National Apprenticeship Week is upon us here, giving employers the perfect excuse to celebrate apprentices’ contributions to their business. The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) is calling on organisations to help promote the positive impact apprentices have on individuals, businesses and the country between March 3rd and 7th.
Local colleges, such as Cambridge Regional College, are getting involved with a variety of events, which aim to encourage more employers to recruit apprentices and to engage with students considering apprenticeships.
More young people in the East of England want apprenticeship places. The quarterly Apprenticeship Index reveals that between August and October 2013 the number of online applications for apprenticeships across the region increased by more than one third (to almost 40,000), compared to the same period in 2012. As a result the government is urging employers to create more apprenticeship positions in order to meet the demand.
With regional vacancies on the NAS website increasing by 23% between August and October 2013, up from 3,640 listed the year before, the East of England business community does seem be responding. This growth is a positive contribution to the relief of the youth unemployment figures.
One Cambridge company employing apprentices is Histon-based recruitment consultancy firm Pure Resourcing Solutions (Pure). The SME is currently benefiting from one of the 46,220 apprenticeship programmes currently running across East Anglia.
Jade Garner and Miranda Quazi, both 22 years old, are two of the company’s five apprentices, who receive work-based training while working to secure nationally recognised qualifications. Both are permanent employees at Pure’s head office; they support the team of recruitment consultants, and are studying for a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Business Administration at Cambridge Regional College.
“The qualification is helping me progress in my role at Pure and improve on my own performance in a business environment,” says Jade. “I am really enjoying the apprenticeship and studying for the course - I feel like it has really helped my confidence and organisational skills at work. I am really pleased I have taken up this course, and will feel like I have really achieved something special when I have completed it.”
The benefits are mutual. According to the National Apprenticeship Service, 96% of employers working with apprentices report benefits to their business. Two-thirds saw improved products or services, the introduction of fresh ideas, boost to staff morale and better talent retention.
Gill Buchanan, Director of Pure, comments: “Our wonderful apprentices bring additional knowledge to the business while contributing to the development of our more experienced staff. Both Jade and Miranda bring energy, enthusiasm and fresh perspectives to our other employees, who, in turn, get an injection of renewed motivation for their own jobs.
“Jade helps our consultants manage candidates’ CVs, vacancy profiles, client calls, while Miranda provides excellent support to our accountancy team. Since the recruitment environment can be very fast-paced, both apprentices are instrumental to our staff’s efficiency and ability to keep on top of key tasks. Therefore, they are vital to Pure’s highly regarded reputation and overall success. We look forward to seeing how they develop with us in the future!”
Also drawing attention to the benefits of apprentices is John Bridge OBE, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, who adds: “Addressing skills shortages is a key priority for businesses as they work to maximise growth by developing new business opportunities and smarter ways of working. Apprenticeships assist businesses looking to address specific skills shortages within their company, but they also have the potential to bring much more to the business. Companies are increasingly finding that with the right apprentice on the right course, customised to the specific needs of the business, they are also benefiting from a fresh approach, new ideas and a contagious enthusiasm that inevitably feed through to the bottom line.”
To find out more about National Apprenticeship Week go to: www.apprenticeships.org.uk.