CAREERS Wales is taking the opportunity during National Apprenticeship Week to emphasise that apprenticeships continue to be successful and positive routes into paid employment for many.
Whilst there are undoubtedly numbers of apprentices who have faced redundancy, or could be facing redundancy, as a result of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, statistics released by the Welsh Government show that the majority remain strong in their placements.
Information provided to the Welsh Government by apprenticeship providers, along with records from the Lifelong Learning Wales Record (LLWR), show that 0.5% of apprenticeships have been terminated due to redundancy during the pandemic.1
130 (less than 0.5%) of those who had been made redundant, have remained in learning whilst their provider looks to source alternative employment.2
The report states that although over 1,500 apprentices have been furloughed, this is only a fifth of what this figure was at its peak in 2020.3
Apprenticeships continue to provide a variety of beneficial and practical opportunities for young people and school leavers, adults who are currently unemployed, or even those looking to head in a different career direction.
17-year old Kieran Alexander from Clydach, is a prime example of this. Kieran was referred by his school into Cynnydd, a project part-funded by the European Social Fund that aims to support those aged between 11 and 24 years old who are at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training).
As part of the scheme Kieran was supported by a careers adviser from Careers Wales to find a work placement with the City & Country of Swansea Building Services Department, alongside school. After making an impression, Kieran went on to secure an apprenticeship which he started in September 2020 and is currently enjoying.
Kieran said: “[During the placement] I was given my own jobs to do, and I realised that I was able to do it. I felt myself learning more on-site than I ever did in class as it was more suited to me.
“I was so glad that I’d taken the opportunity to apply for the apprenticeship as soon as I found out about it.
“I’d got myself a job that would set me up for the next four years.
“And after the four years, I’ll either come out of this with a job, or as a qualified carpenter with a lot more options ahead of me.”
Taylor Hoskins, 22 years old from Skewen, always had a passion for STEM subjects, which led her to an engineering apprenticeship with Wales & West Utilities. Taylor is currently completing an Electrical and Instrumental Apprenticeship, involving a combination of studying at college and working on site.
“Whilst everyone else at school was applying for college places, I knew I wanted a hands-on job.
“I applied for an apprenticeship with Wales & West Utilities so that I could develop new skills whilst still earning.
“I’m proud that I followed my heart to have a career that I truly love – I wanted more than to settle for just any job.
“As an apprentice, no two days are the same and I’m working towards a qualification whilst being paid.”
Nikki Lawrence, Chief Executive of Careers Wales, said: “We understand that it is a difficult and uncertain time for people looking for work or thinking about future employment opportunities.
“Our advisers are here to help with these uncertainties, to provide advice and support and guide people through their next steps, whatever they might be.
“Apprenticeships continue to be a popular and successful career path for many, particularly due to the flexibility allowing a balance of paid-work and training, and it’s fantastic to see the positive outcomes evidenced for Kieran and Taylor.
“If you are interested in finding out more about apprenticeships as an option, but feel confused or overwhelmed, please do contact us and we will support you.”
For anyone finding themselves in a position of redundancy, facing redundancy or on furlough, Working Wales, the Welsh Government’s careers service for people aged 16 and over, delivered by Careers Wales, can offer support and guidance through their expert careers advisers.
To find out more about support our advisers from Careers Wales and Working Wales can provide, whether that might be to find an apprenticeship, for general careers guidance, or for redundancy support, contact us free on 0800 028 4844.
To look for apprenticeship opportunities, you can search and apply for these via our Apprenticeship Search facility.