The UK government pledged to create three million apprenticeships by 2020. However, recent figures published by the Department for Education have shown this pledge to slip further from view.


This month, the official figures have shown a 31% drop in the number of people starting apprenticeship schemes – a programme that allows you to be trained whilst earning at the same time in the workplace. It is not compulsory for businesses to offer these government-invested schemes however recent years have seen employers encouraged to provide these types of opportunities which are often considered as alternatives to continuing further education at a university.


Unfortunately, the numbers have shown the apprenticeship schemes to have fallen by 141,300 to 315,900 between last August and May 2018. These figures were published this month, and have been commented on by numerous business groups who feel the current apprenticeship system needs some major improvements to get back on track. However, Petra Wilton, the director of the Chartered Management Institute said: “You can talk about the wonderful opportunities, but it is pointless if employers are not providing the places”.


One company that is striving to provide the places is West Midlands business, Winster Ltd. Established in 1949, the company is the UK’s longest standing hose supplier and has a Managing Director that is fully on-board with the apprenticeship schemes.


Val Gardner, Managing Director of Winster Ltd said “As a company that’s keen to give back, we love the idea of taking on-board keen members of the public who want to work for Winster Ltd. We’re a very values-driven business and we hope that we’re showing our gratitude by providing working and learning opportunities to the local community.”


Winster has fully embraced the idea of welcoming new talent into the team and have just enlisted their second apprentice following the success of their first one. The company welcomed their first apprentice this year after deciding to take advantage of the government scheme. The entire Winster team saw great potential in the apprentice who after having successfully passed and completed his training, was offered a permanent position within the company.


After reaping the benefits of the apprenticeship scheme, Winster Ltd was keen to take on board another apprentice. They have recently welcomed Christy Hickman onto the team who will be taking part in on-the-job learning over the next few months. When asked about her new position at Winster Christy said “I believe an apprenticeship was the best option for me as I’m a hands on learner and wouldn’t enjoy sitting in a classroom to learn. The team at Winster keep me busy with day to day tasks and I’m always learning something new all while gaining a diploma in business administration. In the short time I’ve worked at Winster I have learnt so much and would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to any students leaving school next year.



Speaking about the latest recruit, Val said “We were so happy with the success of our first apprentice that we wasted no time in giving the chance to someone else too. It’s such a great scheme and really helps to scout new and fresh talent for the company and at the same time is providing wages, an education and valuable experience to an individual. Hopefully, more businesses will begin to open up to the idea, as it really is a win-win situation for everyone!


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