Apprenticeships – not dole
November 9, 2011
The latest figures around unemployment are frightening for one particular demographic. There are now over one million young people aged 18-24 out of work, with many also devoid of training or further education.
Being young and unemployed has knock-on effects for not only social wellbeing in the form of lowered self-confidence and esteem, but also for local economies in the form of spending powers. The only option for many is signing on to Jobseeker’s Allowance and taking part in the lottery of applying for limited job opportunities.
An alternative to this gamble is apprenticeships: on the job, practical learning in a trade or contemporary profession. While the government has invested significantly in raising the awareness of apprenticeships from both employer and employee perspective through the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), I would argue what is really needed is a localised approach to developing and embedding apprenticeships into the every day practices of the public, commercial and social sectors.
The value of apprenticeships to public authorities, private sector partners, local economies and the state has certainly been evident in recent research undertaken by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES). Working with Manchester City Council and particularly its Capital Programmes Team we have sought to explore the cost-benefits of the Manchester People into Construction (MPiC) scheme.
The scheme is embedded into the procurement framework agreements of the North West Construction Hub and seeks to provide three-year apprenticeship opportunities with organisations delivering construction projects for Manchester City Council. The beauty of the scheme is that it comes at very little direct cost to the council and presents few risks to the construction partners themselves as recruitment of apprentices is handled by the council and wages handled through the social employment focused Aspire model.