The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) says that not enough employers understand the financial benefits of apprenticeships.
The body wants the government’s National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) to create a new marketing campaign that emphasises why businesses cannot afford to not invest in apprenticeships.
Paul Warner, AELP’s director of employment and skills, said: “To help meet demand from young people, we want to see a renewed marketing push by the government’s National Apprenticeship Service to target the thousands of employers who have never employed an apprentice and explain why it makes sound business sense for them to do so.”
The association, which represents the training organisations that produce 75% of apprentices in England, is urging NAS to work with providers and persuade more businesses that apprenticeships are an important investment for the future.
AELP says that with one in five young people unable to find work at the moment, the current situation is limiting the number of students that are being offered places once they leave school.
Paul Warner added: “2011 has undoubtedly been a challenging year for training providers in trying to encourage employers to take on more young people as apprentices.
“Therefore we have to be careful not to raise unrealistic expectations among young people who are receiving their GCSE results this week that an apprenticeship place is automatically there for them if they want it.”
AELP has welcomed the government’s investment in apprenticeships, but is concerned with the latest figures that show starts for people over 25 (121,000 in the first 9 months of 2010/2011) outstripping those between 16-18 (102,900) and 19-24 (102,800).
The association added that the Work Programme’s chances of success, which were criticised earlier this week by the Social Market Foundation, would be boosted if the currently separate welfare-to-work agenda and the apprenticeship-focused skills agenda were merged into a single system of provision.
They concluded that sustainable employment in Britain could only be achieved by producing joined-up policy similar to those being rolled out by AELP members.