Comment: Why I think apprenticeships can help boost Harborough’s economy

Viewpoint by the CEO of a Harborough business that specialises in helping businesses take on and manage apprentices

Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 3:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 3:43 pm
Kerry Linley is the chief executive of Harborough based company Rubitek, which specialises in helping businesses take on and manage apprentices.

Kerry Linley is the chief executive of Harborough based company Rubitek, which specialises in helping businesses take on and manage apprentices. Here, she put her case forward for why apprenticeships can help boost Harborough’s economy.

Apprenticeships can be an effective route to employment for the individual and a sound investment for the employer, but recently these opportunities have been harder to come by in Harborough.

Our district reflects the national picture of decline with apprenticeship starts falling from 730 in 2018/19 to 560 in 2019/20.

Early statistics for our area for this year suggest a slight recovery but we are still some way short of an annual peak of just under 1,000 apprenticeship starts in Harborough nearly a decade ago.

Of course, reports have pointed to Covid-19 and its massive impact on the number of further education opportunities open to learners. Uncertainty for employers, an economic downturn and lockdown measures have played havoc with apprenticeships since early 2020. There is, however, new hope in the form of more Government help now available to employers.

From January 11, 2022, employers can apply for a payment of £3,000 for new apprentices with a start date from October 1, 2021 to January 31, 2022. To make an application, you just need to set up an apprenticeship service account on the Government website.

Is this worth consideration? Yes, definitely, in my view.

I’m CEO of a tech firm in Market Harborough that specialises in helping businesses take on and manage apprentices, and I employ an apprentice too. I see it from both sides, and I speak to many employers who have taken on apprentices.

These are just three of the reasons that crop up in conversation with employers, and why I think you should consider recruiting an apprentice too:

1 Fresh ideas – the world of work is changing so we need an influx of fresh talent and new ideas in the workplace. Frankly we need a youthful approach to keep up, and apprenticeships provide a tried and tested pipeline.

2 Filling skills gaps – apprenticeships are a cost effective way of filling skill gaps in your business, which is why they should be central to the government’s employment strategy, in my opinion.

3 The bottom line – according to one survey, 86% of employers said apprenticeships helped them to develop skills relevant to their organisation, 78% or employers said they helped improve productivity and 74% said apprenticeships helped to improve the quality of the product.

Apprenticeships can play such an important role in Harborough’s economic recovery in 2022. I hope local employers consider them and take advantage of the Government funding now available.