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Perceptions Of Apprenticeships - Creating A Skills Gap?

24 October 2018 | Updated 02 November 2018

According to the Department of Education, apprenticeship figures have decreased again in 2018 and perceptions of this career path continue to be debated and discussed.  

It is clear that a united effort is needed across the facilities management industry in order to ensure we continue to engage the next generation of talent, painting a true picture of what a career in the facilities management industry looks like. If we don’t act, then who knows? In 10 or 20 years there could be a serious shortage of well-trained and highly-skilled people in the UK ready to do the job. But there’s a solution and it lies in education. 


Don't know value of apprenticeships

Research by facilities management firm ABM UK reveals that parents aren’t fully clued up when it comes to the options available to their children after GCSEs and A Levels. More than a third (36%) of parents confessing they really know don’t know the value of an apprenticeship, which signals a wider awareness problem for youngsters when it comes to life after school.  

The research also found that a third of parents see apprenticeships as a last resort for young people who fail exams. If the most influential factor when it comes to career choices are parents, then this could be the key to why many youngsters opt for university over the many readily available apprenticeships in facilities management.


High demand

ABM UK Director Adam Baker told ThisWeekinFM: “In reality recruits in facilities management are in such high demand that graduate apprentices are earning between £26,000 and £30,000 just one year after qualifying – usually before they’re 20-years old – and they have no debt.”

ABM UK regional director, Nick Tanti added: “The perception of apprenticeships is really at odds with the reality. It’s fair to assume that the lack of knowledge of apprenticeships amongst parents is closely linked to children’s choices. Maybe this is reason students aren’t aware of apprenticeships as a career path as, perhaps, they should be? "


Following the route

Tanti continued: “I began my career as an apprentice because that was the route I felt suited me best. It was reasonably common at the time. I knew working in a hands-on environment would be where I could excel at a faster rate than going to university. By being in an industry and learning in a way that suited me, I have worked my way up the career ladder into a senior position that I love. 

“ABM UK’s apprenticeship scheme is an excellent alternative to university – it gives the opportunity to learn on the job while progressing through your studies. Each day on the job is varied, and many of our apprentices flourish in this environment. My advice to anyone thinking about their career and possible next steps is to explore this as a route as it could be the perfect fit for you.”


Apprentice of the Year

It seems making sure that young people are aware all of the options available to them is key to nurturing a pipeline of talent. A prime example is an ABM UK former apprentice and ‘Apprentice of the Year 2017’, Marissa Francis. After going to university to study electronics, Francis decided the course wasn’t for her. She wanted a more hands on approach to her learning. Francis’ said: "After leaving school I was unsure what I wanted to do – there just wasn't much, if any, careers guidance available. There was also a lot of pressure to go to university but I wanted to get hands-on experience. I wanted to learn essential skills in practice rather than in theory...and to start earning as soon as possible. I applied for and was eventually accepted on to ABM UK’s apprenticeship programme, which gave me the opportunity to earn while I was learning. For me, it was a perfect fit, and I wish I had known about this kind of opportunity much earlier, particularly when I was at school."  


Junior Engineering Engagement Programme

To address the potential future skills gap, an initiative was recently launched by ABM UK to encourage young talent into the Facilities Management industry. The company’s Junior Engineering Engagement Programme (J.E.E.P) enrolled three groups of year 7 students from the Borough of Ealing, taking them on a 10-module course exploring all areas of facilities management. 

The programme involved experiments testing electricity, heat and cooling systems underpinned by the theme of sustainability. The objective of this initiative is for the students to complete the course with a basic understanding into the facilities management industry, alongside a glimpse into what an apprenticeship can offer.

Picture: Parents don't know the value of apprenticeships - leading to a growing skills shortage.


Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 24 October 2018


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