The Value of Apprenticeships

Posted on: March 21st, 2014 by Jessica

This month saw National Apprenticeship Week 2014, now in its seventh year, coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

Recent Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the Centre for Economic and Business Research demonstrate the real value of apprenticeships to UK businesses. Last year apprentices delivered approximately £1.8 billion of net economic benefits to UK organisations, with apprentices offering UK businesses a strong return on investment with wage and training costs often been exceeded by economic output.

Importantly this research illustrates that many companies enjoy economic benefits whilst their apprentice is still in the training period. Once the apprentice is fully qualified, employers can then expect to see further productivity and financial progress whilst apprentices can benefit from increased earnings potential. The research shows overall positive findings for apprenticeships:

  • 75% of employers who’s apprentices had completed their training confirmed that some or all of the former apprentices were still working for them (BIS, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Apprenticeships Evaluation report August 2013)
  • The take up of apprenticeship schemes has grown rapidly over the past five years
  • In 2012/2013 there were over half a million new apprenticeship starts in England alone, which is an increase of over 50% of the number seen in 2007/2008.
  • Despite a common perception that apprenticeships relate more to manual work, by sector area, the most popular subject for apprenticeship starts in 2012/2013 was Business, Administration and Law, followed by Health, Public Services and Care and Retail and Commercial Enterprise.

The research suggests that most organisations benefit from retaining apprentices once they have qualified, bringing all the benefits that high levels of staff retention can bring. Additional benefits businesses have reported include;

  • New ideas been brought to the organisation
  • Improved product or service quality
  • Improved staff morale
  • Improved image in the sector and better ability to attract good staff

However despite these findings being very positive, recent research also shows there is a lack of awareness of the Government’s apprenticeship offer and its benefits. This is especially evident amongst smaller companies, meaning many organisations are currently missing this opportunity. BIS surveyed small businesses in August 2013 and found around 60% of those surveyed were lacking a basic knowledge of the Government’s programme and the support available including subsidies and expert advice.

Following the research, Jane Scott Paul, Chief Executive of AAT said:

“Take-up of apprenticeship schemes has grown sharply over the past five years, as more and more organisations enjoy the benefits that apprenticeships can bring to the workplace. We now need to do more to engage with smaller businesses – to break down the misconceptions and make it easier for smaller enterprises to unlock the full potential of training apprentices on the job and to gain specific skills relevant to their business.”

The Cornwall College Group last year was the 8th largest FE college provider of apprenticeships in the UK, and the largest in the south west past Bristol. The college has a long history of providing quality apprenticeships to local business communities, last year the 10,000th (16-18) apprentice in the last 10 years was enrolled.

So how can you get involved? Join the 300 in 100 campaign; this is The Cornwall College Group’s pledge within the Cornwall Apprenticeships Campaign to get 300 businesses to pledge to take an apprenticeship in 100 days. The Cornwall College Business (CCB) recruitment team are dedicated in matching employers with their ideal apprentice. Whether you have an existing employee who would benefit from an Apprenticeship scheme or you are looking for the perfect candidate for your business, the Cornwall College Business recruitment team can assist you. They can help in creating your vacancy, shortlisting candidates and getting the programme off to a brilliant start. Contact the recruitment team on or 0800 731 7594 to get more information and register your interest in taking on an apprentice.