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Most employers of apprentices plan to maintain or increase the number they employ this year

A revealing survey conducted by The Open University and in partnership with The 5% Club* shows that most employers, almost 9 in 10, who have employed apprentices plan to maintain or increase the number they take on in the next 12 months.

The figures are a result of a new survey, carried out by YouGov of 603 employers in England, that also shows how apprenticeships can boost diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

The report highlights that employers recognise the value apprenticeships bring in terms of diversity and shows that:

  • Sixty-eight percent of organisations that employed apprentices felt that they make a big difference in supporting people from lower socio-economic groups in the workplace.
  • Seventy-five per cent of those surveyed reported that apprenticeships are important to help people without degrees or with low prior attainment.
  • Almost half (46%) said that apprenticeships are important to support more people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds into the workforce or to progress their careers.

Our survey shows that employers are hugely positive about the diversity and inclusion benefits that apprenticeships bring to organisations. However, the survey also shines the light on the fact that not all employers have active plans to recruit from underrepresented groups in the workforce in the next year.

Apprenticeships present a real opportunity for employers to look for hidden talent both inside and outside their organisation and provide the flexibility to unlock future talent.

Viren Patel
Director of the Business Development Unit, The Open University

The 5% Club exists to promote positive employer action for increased, inclusive and accessible workplace learning for all, and we are delighted to partner up with The Open University to explore the insights and proposed employers’ next steps arising from this survey.

The upcoming roundtable will bring to life action planning for success with a particular focus on genuine inclusion in recruiting practice. Improving access to training and employment opportunities for underrepresented groups is fundamental to addressing our national skills shortfalls, as well as reducing the high-levels of inequality in our society.

Mark Cameron
CEO, The 5% Club

During National Apprenticeship Week, The Open University is highlighting the stories of two apprentices. Martyn Carroll, who has dyslexia, and is now working for South Western Railway whilst studying for a degree apprenticeship with The Open University to progress his career after leaving the Army.

The second is Folashade Yusuf-Adewuyi, a mother of three who is now one the first Nursing Associates at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust to qualify through an OU higher apprenticeship.

Almost 7 in 10 (69%) of employers are seeing the transformative impact taking an apprenticeship can have on the learner.

However, according to the polling, only a third (31%) of employers were planning on recruiting apprentices from lower socio-economic groups, 34% plan to hire people without degrees or with lower qualifications while only 30% plan to recruit more apprentices from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. A similar pattern was found in the survey around plans to recruit apprentices with disabilities, from care backgrounds and ex-offenders.

Discussing the report further, The Open University is hosting an expert webinar panel with The 5% Club and Amazing Apprenticeships on 9th February 2022.

*The 5% Club is a dynamic movement of employers committed to earn and learn as part of building and developing the workforce they need as part of a socially mobile, prosperous and cohesive nation. The Club exists to help its members and all employers increase further the number, quality and range of earn and learn opportunities across the UK. By joining The 5% Club, members aspire to achieve 5% of their workforce in earn and learn positions (including apprentices, sponsored students and graduates on formalised training schemes) within five years of joining.

This article was originally published on The OU news website; click to read the original article.

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