In the wake of National Apprenticeship Week, Simon Acres Group MD Simon Acres calls for the industry to come together and consider different ways to attract young people into the KBB sector.
Everyone agrees that we are facing a severe skills gap and we must do more to attract young people into the KBB industry – the issue is finding solutions that work. A recent report by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said 60% of UK firms are experiencing difficulties in recruiting the skilled workers they need. The CIPD, (qualifications and training), revealed that 84% of UK employers believe that the skills gap is a major concern for their organisation.
This situation is bad for business in many ways – not having the right staff impacts on quality of service and ultimately the bottom line. A report by the Learning & Work Institute (L&W) found that the UK skills shortage will cost the country £120billion by 2030, and overall there will be a shortfall of 2.5million highly skilled workers.
At Simon Acres Group, we held our first Careers Day in 2022 to try to explore the barriers, and find ways to address the issues, particularly in relation to why we don’t have more apprentices in our industry.
It became clear from the discussions that the situation is complex. There are many myths surrounding apprenticeships – a lack of knowledge amongst employers and young people about the benefits, and confusion about how to get involved.
We hope to address these issues and many other questions with our second Careers Day, which will be held on 22nd March 2023, at the Simon Acres Group head office in Wellingborough.
Our own experience of bringing two apprentices into the business has helped us understand the process and the pitfalls. We believe that it is one of the best career options open to young people, but it needs to be better understood.
It is a myth that the apprenticeship route is inferior to gaining a university degree, students can continue their education all the way to degree level if they wish. Additionally, students on an apprenticeship have the opportunity to earn while they learn – an important factor during a cost of living crisis. Students also benefit from being in the workplace and gaining experience at all levels, as well as having access to mentors.
For the employer, they can claim up to 90% of the costs, but they need to find the right provider. There are lots of providers, but it is best to work with one that has experience in the KBB sector.
While we are huge supporters of apprenticeships, we also promote other ways to bring young people on board. Companies can engage directly with their local sixth forms and colleges to attract young people, and offer their own in -house training programme, if this is available. For this to be successful, the industry needs to get into schools and colleges and promote our industry, attending careers fairs or hosting their own workshops.
We hope to share ideas such as these and offer a platform for others to contribute their own experiences and best practice ideas at the Careers Day – we already have over 100 confirmed attendees, but there is room for more if you want to join us.
Those interested in attending can find out more and register their interest HERE.