Almost Half Of Companies Favour Apprentices Over Graduates

A large proportion of UK employers are showing a preference for recruiting apprentices instead of graduates, Fresh Business Thinking reported recently, citing a survey conducted on behalf of and the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR). According to the poll results, 48% of respondents reported such a shift, partly attributing it to the difficulty companies experience in filling entry-level positions.

The survey established that 57% of employers faced challenges in securing the right people for entry-level jobs. According to 34% of the sample, the biggest problem was the shortage of technical ability and that was most acutely felt in the areas of IT, manufacturing and R&D. Employers also complained that graduate recruits lacked soft skills and work experience, with 32% and 31% respectively including those among their key issues.

Apprenticeships were cited by 27% as critical for tackling the skills shortage. In addition, 25% of respondents said they wanted business skills taught in schools and 18% called for more work-oriented degrees. graduate director Mike Fetters noted that government grants had encouraged more employers to take on apprentices, making it possible to address the specific skill needs of the enterprise. Many survey participants said that their graduate applicants did not come up to expectations. Meanwhile, employers looking for people with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills reported a shortage of graduates with relevant degrees. Considering all the issues mentioned, it does not seem surprising that apprentices have become the preferred option for many employers, allowing them to shape the talent they need, Fetters said.

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National Apprenticeship Week 2013: Two Young Britons Explain Their Choice Of The Apprenticeship Route

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, many young Britons in vocational training will be sharing their stories through the media or the numerous events organised around the country. The Guardian caught up with two apprentices, who talked about their choice and the reason they had opted for an apprenticeships over university.

Sixteen-year-old Natasha Swan is doing an engineering apprenticeship at aerospace and defence giant Rolls-Royce. In addition to her practical work at the company, she is studying for an engineering BTEC. The combination gives Natasha the opportunity to apply theory to practice, understanding both the whys and hows of the products and processes. She also notes the diversity of the programme, with subject matter including life skills such as business and communication. According to Natasha, many students simply drift along at school without developing an interest in anything but everyone at her workplace is sharply focused and ambitious. Natasha is now hoping to obtain a degree as part of the apprenticeship programme and will then strive to climb as high as possible in the business. She concluded by saying that she wants to explore different opportunities because she likes variety, which is something an apprenticeship can provide.

Billy Utting is 22 and favours an active lifestyle, which makes a desk job unappealing to him. He is currently in training at Pimlico Plumbers and describes his decision to become an apprentice as “looking at the bigger picture.” Billy, who was earning £200 a week at 17, says that many of his friends see no reason in doing an apprenticeship when a person could simply get a job. However, he believes he is gaining the skills that will ensure a well-paying job is there waiting for him when his training is done.


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Luke Taylor – Apprentice Award

Luke Taylor – Apprentice at British Converting Solutions Ltd; recently completed his intensive initial workshop and technical certificate programme at ATG Training. His hard work was recognised at an award ceremony just before Christmas.

To mark Luke’s achievement, Ian Harper – CEO of ATG Training also presented an award to Simon Penwright – Operations Director at British Converting Solutions.

Commenting on the award Simon said: ‘I am thrilled that Luke’s hard work and diligence has been recognised in this way. I’m particularly pleased as I know it has not been easily achieved. The team at ATG Training have kept me fully appraised of the progress Luke is making and the fact that this is challenging is testament to the quality knowledge Luke is learning, which will help keep our business profitable’. I will certainly consider recruiting apprentices in the future as a way of keeping my workforce technically competent in an ever changing market place’.

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Mark Paxton IT Apprentice

Mark Paxton may only be 17 years old, but he’s already begun his career in IT. His secret? Obtaining a National Vocational Qualification (NQV) Level 2 for IT Practitioners from ATG Training.

When were you an apprentice at ATG?
I started my apprenticeship in September 2009, and it finished at the start of January 2010.

Which apprenticeship did you take?
ICT. I had been interested in ICT for quite a few years before I looked at ATG.

What made you want to take part in ATG’s program?
ATG offered to get me an interview and help get me a job during and after the course.

Is it safe to say the followed through on those offerings?
Yes, ATG helped me prepare for my interview and helped me write my CV. I was offered an interview with ABS Ltd in November 2009, approximately half way through my course, and following that they offered me a placement the week before Christmas. After my placement, (ABS) offered me the job and Level 3 course.

Did you attend an ATG Open Day prior to apprenticeship?
Yes, I was shown around and explained what ATG is and what they do. The most important thing I learned at the Open Day was what the ICT course was all about (what it consisted of and what was required). Based on the visit, I wanted to join ATG because of the short course and the offer of helping me get a job.

What certification did ATG help you obtain?
NVQ Level 2 for IT Practitioners

What was your favourite part about the ATG apprenticeship?
The course was short and expanded my knowledge a lot. I learned General ICT software, hardware troubleshooting and repairing, and customer support.

What did you like most about ATG in general?
I met a few new friends, and the tutors were always happy to help and have a laugh.

You’re now with ABS Ltd. When did you start working there?
I started at ABS Ltd on 4th January 2010, following my weeks placement in December.

What is your position, and what are your duties in this new role?
I’m a Support Technician. I provide software and hardware to support to customers and monitor servers.

Do you think you would have been able to obtain your current position without help from ATG?
No, I would not have known about the position without the help of ATG, as ABS recruits directly from ATG.

Would you recommend ATG to others?
Yep, it’s definitely worth the time, and you will meet new people whilst getting the qualification.

For further information about our apprenticeships, contact 01296 737800 or

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Record numbers of Apprentices


Director of Learning and Skills

Director of Learning and Skills

Success rates for apprenticeships have been increasing each year as the LSC and Ofsted drive providers to raise standards.  ATG Training’s success rates for 2008/9 are looking very good, particularly the number of apprentices completing their programmes within the specified time limit.  This has been achieved by investment in technology for the assessor teams and a better approach to caseloads and visit frequencies.

I wonder whether the high numbers of completions was influenced by the lack of funding for 2009/10 – providers may have accelerated the programmes of many apprentices to ensure their completions were funded.

Whilst encouraging, the participation in skills for life courses needs to be considered alongside the numbers of Britons who are considered illiterate or innumerate, numbers which are far too high in some areas of the country.  There is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure that students do not leave compulsory education with less than an acceptable level of literacy and numeracy.  It should not be left to FE or work-based learning to develop what 11+ years of schooling has failed to address.  Many employers are shocked at the levels of literacy and numeracy among prospective apprentices and the fundamental education that is required before skills-based training can begin.

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Focus on Buckinghamshire – a snapshot

Carolyn Mumby, Managing Director of specialist employment Law firm ELE and mover and shaker at the online apprenticeship site Jigsawww recently attended the Bacon and Breakfast event at the Future Centre. Carolyn was so impressed with what she saw, she felt moved to write an article about her experiences.

This features on the front page of Jigsawww and the full article can be read here

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