The Government’s Apprenticeship programme has today come under criticism after it was shown that only 1,185 out of the 18,000 vacancies advertised on the National Apprenticeship Service website have been filled. We should be wary of rushing in to judge a service that has only been operational for a little over 4 months; yet there is still some cause for concern.
This recession is hitting young people particularly hard. By the end of 2008, the proportion of 16-18 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEET) was 10.3%, up from 9.7% the previous year. It is likely that this rise has continued as the impacts of the recession have been realised. What is particularly worrying is the harm this is doing to young people’s future employability and even their health, as well as the impact on the future skills of the workforce.
Employers will inevitably shoulder some of the responsibility for tackling this issue, and despite the recession there remains an appetite to do so. Whilst the vacancy figures above might indicate flaws in the system, they do demonstrate the willingness of businesses to offer both training and employment to young people. It is up to the Government to ensure that the necessary systems are in place and operate effectively enough to manage the demand they have successfully stimulated for apprenticeships.
For further information on apprenticeships click here