“What we want is for people to invest in apprenticeships on a long term basis”

To mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week, Leo Quinn, CEO of one of The 5% Club founding members QinetiQ, joined Evan Davis and Simon Jack on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning.

As a new report released by the Department for Business revealed that 44% of employers in the UK plan to take on apprentices in the UK, Quinn praised National Apprenticeship Week and the work of The 5% Club, but called for more action to be taken in order to tackle the UK’s skills shortage.

“We look at apprenticeships as apprenticeships for life- what’s happening for the other 51 weeks (of the year). What we want is people to invest in apprenticeships on a long term basis.

“The 5% Club is designed for any corporation to make a public declaration that 5% of their employee base will be made up of apprentices or graduates on formal training schemes”.

Leo Quinn was joined by QinetiQ apprentice Robert, who spoke of the inspiration that led him to pursue an apprenticeship.

“When I was seventeen, my great-uncle left me his toolbox when he passed away, and in that toolbox was a picture along with a letter. The letter explained how he became an apprentice during the Second World War. After reading the letter, it really drove me to becoming an apprentice myself”

When asked why he pursued an apprenticeship over going to university, Robert explained:

“I went into an apprenticeship when youth unemployment was quite high. I decided to go for an apprenticeship because I’d have the hands on skills and ability afterwards to get a job. You need the skills alongside the knowledge”.

Pressed as to whether recruiting apprentices is worth its while for SME’s, Quinn spoke of the true economic value of such a programme:

“Apprentices rejuvenate the employment space. They’re creative, they’re energising, and they value they add far outweighs any cost that they incur”.

To follow the progress of The 5% Club, and the activities of our members during National Apprenticeship Week, follow @5percentclubuk and @LeoQuinn_UK.

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