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Apprenticeships Could Add £4.4bn to UK Economy Every Year

Zoe 27 November 2013

The UK economy could be sitting on a potential £4.4bn boost if industries were to take on more apprentices and increase the proportion in their workforce to 2.2%.

The new research from Barclays found that this could mean every apprentice who completes their learning course would add £214 a week to the UK economy, totalling a £4.4bn injection each year.

The results were mapped against productivity estimates from The Centre of Economics and Business Research and found admin and support services had the biggest representation of apprentices in their workforce at 2.2%. The conclusion was that this figure needs to be mirrored across other industries in order to gain the most from apprenticeship schemes.

For all other industries to reach this figure, a total of 437,787 apprenticeships would need to be created. Health and social work would need to take on 38,000 more apprentices, education 13,500, and 20,000 positions would need to be made available in the professional, scientific and technical activities sectors including legal practices and business consultancy.

Even industries known for offering apprenticeships such as engineering and manufacturing, which have well established pathways for developing talent, would need to add 20,000 to reach this 2.2% figure. However, if achieved this industry alone achieved this, the economy could see a £377m benefit each year.

Mike Thompson, head of employability programmes at Barclays Retail and Business Banking said: “Apprenticeships are growing in profile, but we know there is potential for some industries to take on more and deliver dramatic benefit to both our economy and young people. We can see the results in countries such as Germany where skills deficits have been addressed and productivity boosted. It’s time we do more to help businesses overcome the barriers they face to offering apprenticeships, while at the same time encouraging more to offer opportunities for young people to learn about work, and the skills they need, at a younger age.”

Skills and Enterprise Minister, Matthew Hancock said: “I want going to university or choosing an apprenticeship to become the new norm for young people. To make this a reality apprenticeship reforms, such as the Trailblazers project, will make the system work better for businesses and learners. Businesses will work together to design apprenticeship programmes that meet their needs, meaning young people will be given the skills and experience required for them to succeed.”