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Comms-care continues to back apprenticeships

IT support specialist is kicking off its fifth year of apprenticeships with a new batch of recruits

The channel has been a consistent advocate of apprenticeships as resellers and distributors try to be proactive about tackling the skills gap.

The support from politicians might have widened the interest in bringing the next generation through into the workplace but for many resellers it was something they were already trying to do.

One suppporter in the channel of apprenticeships is channel support specialist Comms-care, which is looking to bring on board six apprentices this year.

The firm has recruited engineering apprentices for the past four years and has devised a programme that involves shadowing staff to gain the skills that they would need to be able to handle common IT engineering tasks.

There is also a focus on developing an understanding of back office skills and help with getting to grips with being part of a working environment.

The plan is to prepare the apprentices for work within two years after they have gone through all the training that Comms-care and some vendors can provide them with, to make sure they can qualify for certifications that they could carry with them through their careers in the industry.

“The issue of skills shortages in the technical and engineering sectors is well-understood and as a leading employer in the IT industry we want to help address it. By providing apprentices with the skills, experience and certifications they need to contribute to the future of the industry, our apprenticeships offer the opportunity to feed new talent into the IT engineering pool," said Darren Briscoe, technical director at Comms-care.

The Comms-care announcement comes just a few days before National Apprenticeship Week kicks off to highlight the benefits of this approach to training.

According to the Skills Funding Agency, just shy of 90% of those firms that offer apprenticeships have reported that having the young people involved helps deliver business benefits and many have seen improvements to the quality of their products and services.

Government figures showed that there were 871,800 funded apprentices that participated on an apprenticeship in the 2014 to 2015 academic year.

There is also evidence, which should be appealing to those channel firms looking to develop long term talent, that After finishing, the majority of apprentices (90%) stayed in employment, with seven in ten (71%) staying with the same employer.

The pressure to find qualified staff is not going away and the latest insight into the jobs market for last month from the Recruitment & Employment found that permanent staff placements were at a three month high. The demand for temporary jobs also continued to maintain a brisk pace.

There were more job vacancies in February than there had been for six months but the availability of staff to fill those positions continued to be a problem.

REC chief executive Kevin Green said that although there were signs that things were improving there were shadows hanging over the economy in the form of the EU referendum, a global slowdown and the risk that in next week's Budget there could be measures that undermine the business recovery.

"The UK labour market is at a critical juncture. Permanent hiring improved last month, demand for staff remains strong, and pay is going in the right direction – but serious threats are looming just around the corner," he said.

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