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Surge in apprenticeships but more companies must offer young people a chance
APPRENTICESHIP vacancies have soared in Oxfordshire in the last year but demand for places is still outstripping supply.
Latest online figures from the National Apprenticeship Service show there were 1,204 positions made available in the year to August, a rise of 42 per cent on the previous year’s figure of 850.
But for every vacancy there are more than three applicants and while this is lower than the national average of 11 applicants per position, bosses are being urged to do more to consider taking on apprentices.
Steve Nicolson, National Apprenticeships Service account manager for Oxfordshire, said: “We have been running “myth-busting” events for employers around the county along with apprentice “shops” to attract applicants.
“Oxfordshire County Council is also working with schools in south Oxfordshire where businesses come in to work with young people and end up with apprentices.
And as the economy improves, more employers are coming on board. “People are now getting the message that apprenticeships are a choice for all types of people, whether they are coming out of school or university.”
Mr Nicolson added that benefits for employers taking on apprentices included the ability to train someone specifically for the type of job they will be doing. But he warned that apprenticeships should not be viewed as a source of cheap labour for bosses, despite the minimum apprentice wage being set at £2.65 an hour.
He said: “Businesses struggling to recruit are very often offering salaries that are too low.
“We encourage employers to offer applicants reasonable pay.”
Nationally, online apprenticeship applications have increased by 32 per cent year on year, with more than 1.4 million applications made in the past 12 months.
Skills minister Matthew Hancock said: “To match the growing popularity of apprenticeships, I would urge more employers to consider how hiring an apprentice could benefit their business.”