The county’s chamber of commerce has warned that the serious recruitment struggles facing local businesses have created a ‘dangerous ticking timebomb’ for the economy.
But Beckie Bosworth, Telford College's head of employer engagement, said: “Companies across all sectors say they are struggling to attract candidates for a diverse range of positions.
“They are either getting no applications at all, or attracting people who lack the required skillsets.
“The beauty of an apprenticeship is that you can mould a candidate to your company’s specific requirements – and from their point of view, they will earn and learn at the same time.”
And apprenticeships offer a pathway into permanent jobs and promotions.
Annabel Hemingbrough has already become marketing and customer service manager at Telford-based Purple Frog Systems after impressing on her apprenticeship.
She spent around 18 months as a business administration apprentice with the data analytics company, before passing her exams with across-the-board distinctions.
She was praised by her employers for her mature working attitude and described as a ‘thoughtful and proactive worker always looking for ways to improve’.
Another local employer which is a long-time champion of apprenticeships, working with Telford College, is former Shropshire Company of the Year winner Dodd Group.
Based in Telford, it employs more than 900 people and has built a strong reputation within the building services sector for electrical and mechanical design, installation and maintenance services.
The business has a successful track record of working with apprentices in electrical and IT, but is now extending the offer into administration.
Marie-Anne Clayton, the company’s head of HR, said: “We are so looking forward to welcoming new fresh talent and enabling them to grow, learn and develop.
“Apprentices are encouraged to be a full part of the team and be proactive and contribute to decision-making.”
Beckie added: “Apprenticeships are real jobs. For the apprentice, it’s a chance to gain valuable qualifications, alongside real-world work experience. For the employer, it’s an opportunity to grow your own talent, shaped to your specific needs.
“Apprenticeships have evolved and expanded significantly in recent years – these days it’s possible to do an apprenticeship in pretty much anything, at any age.”
To find out more about the range of apprenticeships on offer through Telford College, see www.telfordcollege.ac.uk/join-us/our-courses/apprenticeships/ or call the college’s apprenticeships hotline on 01952 642452.