Apprentices could boost UK economy £4.4 billion

Industries need to raise proportion of apprentices to 2.2% to achieve £4.4 billion economic boost.

Apprentices have the potential to boost the UK economy by £4.4 billion, if industries were to raise their apprentice proportions to 2.2%, research from Barclays has revealed.

Combined data from The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the ONS shows this proportion currently stands at only 0.8% in the IT sector.

The research was mapped against productivity estimates from The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), which found that for every apprentice finishing a workplace learning course, £214 a week is generate for the economy.

Administration and support services have the highest representation of apprentices in its workforce at 2.2%.

For all industries to reach the 2.2% representation of apprentices a total of 437,787 would need to be created, the research found. Of these, 20,000 positions would need to be created in the IT sector.

The healthcare sector would need to create the most positions at 38,000, followed by IT, professional and scientific at 20,000 each.

 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.”

Research from Barclay’s in the past has shown businesses are keen to take on more apprentices. According to its research 76% of SMEs revealed they want to be part of a scheme that helps set up apprenticeships for young people. The same study found that young people are considering an apprenticeship more this year with 44.6% considering it as an option.

Skills and enterprise minister, Matthew Hancock said: "I want going to university or choosing an apprenticeship to become the new norm for young people. To make this a reality apprenticeship reforms, such as the Trailblazers project, will make the system work better for businesses and learners.

“Businesses will work together to design apprenticeship programmes that meet their needs, meaning young people will be given the skills and experience required for them to succeed."

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