It's no secret that unemployment rates are hitting consistently worrying figures. Peaking at 8.8% of the population, experts predict that number to hit 10.7% by 2016, the highest level of unemployment since the financial crisis of 1991-1993. These figures are already daunting, and among people aged 16-24 joblessness is actually at a staggering 21%.
Of these huge numbers, one third of them have been out of work for over a year, with around one fifth out of work for over two. This paints a grim picture of a population unable to find work with no reason to expect they ever will. This experience can stick with a person mentally, and having it present in people from a young age is troubling.
The recession is to blame for the high figures, as businesses contract and close in response to their financial woes. There has been a real wage decrease in the past year, and minimum wage increases fail to meet inflation. With this as a backdrop, it comes as no surprise that apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly popular option for individuals of all ages.
Businesses have embraced them openly. The opportunity to hire cheap labour and avoid risks on expensive new employees has struck a chord, and many companies now work with apprenticeship programmes to offer placements and training to anyone fitting their criteria.
For potential employees the benefits have proven tangible. Though wages begin low, the chance to receive accredited training sets them apart from the rest of the crowd. Considering there are over 400,000 individuals unemployed for over two years, the need to be marketable to employers has never been more essential.
Many businesses take on their apprentices full time. It's understandable. They receive cheap labour for a set period, and can then hire a full-time employee without having to worry about training or incompetency. A recent apprentice is the most employable type of individual to most businesses, and it's not surprising that all signs points to the number of apprentices rising substantially.
From 2012 to 2013 the government predicts adult apprenticeships to increase from 305,000 to 650,000, and under 19 year old to grow from 186,000 to 240,000. It's a clear message. In an economy where your chances of moving straight into full time work are slim, and decreasing by the day as more and more businesses fall foul of financial trouble, an apprenticeship or work placement is the best way to get your foot in the employment door.
With a tiny amount of projected growth for the future, and at least three more years before the economy recovers to 2007 levels, finding an opportunity, any opportunity, to start work has never been more urgent.
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