School leavers facing the toughest employment conditions in years could find themselves being snapped up by the channel for apprenticeships, as they enter the job market this summer.
More SMEs than ever are turning to apprenticeships to strengthen their workforce and channel players are among those looking to take advantage of the government-funded schemes.
Recent figures from the Data Service reveal that the number of people joining apprenticeship schemes in the nine months to 30 April boomed by 15 per cent to 196,600. The number of over 25s signing up almost quadrupled in that period to 46,800.
And according to figures from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), 69 per cent of all apprenticeships take place within SMEs.
Mark Eighteen, regional director for London at government-funded training company Key Training, said: “Due to the downturn there are more candidates in the marketplace now and the number being taken on by SMEs has gone up. This is great for SMEs in particular because apprentices are cost effective and mouldable to your company’s culture.
“Most candidates are suited to supportive roles such as sales, administration or an extra receptionist. SMEs should know that they are normally taking on board an inexperienced candidate so they need support at first, but over a period of six to nine months they have the chance to prove their worth possibly landing themselves a full-time position at the end of the apprenticeship.”
Francis West, chief executive of FWCS said the IT consultancy has previously invested in apprentices from Key Training for administration and technical positions.
He said: “We are looking for more apprentices as we speak because you can not put a value on how helpful the last two have been for us. One candidate has been involved in liaising with clients and buying quotes.
“Our technical candidate has been involved in onsite installations, PC support and services, to name but a few. With a 16-strong team, apprentices have massive cost savings for us.”
Scott Fletcher, chairman of reseller ANS, said: “We take apprentices on for sales these recruits are usually slightly older and more experienced. The technical side of business is popular with younger candidates that have a vocational interest in IT.
“If we find a recruit with a great attitude, wanting to progress in their career, we take them on full time.”
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