Apprenticeships deliver outstanding value and are essential in creating a skilled and knowledgeable workforce

Posted on: 6th Feb 2023

Justin Merritt, Ignite Training CEO, marks National Apprenticeship Week by discussing the value of apprenticeships and why more people will turn to paid on-the-job development.

Last month, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak outlined his plans to ensure all school pupils in England study maths of some form until at least the age of 18.

He said this strategy would help people develop skills to “feel confident” with finances and make educated decisions on key responsibilities like mortgage deals and managing personal finance later in life.

In our opinion, there is no greater way of developing skills and knowledge than experiencing the subject or situation with guidance from experts in their field in the real world.

There are three mainstream ways this can be achieved currently:

  • School field trips – an opportunity to study or learn something first-hand
  • Work experience – a short-term way of being exposed to a particular career
  • Apprenticeships – paid full-time employment combined with tailored training

These provisions play an essential role in supporting young people to develop an understanding of the real world and how professionalism, competence and passion are key in fulfilling happy and successful careers.

Proven education pathway

Last year in England, over 349,000 people started an apprenticeship – an 8.6% rise year-on-year.

Increasingly, school leavers, young professionals, established employees and even senior members of staff are learning new skills, upskilling and enhancing their career prospects by turning to apprenticeships.

An education pathway once dubbed as serving the working class only is now transforming people’s lives and helping them have positive aspirations for their futures.

The Prime Minister is right to say education is key in unlocking confidence for individuals to make clear decisions in later life. Apprenticeships can be at heart of his vision for everyone to have the skills needed to live and work with confidence.

Multi-functional and available to everyone

Besides delivering qualifications for almost every career you could imagine, apprenticeships have progressed in several other key areas in recent years.

Industry recognised qualifications are now being used to facilitate a pathway to further education either via university or a degree-level apprenticeships. The average age of an apprentice has increased significantly too which underlines the credibility and value of broadening your knowledge.

In the most recent academic year, people aged 25 and older accounted for almost half (47.4%) of apprentices in England.

At Ignite Training, we firmly believe there is a vocational qualification out there for everyone – regardless of where an individual might be in their career.

Value for money

An article published in the Telegraph during the festive break caught my attention.

The piece revealed how teenagers are opting to study an apprenticeship in favour of starting university because they want better value for money.

It should be made clear starting an apprenticeship is by no means a barrier in a person’s ability to enrol onto a degree once their vocational qualification is completed.

Ed Elliott, Headteacher at The Perse School – an independent school in Cambridge – described apprenticeships as a “big growth area” for his pupils.

He said: “People are starting to say, well hold on, going to university is really expensive. I’ve got to start my adult postgraduate life with between £40,000 and £60,000 worth of debt.

“What are the long-term consequences of that in terms of when I can afford my first house? When might I be able to retire?”

READ MORE: Middle-class students ditching degrees for apprenticeships

COVID-19 and the cost of living

We’ve all experienced a major shift in how we live our lives in recent years.

The unforeseen COVID-19 pandemic and recent rises to the cost of living will continue to dictate parts of our daily routines for many years to come.

With the price of almost everything increasing, people naturally want to get the best value for their money. Apprenticeships deliver this value by providing free education and paid on-the-job development in a career that interests the learner and is relevant to their professional ambitions.

Best of all, recent studies show apprentices are 85% more likely to stay in employment post qualification and a staggering 64% will remain with the same employer.

At a time where good news can be challenging to locate, apprenticeships hold the power to develop and establish a skilled workforce for the future.

Justin Merritt, Ignite Training CEO.

About Ignite Training

Established in 1999, Ignite’s primary aim is to actively inspire people, and to help create a sense of achievement for everyone. Based in Oxford and operating nationally, we provide a portfolio of training and services to individuals, schools and the sports industry, ranging from weekly clubs for tots to adult courses and apprenticeships.

About Ignite Training