NATIONAL Apprenticeship Week runs from March 3 to 7. Sir Nick Harvey launched the week at the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe and individual events at schools and colleges are taking place, leading up to the Apprenticeship Showcase on March 13.
The aim of the week is to highlight opportunities available to both jobseekers and employers. For small businesses these include a £1,500 grant per apprentice, free training for 16 to 19-year-olds or subsidised training costs for 19 to 24-year-olds.
The National Apprenticeships Service says businesses that take on apprentices see a solid return on the investment with the average employer increasing productivity by £214 a week.
For young people and jobseekers the benefits are clear: their employability is substantially increased. This is particularly valuable for career starters who are often turned down for jobs because they have little or no experience.
Prospective employers can see evidence of the apprentice's work ethic alongside transferable skills such as good communication or customer service. According to the NAS, after finishing the majority of apprentices (85%) will stay in employment, with two-thirds staying with the same employer.
A third of all former apprentices had received a promotion within 12 months of finishing, and of those in work, three quarters reported taking on more responsibility in their job.
Full details of National Apprenticeship Week are available at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.