Apprenticeships will play an increasing role in an integrated solution for solving the shrinking labour pool impacting employers across the UK, predicts the boss of a leading West Midlands training provider.
In-Comm Training, which operates three technical academies in Aldridge, Telford and Shrewsbury, has seen a massive surge in the number of companies investing in vocational learning and currently has 201 vacancies available – the most at any time in its 40-year history.
This means there are lots of ready-made career opportunities for students receiving their A-level and GCSE grades, but unfortunately the news is getting lost or a lack of informed career advice is resulting in young people taking the ‘perceived easier option’ and opting for a course that later blocks them from obtaining their desired apprenticeship.
In order to help reverse this trend, the company has launched a dedicated hotline (01922 457686, option 3) to guide young pupils/students and their families through the different choices and how vocational learning can now lead all the way to a degree without the £100,000 debt associated with going to university.
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen such an appetite to invest in apprenticeships in the West Midlands, with nearly 80 different companies, across 20 sectors, currently working with us to find their workforce of the future,” explained Gareth Jones, managing director of In-Comm Training. “This is great news on one hand, as it means we have over 200 immediate vacancies across 20 different apprentice pathways, including in Product Design, Mechatronics, Electrotechnical, Toolmaking, Machining, Quality, Production, Engineering Technician, Health, Safety & Environmental, Business Admin and Logistics.
“Thanks to our unrivalled employer-led network, we have already filled 300+ positions, yet industry is desperate for more talent in order to grow sustainably.”
He continued: “Worryingly, we have started to see the pipeline of candidates dry up and we’re putting this down to young people looking to take the simple route after Covid-19 and a lack of informed career advice on the different options out there.
“What this means is that students are choosing to take up full-time classroom-based technical qualifications that can later block them from obtaining their desired apprenticeship due to complex funding rules, leaving them with some knowledge but no real experience or competency.
“In reality, hundreds of pupils/students are missing out on the chance to get world class technical training and hands-on work experience that guarantees jobs and rewarding careers. Our helpline will hopefully help give people the complete picture.”
Established in 1982, In-Comm Training is one of the UK’s leading training providers, supporting more than 250 companies and training thousands of individuals every year.
The business will staff its dedicated helpline with four experts during working hours, with enquiries out of this time being responded to via email or social media.
It is also continuing to build links on the ground with primary/secondary schools and agencies, organising STEM days and holding special Open Days at its Technical Academies.
There will be a big end to the year for the family-run firm, with its eleventh annual awards taking place in September, the official launch of Telford Technical Academy pending and the big unveil on a unique industry collaboration.
Mr Jones concluded: “Getting your results is a very exciting, but also a nervous time for young people and families.
“We want to try to take away some of their concerns and the confusion that exists around different career paths, providing unbiased advice and providing exposure to the opportunities available within engineering and manufacturing. This will help people make educated career choices.
“Gaining your A-levels is a great starting position for starting a higher-level apprenticeship and, with 201 places currently available, there’s no better time to consider vocational learning.”