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CITB seeks parental support in apprentice recruitment

9 Mar 15 As National Apprenticeship Week kicks off, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has said that it needs the support of parents in recruiting the next generation of apprentices.

NG Bailey is among companies offering apprenticeships
NG Bailey is among companies offering apprenticeships

Three-quarters of parents think construction apprenticeships are a good option -  but only 32% think it is the best choice for their own child.

The publication of CITB’s findings coincides with the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2015. Also just out is a new report from the Centre for Economics & Business Research (CEBR), which shows that consumers prefer to do business with businesses employing apprentices. Apprenticeships could bring in an extra £18bn for UK business according to the report, which was launched to mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2015. Events across the country will celebrate the success of apprenticeships.

National Apprenticeship Week will also see the launch of a new mentoring service for small businesses interested in taking on apprentices.

NG Bailey is one of those companies backing apprenticeships. Apprenticeship places there will increase by approximately 200% this year but demand still far exceeds places. NG Bailey recently opened up its 2015 apprenticeship window and reports that within the first few weeks of opening, there have already been over 1,800 applications for roles across 13 different specialisms, ranging from electrical engineering to quantity surveying. Apprentices currently make up more than 5% of NG Bailey’s total workforce.

The CITB report found that although 9 in 10 parents support the idea of apprenticeships in general, just 19% had discussed them with their child’s school, whereas 45% had discussed the possibility of their child going to university. The poll features in a new report by think-tank Demos, which follows a year-long Commission on Apprenticeships, designed to boost apprenticeship numbers and make sure qualifications are fit for purpose.

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The report outlines the need for major reforms, including that one member of every school governing body should be be appointed as a ‘careers lead’ to champion information, careers advice and guidance in schools. All students aged 14-16 should be offered the chance to take a vocational subject alongside academic study. This would not be compulsory but the option would be available to all.

CITB’s director of policy, Steve Radley, said that schools and parents need a better understanding of what apprenticeships offer. “As well as leading to rewarding careers, construction apprenticeships can also be the pathway to a university degree but are too often seen as a second best alternative to it.

“This report offers a fresh look at how to best promote apprenticeships to young people. Now we must help industry, schools and parents to make it happen.”

Institution of Civil Engineers director general Nick Baveystock said: “Apprenticeships have received strong cross-party support, however more needs to be done to increase the quality - not just the quantity - of apprenticeships and those on the schemes should have the opportunity to go on and gain professional qualifications at the end, setting them up for careers in their chosen fields.

“The UK can only thrive if it has a vibrant, technically and intellectually proficient workforce and the next government must place this at the heart of their economic growth policies. Support for the ‘Trailblazer’ scheme - where groups of employers club together to set up apprenticeship schemes tailored to the needs of business - should continue and government must also take steps to ensure schools communicate the wide range of STEM career paths available, including apprenticeships.”

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