As apprenticeships come into the spotlight again with National Apprenticeship Week (11-15 March) fast approaching, I have been asking myself if we are doing enough in the Construction industry to help young people find training opportunities.
I find it frustrating that the numbers of apprenticeships and traineeships in areas such as personal training and media are soaring whilst not enough people are being trained in areas such as construction and building services. We know there are jobs in our sector and so we need to match that with training opportunities. With the help of our corporate partners we are helping some young people into work but there are always more needing help to get that first step on the ladder.
The National Apprenticeship Service, which runs National Apprenticeship Week has called for more companies to provide training opportunities, saying that not only do apprenticeships help young people develop high quality, highly sought-after skills but they can also boost an organisation’s bottom line. In addition, small and medium-sized companies can benefit from a £1,500 Apprenticeship Grant for Employers when they recruit their first apprentice and so it is a method of recruiting worth pursuing.
At Construction Youth Trust we are passionate about helping disadvantaged young people overcome barriers to help them towards a career in the industry. I feel that we owe it to young people to ensure the apprenticeships and training that colleges are encouraging aren’t the popular ones which they receive funding for, but the ones which will lead into permanent, sustainable employment, like construction.
Apprenticeships and potentially traineeships offer young people a good way of getting an income whilst gaining valuable work experience. For young people like the young offenders we work with, this experience and first opportunity can mean the difference between whether they reoffend or not. For the young people living in disadvantaged areas these opportunities could mean they become the first people in their families to be in paid employment. For many others it is just the first chance they have to find training opportunities which can lead to a long term career and I am proud of the fact that the construction industry is offering so many of these opportunities.
The emerging traineeship programme could potentially provide a greater stepping stone for young people needing that extra support before entering an apprenticeship.
However, we can still do more. There are still more young people wanting apprenticeships and traineeships and I call on you all to see if you can help more young people this month by finding training. We have plenty of young people needing that chance so please get in touch and we can talk about how we can make a difference.