It has been confirmed that by 2017, Digital Apprenticeships Vouchers will be introduced by the Government to assist with the financial costs of hiring and training Apprentices. The Prime Minister, David Cameron has pledged to create three million Apprenticeships by 2020, a large enticing figure, but is this figure practical?
Legislation has been introduced to require all school leavers to participate in some form of learning until they are 18 if born after the 1st September 1997. This has meant that Apprenticeships have become frequent channels for those wishing to gain valuable employability skills in a working environment. However, anyone is able to undertake an Apprenticeship if they are over 16 years of age, not in full time education and are living in England.
Martin Doel, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges is sceptical that the vouchers would ‘lead to more public and private sector employers taking on or hiring an apprentice’. However, for 16-18 year olds, the discounted voucher rates could total up to 100% which would make apprenticeships worthwhile not only for the Apprentices but especially enticing for the employers, essentially only having to invest time rather than money.
Alongside the announcement of the vouchers, the Government also announced plans for an increase in the minimum wage for Apprenticeships. The rise will be around 57p (20%) from £2.73 to £3.30 per hour and will occur in October 2015. This is the largest wage rise for Apprentices ever.
The vouchers do throw up some questions, such as the recruitment of Apprentices older than 18 years. Will businesses seek to employ the younger candidates based on the larger discount rates available to them? Would this place the older candidates at a disadvantage regardless of their previous working experience? We’d love to bring your opinions and feedbacks to our conversation about this on our EngagEd forum.
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