More tech apprenticeships could help generate £4.4bn for UK

More apprenticeships could benefit the UK economy to the tune of £4.4bn a year, according to analysis of different research by Barclays.

Barclays said the potential gain could be achieved if different industries, including technology, were to raise the proportion of apprentices in their workforce to 2.2 percent, the same proportion as currently found within the admin and support services sector.

Mapped against productivity estimates from The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), which found every apprentice completing their workplace learning course adds £214 a week to the economy, Barclays said such a step up in apprenticeship levels would deliver a £4.4bn productivity boost to the UK economy.

Combining data from The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the ONS (Office for National Statistics) shows that administration and support services leads the way on hiring apprentices, with that sector followed by water and waste management at 1.6 percent, energy supply at 1.2 percent, health and social work on 0.9 percent, and manufacturing and IT both on 0.8 percent.

For all industries to reach a 2.2 percent representation rate of apprentices, a total of 437,787 apprenticeships would need to be created, said Barclays. Health and social work would need to take on 38,000 more apprentices, education 13,500, and 20,000 positions would need to be made available in the professional, scientific and technical activities sectors, including legal practices and business consultancy.

Mike Thompson, head of employability programmes at Barclays retail and business banking, said, “Apprenticeships are growing in profile, but we know there is potential for some industries to take on more and deliver dramatic benefit to both our economy and young people.

"We can see the results in countries such as Germany where skills deficits have been addressed and productivity boosted. It’s time we do more to help businesses overcome the barriers they face to offering apprenticeships, while at the same time encouraging more to offer opportunities for young people to learn about work and the skills they need at a younger age."

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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