Last updated: 15.03.13

Bosses 'recognising benefits of apprenticeships'

An increasing number of employers are realising the benefits of taking on apprentice, according to a new report.

Research carried out by jobs site and the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has revealed the nation's skills shortage and government incentives are driving firms to roll out apprenticeships.

The study showed the majority (57 per cent) of companies are finding it difficult to fill vacancies due to the fact they are unable to find employees with the right qualifications or knowledge, while more than one-third (34 per cent) claimed the skills gap is most acute in applicants' technical abilities, with education in IT and manufacturing needed the most.

According to Mike Fetters, graduate director at Totaljobs, employers are able to address the chronic skills shortage by taking advantage of government funding and training entry-level to the firm's standards.

"In such an environment, it is perhaps unsurprising that companies are looking to take on staff earlier to shape them for the roles required," he added.

The report stated more than one-quarter (27 per cent) of respondents to the survey said apprenticeships are "crucial" to addressing the skills deficit, while another 25 per cent said they want to see business training integrated into school education. Almost one-fifth (18 per cent) of firms also called for degrees to be designed to relate to the world of work.

Daniel Sassen from Envy Post Production claimed soft skills are more important to a company when it is trying to run a "five-star establishment". He continued: "It's much easier to teach anyone with enthusiasm and good client skills the technical skills required within our industry."

His words come at a time when the role of apprenticeships are being widely debated and celebrated around the country. National Apprenticeship Week kicked off on Monday (March 11th) and prime minister David Cameron announced he is planning to make apprenticeships the "new norm" for young people who do not wish to attend university after leaving school.