As Year 11 pupils finish their GCSEs they will be faced with the decision of whether to return to full-time education, start work and study part time or take up an apprenticeship.
Young people are required by law to continue in learning until their 18th birthday. Apprenticeships give young people the chance to train on the job while learning specific skills and gain a nationally recognised qualification at the same time.
Traditionally seen as a way of learning a trade, apprenticeships are now offered across a wide range of careers including engineering and construction, financial services and travel and tourism at salary levels on average well above the National Minimum Wage. Apprenticeships are also seen by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership as key to future economic prosperity by growing the skills base of its future workforce.
Hertfordshire currently has a total of 330 apprenticeship vacancies, according to the latest figures from Central Eastern National Apprenticeship Service (CENAS). Current vacancies include Data Analyst Apprentice at £346.00 per week, Business and Admin Apprentice, £270.67 per week and Accounts Clerk Apprentice at £200 per week.
On average 90% of apprenticeships in Hertfordshire pay above the National Minimum Wage: up to £365 per week compared to £101.01. The highest number of vacancies last year were in business, administration and office work, followed by catering, hospitality and health and social care, according to figures from Youth Connexions.
Barbara Rumble, Youth Connexions Employment and Progression Manager, said: “These figures show that an apprenticeship is a very good option to gain the same level of qualifications as studying full time whilst getting a salary. The range of options is much broader than people imagine and are designed by employers to meet future demands, ensuring a positive future for apprentices.”
Lesley Hackett’s son is currently doing an apprenticeship in level 3 business and administration. She said: “I have noticed how much he has grown in confidence with his work and how he has the confidence to go to different schools in the Herts area and do presentations to promote apprenticeships. I am really proud of what he has achieved.”
And parent Tara Bullworthy said: “All of my children have taken different routes into their careers, which proves that one size doesn’t fit all. My daughter has thrived as an apprentice, gaining qualifications at the same time as earning herself a decent wage. And the icing on the cake is that she secured a job after qualifying. I would encourage other parents to find out about apprenticeships for their children, they’re a really viable option.”
Apprenticeships are one of the key priorities for stimulating economic growth, according to Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
LEP Board Member Adrian Hawkins, who chairs the LEP’s Skills and Employment Board, said: “Skills contribute significantly to the economic output of an area and are a dynamic driver of enterprise, investment and new industries. Apprenticeships are one part of the skills agenda that can significantly contribute to improving business performance and supporting a thriving economy. We are working with partnership organisations to ensure we have an adaptable workforce that meets the changing needs of employers, and growing the number of apprenticeships can help us to achieve this.”
Youth Connexions are running an Apprenticeship Q&A for parents, employers and young people on Twitter from 29th June – 3rd July when they will have advisers and apprentices on hand to answer questions throughout the week. Use #HertsApprentice to join the discussion.