Apprentices: You’re hired!

sugar.jpgIt's Apprenticeship Week, and no, we're not talking Sir Alan, Tim Campbell or that funny badger woman.Back in the day before business met reality TV, apprenticeships were the bedrock of trade skills and the preferred method of vocational training.Somehow we moved away from that and ended up with skills shortages, overpopulated universities offering BAs in Diddlysquat and a disenfranchised youth on benefits for life.Onto the good news. Not all businesses abandoned apprenticeships and the 130,000 that didn't have reaped the rewards, according to a report by the Learning and Skills Council.Four out of five SMEs running apprenticeships claimed they're more competitive as a result; 70% had higher productivity; 80% experienced reduced staff turnover.Two thirds said running apprenticeships were more cost effective than hiring staff and 87% claimed they led to a better-motivated workforce.Based on this, apprenticeships are what they'd call on The Apprentice while screaming into a mobile, 'a no brainer'.To mark the launch of Apprentice Week, the government's pledged a £1billion to increase numbers by 2010/11. Find out more at

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