Encouraging growth in apprentices starts

jtlJTL, training provider in support of apprenticeships in building services engineering, recently reported an encouraging 11.2% growth in recruitment of apprentices in the building services engineering sector – predominantly would be electricians and heating and plumbing installers – in the 12 months to the end of July 2014.

The increase has been across the country with some of the strongest results in the north west, London and the east of England. This is the second consecutive year of 11% growth from JTL, driven by a combination of economic improvement, as well as improved communication of the offering by the company to electrical, plumbing and heating engineering employers. Some 80% of all this new apprenticeship employment has been in small and medium sized businesses.

In the heating and ventilating and plumbing areas, JTL saw exciting results when it came to completions too. Completions in Level 3 Plumbing courses across the UK saw JTL deliver 126% of its regional business plan, while it managed a 164% delivery at Level 2 in Heating and ventilating and hit its target for Level 3 of 100%.

Caroline Turner, operations director, said: “We have worked hard at getting across the message that the services provided by JTL in the administrative management of the current scheme as well as the mentoring and coaching advice by our training officers is provided without cost to the employer. There are significant advantages in partnering with a charitable company such as JTL, as opposed to alternative options.”

The last two months has also seen further encouraging signs for the company with recruitment numbers running ahead of expectations at this time of the year. One reason this is thought to be the case, is the attempt by many employers to confirm their arrangements for the year ahead of an imminent government announcement that could change the present funding formula and potentially place a larger administrative burden on employers for the length of the apprenticeship.

Of key concern to JTL is getting the message across to young people aged 16-19 that starting an apprenticeship is at least as valuable a future career route as staying at school or college to complete A levels, or possibly go to university. With a significant proportion of those currently working in the wider construction sector due for retirement over the next three years, the opportunities for young people entering one of the trades now are seen as being particularly good. This in part has been caused by the significant downturn in apprenticeship recruitment in the period 2009-2012 which has left skill gaps.

Caroline said: “We want to reach the best people to fill the available vacancies, so we are investing time and effort to reach young people considering their future, as well as their prime sources of influence such as careers advisers and parents.”