East of England: City & Guilds survey highlights value to apprenticeships

Guest speaker Yvonne Carter of FCO Services, centre, presents the Central Eastern Macro Employer of

Guest speaker Yvonne Carter of FCO Services, centre, presents the Central Eastern Macro Employer of the Year award to Jerry Robinson and Kirsten Price of Greene King at the 2013 National Apprenticeship Awards. - Credit: Archant

One out of every eight employers in the East of England have at least one former apprentice now working at senior management level, according to a new study.

The findings were released today to promote the third annual City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers listing, which highlights the commitment of employers to promoting former apprentices through the ranks.

Within the East of England, 13% of employers currently have board-level managers who started out as apprentices, while nearly one-third (31%) report that apprentices go on to take some level of management responsibility within their company.

And four out of five employers in the region (80%), agree that apprenticeships allow businesses to grow their own talent, with a similar propotion (78%) agreeing that apprenticeships lead to good careers with real progression.

The study was complemented by research among some of the companies featured in this year’s City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list.

Among the companies on the list is Bury St Edmunds-based pubs and brewing group Greene King which also won the regional Macro Employer of the Year title at the 2013 National Apprenticeship Awards.

Key findings from the bosses surveyed included:

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n Nine out of 10 (89%) said that if they were starting out in their career now they would opt to do an apprenticeship;

n On average, nearly one-third (30%) of their company’s senior management positions are filled by former apprentices; and

n More than (51%) said the average time for an apprentice to reach a management position in their firm was five years or less, compared with 33% saying the same for non-apprentices.

Chris Jones, chief executive and director general of City and Guilds, said: “Apprenticeships provide employers with the workforce of the future. Through apprenticeships, employers gain the talented, skilled individuals they need boost productivity and growth.

“We partner with employers of varying sizes and industries on their apprenticeship programmes. All of them have seen the benefits apprenticeships can offer. Apprentices add value from day one not just through their skills, but through their enthusiasm and drive.”

Matthew Hancock, Skills and Enterprise Minister and MP for West Suffolk, said: “As we can see from this research, today’s apprentice could be tomorrow’s board director.

“Nearly every employer that takes on an apprentice (96%) reports benefits to their business and the calibre of the companies included in this year’s Top 100 list just goes to show the breadth of employers who are now embracing apprenticeships.

“Either going to university or choosing an apprenticeship needs to become the new norm for school and college leavers. These figures support this aim and show that apprentices are able to succeed in some of the biggest businesses in the UK.”

Damian Brown of BT, also among the companies on the City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list, added: “Through learning on the job, apprentices develop skills which are directly relevant to how our business works. They know the organisation inside out, which brings huge benefits when making business decisions and managing people. This is why so many employers, including BT have entrusted senior management positions to former apprentices.”

The research has revealed that an apprentice’s chance of becoming a director is greatest in the construction industry, with 47% of businesses in this sector employing former apprentices in Board level positions. This is followed by manufacturing & engineering (43%), agriculture (33%) and energy and power (33%).

Apprenticeships are available at Intermediate, Advanced and Higher (degree) level, covering more than 170 industries and 1500 job roles, from advertising to youth work via environmental engineering and nuclear decommissioning.