Mr Boam said: “The theme ‘Build the Future’ is a really interesting one. Many sectors in the UK have a shortage of skilled and experienced resources, with Brexit amplifying the problem further. Apprentices are vital to British industry. The UK has a diminishing skill set in many sectors, the media, government and even schools don’t seem to have done much to promote the attractiveness of traditional sectors such as Engineering, Manufacturing, Construction and even the NHS to excite school leavers to want to start and progress their careers in these sectors..
In many cases younger generations have been persuaded that these sectors are lower paid, with lower prospects and harder work than equivalent sectors such as the service sector, which simply isn’t true,” he added.
In figures recently released by the Construction Industrial Training Board (CITB) in a report on the skills that construction currently needs, revealed the commercial sector faces significant near-term risks, and an extra 216,800 extra workers would be needed over the next five years to meet projected demand.
“The UK has always had a strong presence in manufacturing, engineering and construction and so considering a career in these sectors should be considered a good thing.
“When I look back at the apprenticeships of old, it was an honour, privilege and was sought after to become an apprentice with a company sponsor and to gain valuable experience working with experienced hands to show you the way and teach you how to behave as well as gain a skill,” he added.
Mr Boam said he believed most businesses could make use and get great value from an apprentice, as well as regenerating a new generation of workers, with skills to keep manufacturing and industry alive in the UK, while also making it competitive and a sector to be proud of.
“The Government has been promoting apprenticeships for a number of years as large employers have been made to pay a percentage of salary costs into the levy for making apprenticeships available. Many large OEMs have an apprenticeship programme, but many smaller SMEs have not followed suit. This might be because the perception is that an apprentice will take up valuable management and mentor’s time and that the costs will not outweigh the efforts.“
“Many of our clients have an apprentice scheme and we have been proud to support, mentor and coach their staff including apprentices. Most of our experienced consultants started their careers as traditional apprentices and then worked their way into management and senior roles in industry. They are grateful and proud of their early careers and the people who helped shape their approach, style and disciplines, as well as imparting skills and experience” he said.
To find out more about National Apprenticeship Week, which runs from 7-13th February, visit this link.