Apprenticeships, a hotly debated issue in the fashion industry and a topic regularly covered by The Industry, have been outlined as the UK’s next emerging growth model in a new tendentious report written by think tank, Demos. According to them, apprenticeship schemes could be the missing link in the British supply chain.
Released ahead of National Apprenticeship Week, the report analyses the relationship between apprenticeship schemes and economic growth. They propose that if employers were to hire an additional 300,000 apprentices, Britain’s gross domestic profit would go up by £4 billion, while simultaneously cutting down the youth unemployment rate as a direct result.
While it might seem like loads of companies have been jumping on the apprenticeship bandwagon, the UK is actually falling short against its European counterparts. For every 1,000 employees in England, only 11 are apprentices, compared with 39 in Austria, 40 in Germany and 43 in Switzerland. Fewer than 10% of firms in England offer apprenticeships, compared to at least a quarter of employers in other countries.
“The UK economy is currently facing a twin crisis of severe youth unemployment and a shocking productivity gap. Both could be solved in one fell swoop by boosting apprenticeships,” explained Demos’s chief economist, Jonathan Todd. “Employers are the missing piece of this puzzle – the government needs to make it as easy as possible for them to take a chance on an apprentice.”
Want to know more about how to implement an apprenticeship scheme into your business model, especially in the context of the fashion business? Read The Industry’s exclusive interview with the CEO of John Smedley, Ian Maclean. Along with Mulberry, John Smedley was one of the first fashion companies in the UK to make the transition.