Surge in applications for apprenticeships as SMEs seek workers


Surge in applications for apprenticeships as SMEs seek workers politics 第1张Plastering tutor Steve Mason with a young learner at Skills Group in PlymouthSign up to FREE email alerts from BusinessLive - South WestSubscribeWhen you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. OurPrivacy Noticeexplains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy noticeInvalid Email

Uncertainty surrounding the restart of schools amid the coronavirus pandemic has prompted an “unprecedented” wave of young people signing up for apprenticeships, it has been claimed.

Plymouth-based training provider Skills Group said it has seen more young people begin apprenticeship placements in August 2020 alone than in the whole of last year.

The number of vacancies available has also rocketed as employers find themselves with increased workloads as they ease out of lockdown. More than 400 youngsters start apprenticeships with Skills Group this month which compares with 150 in August 2019.

Skills Group chief executive Mark Boulting said: “The amount of demand we have at the minute is unprecedented. People have been at home for the last four months waiting for something to do.

Surge in applications for apprenticeships as SMEs seek workers politics 第2张Keith Elliott of Plymouth-based Keith Elliott Construction

They have been desperate to restart their futures. “We have still got massive uncertainty about schools and people are worried about what is happening in the future, so they are looking for education and a job.”

He said that small and medium employers regionally were also now looking to take on more staff. He added: “A lot of the job loss headlines we are hearing about are with the big companies who are making large scale cuts but, SMEs, certainly within the Plymouth region, have hunkered down and are now coming back out again and their order books are full.

“We’ve got more vacancies this month than we would normally have in a four-month period. Both employers and learners have been waiting for something to happen and are desperate to restart things.”

Plymouth firm Keith Elliott Construction Ltd already recruits six apprentices through Skills Group and is soon to take on a further three to bolster his workforce.

Mr Elliott said he was “stacked out the door” with work. “Yes, we were shut for 12 weeks but we haven’t noticed a downturn coming out of lockdown. We are getting between three and four enquiries a day which we can’t really take on.”

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Surge in applications for apprenticeships as SMEs seek workers politics 第3张

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In July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a package of measures to support young people into work including generous cash incentives to encourage employers to take on and train more young people.

Under the Government’s Plan for Jobs scheme, employers are being offered £3,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged between 16 and 18, £2,000 for 19-24 year olds, and £1,500 for those over 25, until January 31, 2021.

Mr Elliott said while he has always been a “big believer” in taking on apprentices, with such great cash incentives, businesses “can’t really lose”.

Youngsters are now being urged not to leave it too late before deciding on their future. Mr Boulting added: “We’ve got 500-600 people who have said they want to start up and 200 employers that are now offering vacancies, you don’t want to leave it too long. You don’t want to get left behind.”

Career opportunities offered by Skills Group with start dates throughout August include construction, hairdressing, barbering, childcare, education, engineering and automotive. To find out more about Skills Groups vacancies and apprenticeship courses click here