I'm joined by Simon Waugh who chairs the National Apprenticeship Service for a breakfast session aimed at getting more employers to take on apprentices. The City Council is already leading by example with 550 apprentices since signing the Skills pledge, but of 17,360 businesses in the city, only 867 employ apprentices.
We want to increase that to 3422 ( 20% ) by 2012/13 with one in four 16 to 18 year olds participating in apprenticeships by 2020. We have two excellent case studies, one by Phil Probst from BT Openworld, the other by Julia Yates from Bank of New York Mellon, which set out clearly the benefits of apprenticeships to employers and employees alike. For employers, the costs of apprentices are recovered very quickly, staff who have been through an apprenticeship tend to be far more productive and profitable and are far more likely to stay with the company. For the employee, if they've been through an apprenticeship, their lifetime earnings are on average significantly higher than those who haven't. The National Apprenticeship Service makes it relatively easy for companies to employ apprentices but we also need more promotion of apprenticeships as a first choice route into employment, training and career progression. Also worth noting that anybody in employment who hasn't got a degree can be an apprentice whatever their age.