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New research released to mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week has found businesses place apprentices at the heart of their plans to rise to the top and rank hiring the right staff as the most important factor in helping them grow.

Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Government’s drive to equip people with the skills that employers need to grow and compete. Research shows that eight in ten managers believe apprentices are vital to their organisation’s expansion plans.

Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service, said:

“National Apprenticeship Week celebrates apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

“Now is the time for more young people to consider apprenticeships as a route into a successful and rewarding career and for more businesses to get on board and reap the benefits. Some of the country’s top employers are offering work experience, traineeships and apprenticeships to help give young people the best start in their career.

“With more higher and degree apprenticeships becoming available, young people are able to choose an equally valid route as going to university, aim high and get right to the top.

The research also showed that managers hiring apprentices were five times more likely to believe the company would expand rapidly, than those that don’t.

The right people and skills are ten times more important to expansion than access to finance.

Two thirds (61 percent) of managers in growing firms felt that hiring the right staff or having employees with the right skills was the most important factor in realising the company’s ambitions and many major UK companies have committed to expanding their apprenticeship programme.

The new independent research for the Skills Funding Agency found that the right people and skills are ten times more important to businesses when it comes to expansion than access to finance.

Economics of apprenticeships

Four million apprenticeships were started in England during the last Parliament, with nearly 20,000 traineeships started between 2014 and 2-15.

Apprenticeships are available in 1500 job roles, covering more than 170 industries with more than 1300 employers are involved in designing the new apprenticeships standards.

Almost nine out of every ten apprenticeship employers hoping to achieve business benefits tell us that apprenticeships deliver – including 89 percent reporting that it has helped their business improve the quality of their product or service.

Benefits to apprenticeships

After finishing, the majority of apprentices (90 percent) stay in employment, with seven in ten staying with the same employer.

A quarter of former apprentices had been promoted within 12 months of finishing and almost 90 percent of apprentices said their said their ability to do the job and career prospects had improved.

On average, individuals with an advanced apprenticeship earn between £77,000 and £117,000 more over their lifetime than similar individuals with Level 2 qualifications. Those completing a higher apprenticeship could see increased earnings of an estimated £150,000 over their lifetime.

Nearly a fifth (19 percent) of advanced apprentices progress to higher education over time following their apprenticeship, either at a college or university.