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Training key to quality apprenticeships

Apprenticeship failures

Employers using apprentices as ‘cheap labour’ rather than future leaders in need of training is the main reason for apprenticeships failing, according to a poll.

Two-thirds of Aecom apprentices surveyed by the engineering giant this year believed lack of training was the main factor in vocational schemes across the industry not working.

Yet three in four respondents said apprenticeships had developed them as people quicker than a degree would have done.

On the first day of National Apprenticeship Week, Aecom called for more to be done to attract young people to vocational routes into engineering.

Aecom managing director for transportation in Europe Paul McCormick said: “I began my career as an apprentice more than three decades ago, so I know first-hand that apprenticeships are a proven, viable route into the infrastructure and built environment sector.

“More needs to be done, however, to convince good candidates that apprenticeships offer a meaningful and rewarding career path, including sponsorship for a part-time degree at a later date.”

Membership body Engineering UK has estimated that the sector needs to double the number of apprentices and graduates it is taking on each year by 2022.

Institution of Civil Engineers director of membership Sean Harris said today: “The political support for new apprenticeships, and the growing interest from employers, is promising. But quality is the key here – schemes must be set to rigorous standards so apprentices are equipped to progress on the career ladder and go onto achieve a recognised professional qualification.

“It is also important that schools are properly resourced with careers guidance so young people are aware of all the engineering career paths available to them.”

Network Rail last week revealed that seven in 10 people on its advanced apprenticeship scheme said they were first among their friends to be promoted.

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