Posted by British Gas in Community
National Apprenticeship Week 2014 is in full swing and since youth unemployment remains at a worrying 20%, it’s more important than ever that we do everything we can to help get young people into work.
British Gas is a long-time advocate of apprenticeships, spending £150 million since 2007 in our training academies, and we always use National Apprenticeships Week as a platform to raise awareness of the benefits that skilled training can bring to individuals and our business.
The quality of the training on offer at British Gas has attracted the Minister for Skills and Enterprise, Matt Hancock MP to pay a visit to our award-winning Academy in Leicester. The Minister met with Service and Repair and Smart Meter apprentices and you can hear what he has to say about the future of apprentices for the UK in this video.
A new report, which British Gas has supported, by think tank Demos argues that increasing the number of apprenticeships by up to 300,000 would go some way to make a dent in youth unemployment.
As one of Britain’s largest apprenticeship providers, it’s surprising to discover that less than 10% of employers in England offer apprenticeships. For every 1,000 employers, just 11 apprenticeships are offered. When this is compared with 39 in Australia, 40 in Germany and 43 in Switzerland, it’s clear that Britain’s lagging behind. And it’s not down to a lack of demand. Fifty four percent of young people (aged 16-24) in England would choose to do an apprenticeship if one was available, but just 6.6% are currently in an apprenticeship.
Our own apprenticeship programme is very popular with over 50 applications for every apprenticeship place. We have just started the recruitment for our 2014 scheme, so it will be interesting to see if this number keeps growing.
While the Demos report calls for the government to reroute funding to allow for more apprenticeships, we’ll continue training and employing young people in our six specialist academies to spread the word on the value of apprenticeships for both employers and individuals.
If you’d like to find out more about the apprenticeships we offer or apply for one today, click here.
Christine McGourty is the Director of Corporate Affairs for British Gas.