More needs to be done to publicise industry apprenticeships to young people, according to Craft Bakers’ Association (CBA) president Anthony Kindred.
Commenting on a recent report by The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), which praised apprenticeships over “dead-end” college courses, Kindred said that apprenticeships were not given enough publicity.
“A lot of it isn’t very good publicity. Sometimes young people aren’t always the best at finding out information, and they have to search for it when they go to job centres. There’s not really enough information on what local companies might offer.”
The new report, Condition of Britain briefing 2: Growing up and becoming an adult, is the second in a series of three published by the IPPR on young people, work and benefits. A summary of the report states that for those in their teens and early 20s, “life has become, for many, more difficult and insecure in recent decades”.
It states that without sufficient skills, some young people will spend their time moving in and out of “dead-end jobs” and “low-value training programmes”.
Angela Coleshill, director of employment and skills at Food and Drink Federation, said: "There is no doubt that skills are the driving force to a successful industry. Growing our talent pool through apprenticeships is a key priority for food and drink manufacturers and is essential to our ability to deliver future growth.
"We are currently taking action to address this via a number of projects and initiatives. For example, in 2011, our sector pledged to double the number of apprenticeships within food and drink manufacturing but we in fact smashed this target by quadrupling apprenticeships."
She added: "Building on this pledge, food and drink manufacturing is now one of the eight sectors, including automotive and aerospace, chosen to lead Apprenticeship reform as part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Apprenticeship Trailblazer initiative to develop ground-breaking new standards for apprenticeships across the country."
In 2012, Kindred provided an apprenticeship for now 19-year-old Jordan-Reece Reed who had previously been completing a hospitality course in south London. “He’s absolutely excellent,” said Kindred. “I don’t think, if he’d stayed on his course, he would have got the right sort of job.”
For the craft baker, apprenticeships provide young people with vital trade skills, enabling them to find work regardless of location.
“It goes back to the old thing of learning a trade. I was always taught when I was young that if you’ve got a trade, you can work anywhere in the world. If you can’t find a job in your own town, you can start looking at the next town. If you’ve got a trade you’ve got a reason for somebody to give you a job.”
Coleshill added: "Companies who employ apprentices gain a valuable staff member with the talent to make a difference to the business, the apprentice gains the confidence, ambition and sense of value which goes hand-in-hand with earning a recognised qualification, inspiring loyalty and the drive to take their career in food and drink further."