Rugby legend ‘lines out’ with Welsh bosses to nurture young talent Rugby legend ‘lines out’ with Welsh bosses to nurture young talent
Following the successful Apprenticeship Week in Wales, Cardiff-based ACT Training has announced that the TV pundit and former apprentice decorator is to lead a new year-long drive to get more employers to recruit apprentices this year, to make 2012 the year of the Welsh Apprentice.
Working as the ‘Apprenticeship Ambassador’ for the 2012 campaign, Jonathan will meet employers across the country and highlight the benefits of apprenticeships, for the firms themselves and for the Welsh economy.
Latest statistics forWalesshow that, although the overall unemployment rate has decreased slightly to 8.9%, youth unemployment remains high. Currently, over a third of jobless people inWalesare aged between 16 and 24. Since the start of the economic downturn in 2007-08, the number of apprentices and foundation apprentices under training inWaleseach year has dropped by nearly 8,000 to 36,375.
Working with the Welsh Government, ACT is hoping that the ‘2012 Year of the Welsh Apprentice’ campaign will encourage more employers to change this trend by taking advantage of the funding support from the Welsh Government and the European Social Fund available to train apprentices.
UKresearch found that 77% of employers who had trained apprentices believed it made their firms more competitive, and 76% said it led to higher overall productivity. Furthermore, 88% of employers said apprenticeships resulted in better motivation among their workforces, while 57% reported that a high proportion of apprentices moved on into management positions in their businesses.
Jonathan Davies said: “It is great to be appointed to a role which will hopefully help boost youth employment inWalesand contribute to changing attitudes among employers who have never recruited apprentices before.
“Before I played professional rugby, I worked as an apprentice in painting and decorating. Gaining on-the-job experience and having real responsibility from a young age provided me with confidence and instilled a work ethic that I have maintained throughout my adult life.
“There are many young people out there who have the potential to be trained and become part of the skilled workforce. Without the opportunities from employers, we are at risk of losing a young generation to a life of unskilled labour and benefits. Employers have a lot to gain by hiring an apprentice and giving them the skills their businesses need to succeed in the future. Injecting fresh talent is an investment and not a financial sacrifice.”
Andrew Cooksley, Managing Director at ACT Training, said: “It’s great to have Jonathan on board to help spread the important message that apprenticeships play a vital role in the economic development ofWales. I would urge employers to find out how they can get involved in recruiting apprentices as a way to boost their business productivity.
He urged them to make use of the Apprenticeship Matching Service (AMS), the new online service that helps employers to find the right young person to fill apprenticeship vacancies at their firms.