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Apprenticeships boom but young people unaware of breadth of opportunities

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More than half (55 percent) of young people would consider applying for an apprenticeship, but most aren’t aware of the variety on offer.

New industries opening their doors via apprenticeships but less than a third of young people realise they are available in the healthcare, insurance, and travel sectors. Hospitality and Leisure companies are among the best recruiters of apprentices, with nearly half (44 percent) planning to recruit this way in 2013, but 56 percent of young people don’t know about this route into the sector. A-Level results are out this week, yet according to research from Barclays, young people are not aware of the breadth of options open to them when they leave full-time education. Most sectors now offer apprenticeships as a route into careers, and this holds true for large as well as smaller employers. For example, recent research by Barclays’ corporate banking division1, has found that a large number of companies in sectors such hospitality and leisure (44 percent), transport and logistics (40 percent), law (31 percent) and healthcare (25 percent) are hiring apprentices this year.

Demand also remains high for apprenticeships among young people, with the latest Barclays LifeSkills Barometer2 showing that over half (55 percent) of young people aged between 14 and 25 would consider applying for one when they leave education. They are, however, struggling to keep up with the increasing variety of apprenticeships, as the majority were not aware of the range of industries currently recruiting young people in this way. Most knew of traditional recruiters of apprentices: 69 percent of young people knew apprenticeships can be found with manufacturing firms. But awareness was less wide-spread of newer qualifications in sectors such as healthcare (25 percent), insurance (24 percent), and travel (33 percent). Nearly half (44 percent) of those asked in the LifeSkills Youth Barometer knew apprenticeships offered a route into the retail sector, and only a quarter (24 percent) knew that placements are available in the insurance sector. Mike Thompson, Head of Employability Programmes at Barclays said: “It’s fantastic to see so many apprenticeships opening up across a variety of industries, all of which give young people more choices when they leave education. Our apprenticeship programme, for example, is offering roles in corporate and investment banking, technology and digital marketing for the first time this year.

“With A-level results out this week it is vital that these young people are aware of all the opportunities open to them. Businesses and educators need to work together to ensure that young people know what is on offer, and how to access it. Of course this ensures that businesses have an opportunity to bring in promising young talent, but just as importantly it ensures no young person feels they are left without options when they open their letter on Thursday.” Barclays started recruiting apprentices in April 2012 under a major programme which focuses on the quality of Apprenticeships, which: Aims to help people with no prior experience of qualifications into work; Provides full pay from day one of the Apprenticeship equivalent to a new joiner; Ensures dedicated training towards recognised qualifications and regular mentoring; Guarantees a permanent job for everyone who successfully completes the programme after twelve months.

The Barclays Apprenticeship programme has been highly successful in providing opportunities for young people who would otherwise struggle to find work. 86 per cent of apprentices were not in employment, education or training (NEET) before joining. Half (51 per cent) had been unemployed for more than six months and over a quarter (27 per cent) for more than a year. Over a third (38 per cent) had fewer than four GCSEs at grades A-C.

What Barclays apprentices say: “The benefits for me have been learning, gaining experience and gaining a qualification. Dealing with difficult customers has been challenging but meeting my colleagues has been a great highlight. I would like to become a Barclays manager one day.” Lucie Yemm (18)

“I’ve learnt life lessons for the future as well as people skills and communication skills. I’ve also, without a doubt, gained lots of confidence. I simply want to be the best person I can be and Barclays are helping me to do that.” Oyinlola Ekosanmi (23)

“The prospect of working for such a big and successful company was daunting at first. When I started though, I knew I needn’t have worried. My manager and colleagues are brilliant and have been helping me to learn everything I need to know. The days are already starting to fly by!” Rhiannon Eaton (19)

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