Apprenticeships Vital for Tackling Future Challenges in the Workplace

5th December 2018 By Clark Contracts Ltd

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Less than 2% of businesses are fully confident that their employees are well placed to take advantage of the rising use of new technology, says The 5% Club in a survey of its employer-members.


However, 78% of businesses surveyed strongly believe that earn and learn training opportunities, including apprenticeship schemes, can help address future changes in the workplace, and are critical for UK businesses if they are to successfully compete in a global market.


An ageing workforce, a continuing skills gap across sectors and the rising use of new technology such as Artificial Intelligence, are all challenges which businesses can positively tackle by providing employees with the right on-the-job training and relevant skills, according to The 5% Club.


The training and skills campaign group is an employer-member organisation which encourages employers to create as many earn and learn opportunities as possible, and has more than 340 members representing businesses across many sectors and sizes.


In the survey to mark The 5% Club’s 5th Birthday this month, employer-members were asked for their opinion on a number of important challenges facing their sector and the role of earn and learn training:


  • All businesses surveyed agreed that on-the-job training programmes can help companies prepare for the future by providing relevant skills, with 78% strongly agreeing;
  • 91% argue that earn and learn training can significantly help to address the continuing skills gap crisis;
  • 67% stated that earn and learn training, such as apprenticeships, is critical for upskilling an ageing workforce;
  • 54% believe that earn and learn training can help businesses embed and embrace digitalisation and new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence.


Lady Cobham CBE, Director General, The 5% Club explains: “Over the next few years, businesses will face unprecedented change. The increasing use of Artificial Intelligence, data insight and other technological advances will become the expected norm for businesses in order to thrive and as such, we need to prepare our workforces accordingly. At the same time, we will see a growing, ageing population, working for longer and requiring their skills to be updated more regularly, either in existing jobs or when developing their careers. Underpinning this, is the ongoing skills crisis across sectors.


“Work-based training opportunities can provide a significant part of the solution, offering employers the chance to drive new skills and training in line with how their business model and order pipeline will look in the next five to ten years. Of course, it isn’t just about employers. Further Education providers also need to play their part by providing courses which are in line with the skills of the future. Through work-based training, we are not only preparing our employees of all ages for the jobs of the future, but also driving economic growth by ensuring our businesses are ready, agile and equipped with the right skills to operate efficiently and productively for the coming years.”


Gordon Cunningham, Managing Director, Clark Contracts, said “We are confident that the investment we have made in our Academy over the years will help us bridge the skills gap. We are continuing to raise awareness of the vast amount of career opportunities that are available in the construction industry”.


Clark Contracts employs apprentices, trainees and work placements annually through its award winning academy to ensure new talent is brought into the company and the industry generally. It holds an annual careers evening to kick start the recruitment for its academy in Paisley and in Edinburgh.


Over 20% of Clark Contracts’ employees are studying towards formal qualifications at college or university. The company also offers staff the opportunity to study towards a bespoke Masters degree at the School of Engineering and the Built Environment at Glasgow Caledonian University.


The 5% Club is an employer-led organisation, which encourages employers to create as many earn and learn opportunities as possible. The 5% Club has more than 340 members representing businesses across many sectors and sizes. Earn and learn opportunities are structured training programmes which give people the chance to work towards a qualification whilst being paid, such as apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships. Members aspire to reach 5% of their workforce undertaking earn and learn training within five years of joining The 5% Club. 

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