I applaud the government’s position on apprentices. This is not a political statement. I’m not permitted to make them in my current role. Anything that gets more young people into employment is fine by me. Even better if they are in a technical arena.
The government stance is in providing skilled people for real jobs rather a range of highly skilled yet unemployable people. The use of the new apprentice levy is designed to promote this. Details of the levy have not been enormously quick in coming to light but I remain ever hopeful. Hope is a key virtue of mine.
There are two things that have emerged through recent missives though which may cause concern. Firstly, the government are saying that apprentices must only be taken on with a genuine job offer at the end of their time and secondly that their role must be defined within a job description. Both of these points are noble in their intention yet may turn out to be counterproductive.
I understand that we would not want to string young people long only to dash their hopes yet a year is a long time in business and so the intention to employ may not turn into full employment in the end. A genuine intent to employ may not lead to a job. This may have the counter effect of causing companies to stall in their apprentice programme as they are uncertain about the future. After all, who isn’t these days?
If a job description is too tight then we may end of training apprentices for positions that don’t actually exist. We need to create a skilled people for skilled jobs but we need to be training with eye on jobs that have not been created yet. The process must not stifle the vital skills of collaboration creativity and adaptability. These are things that are hard to put into a job description yet will turn out to be the most important thing you can encourage in an apprentice.
I welcome the direction but we need to remain true to the principles.