Value of short-term apprentice schemes questioned

Centrex Services has questioned the value of six month apprenticeship schemes raising doubts that they are anything other than a way of exploiting cheap labour

Centrex Services has blown the whistle on the growing trend for apprenticeship schemes to be short-term schemes that take advantage of cheap labour rather than arming the next generation with the skills to get jobs.

In the downturn it has become a popular option to overcome the lack of genuine jobs with apprenticeship schemes, which are designed to tackle the long-term unemployed and the growing numbers of young people who cannot find work.

But according to Mark Heslop, who owns supply chain maintenance firm Centrex Services some of these schemes are just running for six months and don't come with any guarantee of full-time employment at the end of that period.

Heslop said he discovered the problems with some of the apprenticeships being offered when he compared notes with the young people on the firm's own scheme.

"After speaking to candidates on Centrex's training programme, I firmly believe some companies are using these six month schemes to take advantage of the 2.5m unemployed young people in the UK. I worry that they are recruiting young people as cheap labour to plug skills gaps, with no intention to develop their skills, or offer full-time employment," he said.

'Short-term apprenticeships just cannot offer enough on the job experience to provide any real benefits to the individuals who take part, and I also have real question marks over the quality of training these apprentices receive," he added.

The channel has been a positive embracer of apprenticeships with resellers as well as distributors opening their doors to help find the next generation some employment and skills. Microsoft has also been a strong supporter of government attempts to get more people back into work.

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