Apprenticeships – Increased uptake is positive but more needed to meet youth employment challenge, says REC

The REC has today welcomed positive data on the overall uptake of apprenticeships whilst underlining the need to ensure that they provide a genuine route into employments as well as a means of up-skilling existing staff.

The latest figures show that over 250,000 apprenticeships have been created in the 2010/2011 financial year, which exceeds the Coalition Government’s targets. However, this includes a big increase in short-term Apprenticeships – often taken up by those already in employment. Furthermore, a greater number of these positions have gone to the over 25’s, raising concerns about whether the Government is responding effectively to the UK’s youth unemployment crisis.

Commenting on this, Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Professional Development at the REC said;

“The latest data shows some encouraging trends in terms of the overall take-up and progress has also been made in terms of positioning apprenticeships as a credible alternative to university. However, we need to accelerate the use of apprenticeships as a genuine route into the work of work for young job-seekers.

This was one of the key recommendations of the REC’s Youth Employment Taskforce and the latest statistics do not mask the need for sustained Government action in this area. The recruitment industry can play its part by developing apprenticeships within the sector, and by raising awareness amongst clients and candidates.

“With thousands of A-level students leaving school this week, it is increasingly clear that young people require targeted, focused assistance. This includes practical guidance on the benefits of apprenticeships and on the sectors where job opportunities are most likely to exist both now and in the future. As well as continuing to actively promote the apprenticeship route, the Government must commit to establishing a careers guidance network that is fit for purpose.”

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