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The growing popularity of apprenticeships

4th April 2018

Every year, the beginning of March is marked by National Apprenticeship Week. An alternative path into the working world, apprenticeships provide opportunities for those who choose not to go to university. Not only is this becoming a popular choice for many young people, particularly following increases in tuition fees, but employers are embracing apprenticeships too. A recent survey from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) found that more than half of employers prefer to recruit apprentices over graduates.

So, what are the advantages for businesses? The AAT study suggests that there are long-term benefits to taking on an apprentice. For one thing, 83% of small businesses surveyed stated that apprentices brought added value after just six months. What’s more, 63% of these businesses suggested that hiring apprentices is a good way to ensure new recruits are suited to the business and its needs. This often leads to long-term retention of skilled candidates who know the organisation inside out.

With applications for such opportunities having grown significantly during 2017, it’s clear that there are a number of plus points for apprentices too. A big draw for many is the lack of student loans and long-term debt. Instead, apprenticeships offer the chance to earn money whilst also learning work-specific skills that will be vital in the chosen career.

However, apprenticeships aren’t just for new entrants to a profession. A growing number of firms are offering higher-level apprenticeships for management positions, and they can also be a valuable opportunity for a skilled worker to transition to a new type of role.

Whilst some businesses may have concerns over the resources required to set up and manage an apprenticeship, there are significant returns to make the investment worthwhile:

  • In the 2016-2017 academic year, there were a record 491,300 apprenticeship starts
  • Over 90% of apprentices continue to into full time employment or further training
  • On average, a level 3 apprenticeship boosts earnings by 16%
  • 76% of businesses report a boost in productivity due to hiring apprentices


As specialists in financial recruitment and career development, we are happy to discuss with you the opportunities that an apprenticeship scheme can bring to your business. If you'd like to find out more about how we can help you, please contact Nigel Jeyes on 01273 229499 or email for an in-depth, confidential consultation.

Should you wish to contact us out of hours, please call 07714 765482.

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