With positive news expected from this month’s unemployment figures, there are industry calls for growth driven by vocational training.

Official figures out today are predicted to show a fall in unemployment. But as Britain’s economy looks for ways of creating marked growth, the Financial & Legal Skills Partnership (FLSP) is calling on companies to pay greater attention to the benefits that can be created by apprenticeships and paid internships.

Liz Field, CEO of Financial & Legal Skills Partnership, said, “The service sector is a key growth area for the UK economy and so there are some fantastic opportunities, particularly for SMEs, to invest in their future. If every company took just one apprentice or intern, it would instantly address the youth unemployment level, which is still unacceptably high. It would also help companies to adequately plan for growth in a recovering economy, buoyed by talented young people with sights set on success.

FLSP has consistently voiced its commitment to vocational training and development and has created tools to support companies that wish to enhance their skills. For those who have graduated but are still struggling to secure full time employment, FLSP has also developed the Graduate Foundation College (GFC). The GFC gives initial training to graduates before a three month internship at a financial advisory firm. FLSP has also developed an SME toolkit to support smaller companies to develop their own skills. Both are part of its Hidden Powerhouse project with part investment from the UKCES.

With recent City & Guilds research showing that more than half of the employers surveyed would like to be more involved in developing qualifications to build a stronger link between education and business needs, and almost 80 per cent of employers believing that work experience is essential to get young people ready for work, GetInGetOn, FLSP’s virtual work experience programme, is a project that employers can actively participate in by becoming e-career mentors. As an innovative industry led project that enables young people to find out more about the financial services industry, GetInGetOn enables young people to develop the skills and knowledge that employers want.

Lathe in Action by Andrew Magill from Boulder USA

Lathe in Action by Andrew Magill from Boulder USA

Liz concluded, “It is refreshing to see that firms are beginning to realise that taking on apprentices or paid interns isn’t a practice reserved for other sectors or companies of a particular size. The reality is that there are thousands of smaller firms in the industry, many of which could benefit from welcoming employees through vocational routes. We are working with employers within the finance and legal sectors to ensure that the right level of awareness of vocational training is present. We have a host of trained individuals who are eager to take up placements with large and small employers alike, so we implore organisations to contact us. The continued growth of the economy is based on the readiness of companies to recruit from the widest possible talent pool.

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