Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Value of Apprenticeships; with More and More Businesses Beginning to Wise Up to the Benefits of Apprentices as a Means of Plugging the Skills Gaps in Their Workforce, a Senior Manager at Manufacturing and Engineering Training Provider SWDT Explains What He Believes Makes the Perfect Apprentice

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Value of Apprenticeships; with More and More Businesses Beginning to Wise Up to the Benefits of Apprentices as a Means of Plugging the Skills Gaps in Their Workforce, a Senior Manager at Manufacturing and Engineering Training Provider SWDT Explains What He Believes Makes the Perfect Apprentice

Article excerpt

PASS, merit or distinction - these are the three new grades that will be awarded to young people taking part in apprenticeship programmes.

But what do they really mean to employers? SW Durham Training (SWDT), based in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, delivers a range of apprenticeship schemes and training programmes, and is currently steering the educational path of scores of young people and adults from across the North East.

We've been flying the flag for manufacturing and engineering apprenticeships since 1967, supporting the region's business community with capable people who have the technical and life skills needed to succeed in the workplace.

We are starting to see the business community really come together and support young people by taking on apprentices, and as each company comes on board, more people will see the benefits that apprenticeships offer.

This is the true measure of success for apprenticeships. And for apprentices themselves, it is about more than just pass, merit or distinction, it is about learning their craft, gaining skills for life and making a genuine impact on the organisation in which they work, with fresh thinking and the broader understanding of business principals that really achieve results.

The power of word of mouth is the main factor that will see more businesses tap into apprenticeships as a means of meeting their recruitment needs.

Businesses, and particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), are cautious - and with good right. Investing in a new member of staff is a big step and one that business people need to be absolutely confident in taking. Therefore, the temptation is always to go for people with a proven track record.

The message we need to get out to employers is that the apprenticeship route is not a risky one, but one that will produce a highly capable member of staff, with exactly the right skills and experience for their business. …

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