School leavers and young people should be placed at the forefront of apprenticeship promotion, with a focus on school leavers, according to a new report by the Centre of Social Justice (CSJ).

The report published on August 10, says that the apprenticeship system leans too heavily towards already qualified employees, who are put onto apprenticeships to boost their skills rather than school leavers who are ready to enter the job market.

The recent pandemic COVID-19 has seen the economy take a drastic downturn, with many employers cutting back costs and making redundancies. As the UK begins to emerge from a state of lockdown and being to go back to work from furlough or return to the office, it’s vital to concentrate on ways to improve the economy through resources employers may already have.

“Around 800,000 young people aged 18–24 are expected to join the labour market this year, only to face a barren terrain; according to one projection, the number of 18–24-year-olds not in education, employment or training could rise to one million in the next year. All these individuals will need to train quickly, both to meet emerging demand in sectors that are still growing despite the pandemic, and to capitalise on new jobs as the economy bounces back.”

The apprenticeship levy fund, set up for those companies with a £3m or more pay bill, could be better used to source young apprentices and target those leaving school looking for work. According to CJS, ‘pupils know too little about apprentices’, there is a lack of advice, guidance and promotion given at schools and colleges, with some schools almost completely ignoring apprenticeships as a route to employment.

University still remains at the forefront of many institutes’ advice for the ‘next step’ for 16-18-year olds whilst degree apprenticeships – those equated to a university achieved degree – are almost forgotten by some. The report adds whilst the number of apprenticeships dropped by a quarter between 2014-15 and 2018-2019, higher-level apprenticeships ‘have, in fact, grown substantially’.

The report was backed by Managing Director of Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) Jane Hickie, who said the CSJ was ‘right to talk up how vital it is for the government to support start level (level 2) apprenticeships. The AELP strong supports the CSJ’s recommendation that the government should go back to fully funding the apprenticeships of 16 to 18-year olds out of its mainstream budges instead of relying on the levy.’

How can organisations promote apprenticeships to school leavers?

Connect on multiple platforms

Social media is the best way to get in front of young people’s eyes, whether this be over Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or others.

Seek advice from past students

If you know someone left your organisation to study an apprenticeship, why not see if they have some time to come back in to speak to leavers about how they completed the process and what their apprenticeship is like.

Call on providers

Training providers and colleges who run apprenticeships are always looking for new students, why not get their director of apprenticeships to come in and share the advice and guidance on taking the apprenticeship route once they leave school.

Involve employers early on

A lot of employers offer apprenticeships in subjects that students may not have even thought of or considered, with the new standards now available there is almost an apprenticeship for everything. Having an employer directly address some of the apprenticeship types they are looking for may spark some interest and conversation from school leavers.

To read the full report, click here

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To find out how Smart Apprentices can help your organisation with their apprenticeship delivery, book a short 15-minute consultation with our Strategic Partnership Consultant, Kieran here.