Apprenticeship Programmes Give Hope for Britain’s ‘lost generation’

According to yesterday’s ONS figures released, UK unemployment fell by 26,000 in the three months to May to 2.45 million. The unemployment rate was 7.7%, down from 7.8% in the previous quarter. However, the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in June rose by 24,500 to 1.52 million – the biggest such increase in two years.

Recent government statistics have also revealed that the number of job seekers in Britain who have been out of work for over a year had reached a fourteen year high with students being a particular group causing concern. Termed ‘the lost generation’, British students can no longer take a university degree as a guarantee of landing jobs, as 20% of last year’s graduates still remain unemployed. With university places at a premium, and with over 200,000 potential students failing to secure a university place, apprenticeships are proving a sound alternative route to employment.

Liz Field, CEO of the Financial Skills Partnership said,

“An increasing number of people are looking to alternative means into employment and training. Businesses in the financial services industry are constantly on the lookout for new talent and they are turning to alternative entry routes as a means of accessing wider talent pools – through apprenticeships and school leaver programmes.”

FSP has been holding discussions with the government to tackle the problem of unemployment and is collaborating with employers to develop frameworks to ensure that unemployed people from a diverse range of ages and backgrounds meet the needs of companies. FSP is committed to creating sustainable employment by helping to make the professions more accessible and by encouraging businesses to build career paths for staff development and growth.

Identifying one of the key underlying issues in unemployment, Liz Field said,

“There is a need for young people to get early exposure to the world of work, through quality work experience placements and business education in schools so that their career prospects and aspirations are significantly raised from an early age and they are better prepared for the world of work.”

According to the National Employer Skills Survey, 19% of all reported job applicants in the financial services industry lacked the general and business-specific skills needed to start work – a crucial problem now being addressed by the FSP’s Apprenticeship programme. Recently, FSP have launched the Level 4 High Apprenticeship in providing Financial Advice (HAFA) – designed to offer a practical training structure for new retail investment advisers. It incorporates the appropriate qualifications recognised by the Financial Services Authority as part of the professionalism strand of the Retail Distribution Review (RDR). It provides an entry route into a sector which is facing a significant challenge as it is expected that some advisers will leave the industry as a result of RDR requirements. As such it offers a great route into an existing profession.

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