The notion of apprenticeships has appeared distinctly unfashionable, if not somewhat quaint, in recent years.
What with trends in further education – not least the exponential expansion of university courses and places on offer - it’s as though the learning of good, honest workaday skills has been shunted down the order. A place at uni has become the be-all.
If it wasn’t for the (mis)appropriation of the term by the purveyors of reality television, then it’s almost as if an apprenticeship had become a relic of a bygone era: something your dad did when he left school. Or your grandad.
Which is strange, if not misguided, since it’s a system with many benefits: for the apprentice, of course, but also for the master. And for the employer, the customer and the economy as a whole.
Change, however, is underway, with a shift in strategic thinking at government level. And here at Danford, Brewer and Ives, we are more than happy to play our part.
We believe in the value that apprenticeships can bring – to our business and so to the client.
…and so, naturally, to the hopes and prospects of the apprentice. It’s just as well, then, that we’re actively seeking a new starter right now!
The need for good quality training is, of course, essential if a business like ours is to go from strength to strength, and with training split between college and that offered on the job, apprenticeships offer a strong mix of technical and practical skills.
Current government policy is to boost both the quantity and quality of apprenticeships on offer, with a target figure of three million starts in England by 2020.
In short, the aim is to address a skills shortage reported by employers; it’s worth pointing out that other countries, for example, such as Germany, offer considerably more apprenticeships than the UK.
It’s a system that puts employers in the driving seat – the idea that they best know the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to thrive in the workplace.
The net result hoped for is a rise in productivity – a figure in which the UK lags behind other G7 nations by up to 20 percent.
So the problem might be current, yet there’s nothing new about the solution: the master and apprentice relationship dates back to the Middle Ages.
For the apprentice, the advantages are the chance to learn skills, gain career prospects and, of course, earn good money.
Meanwhile, the master can take satisfaction in seeing the apprentice gain skills and build confidence – a process they themselves benefited from.
The idea of handing down skills from generation to generation is an appealing one for many reasons. For a start, it means that experience gained at a company such as DB&I is never lost; it will only be built upon.
So our way of doing things stays precisely that – which is a big plus, for example, when it comes to retaining longstanding clients.
Apprenticeships also tend to lead to a lower staff turnover: a sizeable proportion of starters go on to become full-time employees, and for a good many years’ standing.
This means that they really know the company, its work, and clients - inside and out and back to front. Not only does that mean they’re a great asset, it also reflects well on the company itself.
Underpinning everything is a respect for tradition as well as a level of trust that - in a working world that has increasingly viewed employees as ‘resource’ – might arguably be missing elsewhere.
We are members of the CITB – the training board for the construction industry – who help us ensure that all our training is developed within their guidelines, meaning an apprentice will learn the right skills for the job.
They are the largest provider of apprentices for the construction industry, with over 45 years’ experience of developing skilled workers.
According to the CITB, 80 percent of employers say that apprentices make them more productive while a similar percentage of apprentices said that an apprenticeship had boosted their career prospects.
So if you fancy a career in building services and live in North Yorkshire area then why not get in touch? The first step would be a work experience placement. After that, it’s up to you…