Lisa Winnard, of The Financial Adviser School, argues apprenticeship schemes could not only help the UK climb out of recession, but also help some advisory businesses cope with any fall-out from the Retail Distribution Review (RDR).
Apprenticeship schemes embedded in work cultures across Europe have helped protect unemployment levels from the current uncertainty in the Eurozone.
With the UK economy stumbling and widespread youth unemployment across Britain, we could do well to take a lesson from our European counterparts.
Germany, whose 6.6% unemployment rate compares favourably with the UK's 8.1%, boasts a renowned two-to-four year apprenticeship programme which attracts roughly two-thirds of vocational school students.
Why the UK needs to follow in Europe's footseps on apprenticeships
Similarly, in Switzerland, the apprenticeship model based on in-company vocational training has been lauded as the main reason behind the country's 2.7% unemployment rate. Austria, with a 4.3% unemployment rate, has also heeded the examples set by its neighbours and has a successful apprenticeship system linking enterprises and schools.
These commitments recognise apprenticeships as critical educational and training crossroads, and the reduced unemployment statistics show that this attitude can pay off with regards to the country's economy.
Having recently conducted a review of the apprenticeships and traineeships in all EU Member States, the European Commission (EC) has championed apprenticeships and suggested that, to achieve the best results, they are responsive to labour market requirements, to business needs, and that, vitally, they offer more guarantees for young people.
With recent figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showing that the number of young people in Britain in long-term unemployment has quadrupled over the last year, I believe the UK needs to take note of Europe's programmes and advice, and invest in apprenticeship schemes.
Such projects can help combat these rising unemployment levels and ensure that the youth of today don't miss out on essential training opportunities.
While there is no single solution that suits everyone, the low unemployment figures across these European countries who have embraced apprenticeships into their work ethic clearly show that these models can build bridges for young people to enter the labour market - tackling the levels of youth unemployment at the source.
Apprenticeship programmes provide young people with the chance to ‘earn-as-you-learn' in a way that is best suited to each individual.
They also give apprentices the opportunity to learn job-specific skills though hands-on experience - an invaluable qualification in today's market.
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