PROSPER MAGAZINE: ISSUE 02 | BREXIT & EDUCATION
A LOOK AT BREXIT & APPRENTICESHIPS
With a university education to degree level now being questioned as the most effective way to become qualified, we know that Apprenticeships, including those that are part of a degree, offer an alternative route to entering the workplace.
Apprenticeships offer an alternative route to learning and even in the event of a no-deal exit from the EU by the UK, will allow young people to be regarded as highly valuable assets. This perception is reinforced by evidence which shows that the public is highly supportive of on-the-job training that is fundamental to apprenticeships,” continues Dr McCabe.
“There are many concerns about the future of Apprenticeships within the West Midlands in a post-Brexit Britain. The issue of Apprenticeships after Brexit is a two-edged sword in that there is a concern that if the manufacturing sector were to suffer as a result of a No Deal Brexit, there would be fewer opportunities in the future for young people – and that is just one of the industries that could be significantly impacted by Brexit.
“Though the target of achieving three million Apprenticeships by the end of 2020 is most likely not going to be achieved, there has been good progress. However, the continued uncertainty surrounding the UK’s membership of the EU has not been helpful. Nonetheless, there is universal recognition that Apprenticeships are very positive and offer businesses an extremely effective way to develop their workforce for the future.
“Dealing with concerns firstly, it was noted by former Labour Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, now head of Labour In for Britain, that as many as 50,000 manufacturing Apprenticeships could be at risk in the event of the UK leaving the EU with no-deal due to a potential decline in exports caused by the imposition of tariffs.
“Investment in all sectors of British industry, particularly manufacturing, that is so crucial in the West Midlands and, of course, the Black Country is absolutely critical to the prosperity of the region.
“A World Economic Forum report published in 2018 reported that by 2022, the skills that any employee should possess will have shifted significantly. All organisations, regardless of sector, will require a workforce that is as skilled as it is agile.
“Investment in Apprenticeships is equally critical to underpinning the development of future expertise and skills. They are cost-effective and can be a fantastic way to ensure that companies are able to cope with the rapid change that will continue into the next decade.
“So,” concluded Dr McCabe, “It is, therefore, good to report that despite the uncertainty that has characterised the debate surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU, Apprenticeships have been growing in popularity.”