Britain’s Skills gap and how breaking the apprenticeship taboo could help to bridge it

We spoke we our MD Jackie Denyer to gain her thoughts around the current skills gap the UK is facing and how apprenticeships could help to bridge it.   Here’s what she had to say:

“Britain’s skills gap is down to a critical shortage of relevant skills.  It’s now time for employers to face the music and better support the next generation with commitment to training and apprenticeships. For example, COVID has had a massive impact on many sectors providing apprenticeships, including in Early Years, where a 1/4 of early years providers are saying that they fear permanent closure within the year.  Equally, our Health and Social Care sector is struggling to recruit due to low pay, with more domiciliary care providers requiring employees who drive and are willing to work unsociable hours. This sector is seeing less applications than ever.

Having said that, more and more young (and older) people are taking up apprenticeships rather than going to university, given the financial and social impact of the pandemic. When rolling out training programmes for these roles, we are finding that our apprentice and Kickstart opportunities are attracting a very high calibre of talent.   To address the Skills Gap we would like to see more investment in careers information, advice and guidance so that we can nurture the nation’s talent and upskill the next generation.”

Reskilling at 40 and changing perceptions

‘You’re never too old to try something new’, or so the saying goes.  However, the UK maintains a stigma towards adults and apprenticeships, and this seemingly comes down to a lack of knowledge and understanding, which is ironic to say the least.

By way of definition, an apprenticeship is a way of learning a new trade or profession with on-the-job training and some additional at-home study.   This makes learning incredibly accessible for all, whether that be for individuals already with busy work schedules or those with families to care for.

While available, it’s worth noting that funding arrangements do differ for those over the age of 24, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent, and in fact during 2019 and 2020, 47 per cent of all apprenticeships started were by people aged 25 and over.

Whether individuals want to reskill at 20 or 50, choosing an apprenticeship shouldn’t hold a stigma.   If we look beyond the current national crisis and the UK’s worry over the skills shortage, people don’t always fall into the perfect job, or a role that is suited to their skill set immediately.

Equally passions can develop, and personal experiences can shape professional interests at any point in life. This could see office managers wishing to upskill into a role within the health and social care sector or gain knowledge in a different discipline like marketing to help pursue an internal career change.

Whatever the reason, learners should be given the opportunity to pursue training that will enhance their career prospects. Equally employers need to understand the benefits to their own organisation of promoting and engaging with programmes that will see their staff learn and develop whilst on the job and will assist them in retaining their people.

The stigma for those wishing to explore apprenticeships schemes will end, when businesses become more open to promoting them internally – once you enter the job market, advice on apprenticeships isn’t readily available with many employers and learners unaware of the options available to them.

Here at Professional Training Solutions we offer a number of apprenticeships across different sectors our team can discuss with you your needs and then go through the options available.  Contact us today.