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Trade apprenticeships are the future, says City & Guilds CEO

The positive benefits of apprenticeships across the trade sector have been highlighted by the CEO of vocational education and training body, City & Guilds.

Chris Jones, CEO and director general of City & Guilds, told the Mirror newspaper that eager, hard-working young staff were desperately needed across all industries to boost the future of the UK.

“Businesses of all types and across all industries need qualified, well-trained staff to boost productivity and future growth,” he said.

“That’s why vocational, work-based training is core to developing tomorrow’s workforce. But it’s not just businesses that can benefit from work-based learning. Apprenticeships enable you to earn as you learn and develop skills for a successful career,” added Mr Jones.

Young people who enjoy working with their hands and doing practical tasks are the ideal apprentices of the future. An apprenticeship allows people to pick up a skill that can be used in numerous different ways, and they also allow young people to 'earn and learn' at the same time as gaining a life-long trade.

“In fact, our research shows that over half of employers who already recruit apprentices believe they offer greater value than hiring graduates. No matter what age you are, or what stage you’re at in your career, apprenticeships can help you to follow your passion,” added Mr Jones.

Apprentices that go on to qualify in their chosen trade will enjoy earnings of up to twice the minimum wage or will have the option to become self-employed, allowing for greater flexibility and work-life balance.

Young apprentice Matthew Cuckson told the newspaper that he wanted “nothing more than to start work”, so left his sixth-form schooling to pursue other opportunities. He had already helped his bricklayer father out during the holidays as a labourer, so “could see it made sense to learn good solid skills”.

Lincoln-based Matthew took on a decorator’s apprenticeship at construction firm Gelder Group, which had won a City & Guilds award for its training. Matthew began a painting and decorating apprenticeship 18 months ago, and attends college twice a week to college.

“The rest of my time is at work, doing everything from maintenance to insurance work such as decorating homes after flood damage,” he told the newspaper.

The Gelder Group is planning to take on more young apprentices in the future.