Wed 3rd Jul 2013
NICC Responds to DEL Review of Policy on Apprentices and Youth Training
Commenting on the announcement from Dr Stephen Farry, Minister for Employment and Learning, regarding the Review of Policy on Apprentices and Youth Training, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce President Mark Nodder said:
“Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce welcomes the Minister’s review of apprenticeships and youth training.
The government must commit in 2013 to ensuring that every young person leaves formal education with the skills and behaviours required to successfully enter the world of work. The spectre of long-term youth unemployment faced today is a direct result of an education and training system that is not properly focused on delivering the workforce companies need. People are at the heart of every thriving company and businesses are in fact the single largest investor in training in the United Kingdom. Developing the capability of our workforce is crucial for individual companies as well as the region’s economic competitiveness.
The government must now continue to work to boost apprenticeships, and make them aspirational again for both employees and prospective employers. Businesses want to see excellent outcomes, not just a higher take up.
Smaller companies often shy away from taking on apprentices. They worry about the initial costs involved, the skill levels of candidates, and the potential risks to their business, particularly at a time when employing people is tough due to worries about the economy.
Small firms must be incentivised to take on apprentices, so government must now move to strip away some of the obstacles that have made it hard for smaller firms to get engaged. Health and safety constraints, inflexible teaching frameworks, and high upfront costs often deter companies from taking on apprentices. By reducing red tape, and incentivising businesses to take the plunge, the government is offering real help to firms and apprentices alike.
Today’s announcement is a positive step, and will be critical to making apprenticeships flexible and relevant to employers across the country.”