18 March 2016
Apprentices are like no other employees.
At the start of the year I set myself the goal of recruiting 40 new programmers by June and another goal of expanding the apprenticeship program.
We have seen such incredible results and are so confident about how successful our apprenticeship programme is we have merged the two goals.
We recently employed 26 apprentices in one day, having seen the effects of the Bright Future closure. We had originally planned to have 20 apprentices on board by the end of 2016, so you could say that the Bright Future situation accelerated this – we’re already at 40!
But it’s not just about numbers and growing the team; it’s about helping develop the next generation of technical engineers and innovators. We’re a Top 100 Apprentice Employer, we’ve scooped several awards and we’re a National Apprenticeship Service Ambassador too.
Since launching our apprenticeship scheme back in 2013, we’ve seen a 100% employment rate upon completion of the programme and some of our technical apprentices are now managing the support for some of our biggest clients.
University is no longer the default option for school leavers, now these ambitious young people are coming straight into the workplace and are eager to learn and develop, and are incredibly receptive to pace and culture.
University is, of course, the right path for many professions, but apprenticeships can offer the kind of specific on-the-job skill sets that businesses are looking for.
Successive governments have put huge emphasis on higher education, leaving apprenticeships in the shadows, but striking the right balance between the two will help us bridge the skills gap and help our economy grow.
The young people in our apprenticeship programme are an incredible asset to our business and to the wider community. It is our responsibility as business owners and leaders to create these attractive apprenticeship programmes and to educate both the school-leavers and parents about alternative paths to university. National Apprenticeship Week is the perfect opportunity to do that.
We have had an extraordinary week celebrating our apprentices, attending industry events and learning more about how apprenticeships are helping to grow Greater Manchester and the UK.
The answer to growing our economy is simple: education. As business leaders we need to be doing all we can to nurture the next generation and help them to become the leaders of the future and apprenticeships are the perfect way to do just that.