You’re Hired!

Oli Barrett MBE stresses the importance of apprenticeships as new opportunities are revealed in industries from Film and TV to Entrepreneurship

The Apprentice rose to fame as the TV show featuring Lord Sugar in which, bizarrely, someone who hasn’t yet got a job, gets fired.

In the new ceramics apprenticeship, announced yesterday, firing is optional.

Apprenticeships, we are told, generate £26 of return for every pound invested. These work-based training programmes, designed with employers, combine on and off the job learning and development activities. And you can expect to hear a great deal more about them over the coming months.

In short, the government is planning for 3 million apprenticeships for 2020. And (unlike its target for a trillion pounds of exports by the same year), there are some visible cross-sector plans afoot to achieve this.

One part of the plan is to create a series of Trailblazer groups (140 so far) in which employers design and deliver schemes. The latest list, from Power Generation Technician to Entrepreneur is a timely reminder that apprenticeships come in all shapes and sizes. And for anyone who thinks that they are a bunch of cobblers, then yes, “Shoemaking” is one of the new categories. As is “Lift Mechanic”, which, despite the ups and downs, should open a lot of doors.

On a serious note, it’s excellent to see so much happening in this area, driven in part by some terrific employers. If you want to find out more about apprenticeships, there is a helpful site here.

For too many young people, their first experience of work is something to be dreaded. It can be impersonal, belittling and impractical. Fortunately, employers of all sizes are waking up and smelling the coffee.

With luck, the work experience which used to consist of  simply “making the tea” will be a thing of the past. No sugar for me.

Oli Barrett MBE, is a founder of Cospa, the co-sponsorship agency that helps to create and deliver social action projects, such as Tenner, Web Mission, Clean and Cool Mission and Volunteer It Yourself. He also co-founded StartUp Britain and can be found on Twitter.


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