Employer demand for apprenticeships rises by 40% in Wales since September
Businesses in all sectors across Wales are continuing to recruit apprentices and upskill their existing workforce using apprenticeships despite the economic challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, new figures have revealed.
Between September 1 and November 22, the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW) reports that 373 employers contacted its Apprenticeship Team through the Business Wales Skills Gateway compared to 234 in the same period last year. In the same period, 162 apprenticeship starts were confirmed.
Across Wales, the number of businesses wishing to engage with apprenticeships increased by an average of 40%, with construction and building services being the most popular sector.
To date this year, 1,330 employers have contacted the Apprenticeship Team through the Business Wales Skills Gateway compared to 1,172 in 2019.
Funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund, the team works closely with employers and interested stakeholders across Wales to handle all apprenticeship enquiries.
The NTfW represents more than 70 quality assured work-based learning providers with links to thousands of employers across Wales.
An employer begins the apprenticeship process by completing an expression of interest form on the Business Wales Skills Gateway website. The NTfW’s Apprenticeship Team then contacts the employer and identifies which apprenticeship framework and pathway are required before passing a referral to learning providers best placed to deliver in specific sectors. The employer selects which provider to work with.
The Welsh Government is currently offering businesses an incentive payment of up to £3,000 until February 28 next year for each new member of staff – up to a maximum of 10 per organisation – they recruit and enrol on the apprenticeship programme.
A marketing campaign has also been launched to promote apprenticeships which are considered a key tool in the post-pandemic economic recovery in Wales.
Catherine Morris-Roberts, the NTfW’s apprenticeships programme development manager, believes the incentive, launched at the end of October, and marketing campaign are encouraging more employers to consider recruiting apprentices.
She praised work-based learning providers across Wales for their flexibility in adapting apprenticeship delivery to meet the needs of employers during the pandemic.
“There are so many benefits from recruiting an apprentice,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what size or sector a business is in. If they are looking to grow a skilled workforce, then apprenticeships are an affordable way to attract fresh talent, hungry to learn and loyal to a business, or to increase the skill levels of a current workforce.
“It’s pleasing that employers in all 23 sectors in Wales are engaging with apprenticeships, not just the traditionally popular industries of construction, engineering, manufacturing and hairdressing.
“Many businesses are taking advantage of the new incentive payments from the Welsh Government to upskill their existing workforce, especially in management type frameworks.
“Other businesses are growing, despite the pandemic, and are recruiting apprentices. We are seeing an increase in IT and digital marketing apprenticeship frameworks.”
Employers can discover how they can benefit from taking on an apprentice or upskilling their workforce by registering their interest at businesswales.gov.wales/skillsgateway/apprenticeships or by calling 03301 228 338 for more information.
Individuals who are finding their way in the world of work or taking steps towards a career change can find out more at gov.wales/apprenticeships-genius-decision
The Apprenticeship Programme is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.