Welsh Government
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Welsh employers urged to protect their future by hiring apprentices now

Employers across Wales are being urged this week to hire and train young apprentices, despite the tough economic conditions, in order to give their businesses vital skills for survival and growth in the future.

Marking the start of Apprenticeship Week in Wales, Deputy Minister for Skills Jeff Cuthbert, along with the country’s training providers, called for more businesses to make the commitment to pass on the skills of their current workforce to the next generation of employees.

In the most recent reporting year, 16,305 people in Wales were employed as apprentices and a further 20,075 as Foundation Apprentices.  However, there are concerns that not enough apprenticeship opportunities are being offered by companies for the large number of young people seeking to start their careers.

The Deputy Minister’s call came ahead of a visit yesterday (6 February) to the ACT Skills Academy in Cardiff, one of the largest centres in Wales for training in work-based skills. There he is meeting both employers and apprentices, along with other trainees who are currently seeking apprenticeships in a wide range of occupations.

He said:

“Research shows that apprenticeships are good for business. Employers who use this form of training say it leads to better motivated workforces and an improved bottom line. Apprenticeships are specially designed by the various different sectors so they are suited to the particular needs of businesses in those sectors.

“Apprenticeships represent an opportunity for employers, with Welsh Government and European Social Fund support, to turn unskilled young people into high performers who will be the backbone of their companies and the Welsh economy in the years ahead.

We will continue to support employers who are looking to take on apprentices as this is one the most important ways we are delivering on providing the skilled workforce the Welsh economy needs to grow. Apprenticeship week is a great time for employers to start thinking about taking on apprentices.”

His comments came at the start of a week of events in all regions of Wales designed to raise the profile of apprenticeships among employers. These include business breakfasts, road- shows, and open days at training centres, construction demonstration events and conferences.

Having undergone rapid development over recent years, apprenticeships now cover more than 200 different training routes which qualify young people for a total of nearly 1,200 distinct job roles.

In Wales apprenticeship training is particularly popular in sectors such as hospitality, engineering and construction and among job types such as business administration, management, teaching assistants, customer service and Information Technology.

UK research by Populus among employers who had trained apprentices found that that 77% believed it made their firms more competitive, and 76% said it led to higher overall productivity. Eighty-eight per-cent of them said apprenticeships resulted in better motivation among their workforces, while 57% reported that a high proportion of apprentices moved on into management positions in their businesses.

Welsh Government Labour Market Information also showed that those who complete apprenticeship training at Level 3 are likely to earn up to £117,000 more over their working lives than those who don’t undertake such training.

The Deputy Minister’s call to employers was supported by ACT Managing Director, Andrew Cooksley who is also spokesman on employability for the National Training Federation for Wales.

He said:

“Learning providers in Wales have thousands of talented young people on their books who would be major assets to employers, and making the commitment to recruit them as apprentices would be a very positive move for their businesses.”

He also highlighted the new Apprenticeship Matching Service which he said meant that employers now had a convenient online method for finding exactly the right person to fill an apprenticeship post. This is a free online service through which employers can post their requirements, and Careers Wales can help them find the right person from a database of young people’s CVs, characteristics and career aspirations.

Any businesses that want more information on what the Welsh Government can provide to help them take on apprentices or train staff can call the Business Skills Hotline free on 0845 60 661 60

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