In a recent news report by the BBC, Apprenticeships were reported as being on the decline. The reasons cited included apprentices finding the training poor quality and firms provided little or no training, according to a report by Education Think Tank, EDSK. The most recent official data suggests that nearly half of apprentices fail to complete their courses.
This was disappointing to read. At N.E.J Stevenson, our apprenticeship scheme is fundamental to our business model. We see on-job training as the best way to teach someone the right skills and shape their understanding of our industry. Indeed, for us our apprentices offer sustainability for our workforce and are a valuable and vital part of our success.
Taking on apprentices is a serious commitment and investment of time and money, and not something we undertake lightly. But we know it makes good business sense. Many of our best employees initially started with us as apprentices and have stayed within the company and progressed to management roles.
At N.E.J Stevenson, our apprenticeship scheme is fundamental to our business model.
In return, we do expect the same level of commitment from our apprentices. We need to see a genuine passion and interest to learn about furniture making from the candidates. It has to be a two-way partnership, but the rewards are great. An apprentice after three to four years with us, will be highly skilled and very employable in an industry that pays well and is always looking for trained staff. Not forgetting that they will have been paid throughout their apprenticeship and will not be ladled will university debts.
Apprenticeships are the only way we feel we can nurture the skills we need. Someone coming to us out of university simply will not have the practical experience we need to be useful and productive. In fact, a graduate will simply have to start at the same level as an entry apprentice, no matter how well they did in their degree.
An apprentice after three to four years with us, will be highly skilled and very employable in an industry that pays well and is always needing trained staff.
There is no other way to learn our craft than by doing, watching and being absorbed into the world on the workshop floor. Apprenticeships have been around as long as civilised society, as it makes commercial sense for both individuals and industries.
We guarantee all our apprentices that if they are prepared to work hard, we will pay properly, and train them in life long and respected skills that will ensure they will never be out of a job.