Employing youngsters ‘makes business sense’

FIRMS were told that employing apprentices is a ‘no brainer’ for very many good business reasons.

Subsidies for training young people aged 16-19 are set to increase, said Julia Brady, of the National Apprenticeships Service.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting at Cranfield Innovation Centre on Wednesday, Julia said: “The reason why some big employers do apprenticeships isn’t just because it’s socially responsible.

“They can see the difference it makes on the bottom line.”

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Some big employers involved in apprenticeships include Vauxhall in Luton and Nissan in Cranfield.

Superdrug has seen trained apprentices to on to typically make £13,750 a year more than the average for company staff.

Julia, who is the apprenticeships contact for Luton, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, told representatives of about 30 companies that McDonalds has seen improved staff retention rates. “In terms of motivation of staff, it is a no-brainer,” she added.

There has been criticism in the media lately of firms which have been using apprenticeships to train staff over the age of 25. But the breakfast briefing was told that this aspect is being phased out. Subsidies are being concentrated on the 16-18 age group, which includes young people up until the day before their 19th birthday.

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From April subsidies of £1,500 per apprentice will be available to small businesses to help pay the cost of their wages.

And there are moves to hand over training budgets to employers and away from training providers.

> Contact the National Apprenticeships Service on 0800 0150 600 or visit www.apprenticeships.org,uk