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Apprentices: 'better value than graduates'

Published 23rd March, 2011 by Neil Nixon

Apprentices: 'better value than graduates'

After business secretary Vince Cable announced that the Government plans to increase the annual funding of apprenticeships to £1.4 billion, a survey has indicated that employers find apprentices worth more to their businesses than university graduates.

City & Guilds, one of the most prominent vocational education organisations in the UK, surveyed 500 employers, half of which had used on-the-job training. Of those that had hired apprentices, 52% claimed they proved better value than graduates.

Cable announced the increase in apprenticeship funding by stating that the creation of a new generation of highly skilled workers will be crucial to sustainable economic growth while “reinforcing the message to business and young people that apprenticeships are a first-class way to start a career”. The announcement by the business secretary is part of the government’s wider commitment for apprenticeships to acquire the same level of prestige as university degrees.

The number of young people leaving school to take up apprenticeships rose sharply under the previous Labour government, from 60,000 in 1997 to almost 300,000 this year. Under the schemes, the government pays for apprentices to attend college while employers offer them paid employment.

Mark Woodhead, chairman of the British Cleaning Council, said: “Facilities management is an increasingly demanding sector, and apprenticeships are a great way for firms to benefit from the energy and enthusiasm of new workers while they acquire the skills they will need in their careers. Our member organisation, Asset Skills, has just released details of its level 3 facilities management apprenticeship, with events to mark the launch currently taking place all over the country - check its website for further information about getting involved.”

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