modis, Badenoch & Clark, Spring Professional, Lee Hecht Harrison and Pontoon, The Adecco Group offers total workforce solutions including temporary staffing, permanent placement, career transition, talent development, and outsourcing. The Adecco Group partners with employers, candidates, colleagues and governments, sharing its labour market expertise and insights to empower people, fuel economies, and enrich societies.The Adecco Group is a Fortune Global 500 company, based in Zurich, Switzerland, with more than 33,000 FTE employees in 60 countries and territories around the world. Adecco Group AG is registered in Switzerland (ISIN: CH0012138605) and listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ADEN).
About the research: The research was conducted with 1000+ UK employers in partnership with the CIPD as part of the CIPD / Adecco Group Labour Market Outlook 2016/2017. Fieldwork was undertaken between 09 -29 September and 2-23 December 2016.