OAS apprentice applicants at record high

Oxfordshire Advanced Skills has seen a surge in applications from prospective apprentices, with nearly 200 young people looking to join the award-winning programme.

Having successfully passed OAS’s rigorous screening process and assessment centre, 80 ambitious candidates are in a talent pool ready to be matched with employers. OAS is now looking for new employer partners who want to future-proof their workforces by creating the next generation of engineers.

Incorporating apprenticeships into a training and recruitment strategy offers great benefits to any business. Apprenticeships provide a cost effective way to attract enthusiastic, motivated, young talent, with 75 per cent of employers agreeing that taking on apprentices has lowered their recruitment costs, according to the latest figures from the National Apprenticeship Service. Firms stand to benefit from increased employee retention and loyalty, as well as higher levels of staff performance. Ninety-two per cent of businesses who employ apprentices believe that apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce.

Apprenticeships also help address the engineering skills shortage by providing learners with the relevant skills and experience that will help them add value to their organisations from the start of their careers. Apprentices on OAS’s programme gain additional expertise compared to other learners through exposure to the latest engineering technologies crucial to the future success of the manufacturing sector.

David Hughes, managing director of training partner MTC Apprenticeships which manages the OAS apprentice programmes, said, “OAS apprentices are exactly what the industry needs to fill the high tech jobs of the future. Our programme produces apprentices capable of rapidly adding value to their employers, and several of our apprentices have gone on to win awards and accolades in recognition of their exceptional skills.”

For employer partner, Oxford Packaging Solutions, taking on apprentices is a crucial element in the development of the workforce.

Marc Harrison, director of Oxford Packaging Solutions, said, “While we are focused on the here and now, it remains key for us to look to the future. It is exciting to work with a provider that is so committed to the individual and I am in no doubt that our apprentices will come out having been trained to the highest level.”

Firms can take advantage of a range of funds and financial incentives to support the employment of an apprentice. UK employers with a payroll of over £3million can use their apprenticeship levy to cover training costs, while eligible smaller businesses can access a £1million fund that has been created through an exclusive partnership between OAS, MTC Apprenticeships and Lloyds Bank.

Apprentices are also set to be instrumental in supporting Britain’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. As the country re-opens and adapts to the “new normal”, manufacturers need to ensure their workforces can meet demand and support their future growth. In recognition of this, and to encourage the creation of new jobs for young people, the Government has recently announced an additional, temporary, six-month bonus of up to £2,000 per learner for employers taking on new apprentices.

Companies interested in finding out more about the apprentice talent pool, funding opportunities or the apprenticeship bonus should contact OASPhase2@the-mtc.org.

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