Oh how times have changed in my mechanical life time, an apprenticeship was a minimum five year course or even an indenture for 16 year olds as they left school. The list of apprentice trade courses were very limited. The apprenticeships were taken by employees children or a friend of a friend, so not even advertised. At 17 the opportunity of an apprenticeship had generally passed one by, the chance of getting a skilled trade very limited. Of course there were other options ie being very lucky or from joining HM Forces. There was a period in the early 1980s were apprenticeships waned due to the introduction of YTS.
Oh how different it is today, YTS has long gone and the Apprenticeship has been reborn. An apprenticeship is now a 3 year course to attain Level 3. There are so many publicised Courses and subjects to chose from, Level 1 can even be studied without full time employment. The age stigma has gone, any age or sex can be an apprentice. There is substantial national publicity to promote apprenticeships.
In a country soon to be outside of the European Union we must look to train our own skilled staff and provide the levels of skills and talents to make our businesses succeed in the world market. Unemployment in the 18 - 24 year age group is high. The simple solution is APPRENTICESHIPS.
Not every youngster wants to or is suited to the university route to a career. Apprentices get paid a wage, do not run up a debt from their training and do not have to move away from home, so theres not a financial burden to parents or a student loan to pay in the future. An apprenticeship begins in most cases with employment, earning a living from day one. The apprentice gains relevant skills in their work place, at college they learn the theory of their trade and gain the under pinning knowledge. This continues in a sandwich effect for three years until level 3 is attained, college and the work place training compliment each other to produce high quality employees.
BENEFITS TO THE BUSINESS
Producing skilled staff for the needs of the business
Trained staff who understand the business
Young staff who have not worked anywhere else
A chance to monitor future leaders for the business
Filling job positions in house
Training for the future
Saving money by not having to advertise for staff
A settled work force
A J REYNOLDS
I began my business in 1991 as a one man band and took on my first apprentice in 1992. My apprentice programme has ran for 25 years and hopefully will run for another 25, it has trained numerous skilled mechanics and now we are training our first Administration apprentice. I am so passionate about Apprentice training and the garage industry. The benefits to my own business, the individual and the garage industry are immeasurable. Yes it can be fustrating, especially when the apprentice is a slow learner or does not appreciate the time I put in to their developement, although generally this is rare. This also helps me to recognise what their position in the business will be a few years down the line ie. potential management or shop floor. I get so much job satisfaction from seeing the inexperienced, nervous 17 year old sat in front of me during initial interview to the confident, mature and fulfilled individual who has just been presented with their Level 3 certificate. Of course we have the added value of staff retention, although its unfair to think an apprentice is tied for life and can not leave. All the main players in my business have come through my apprenticeship scheme. I have added value to the garage industry as of the mechanics that have left; one is now a Service Manager at a main dealer; another runs his own garage.