Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone Sift Media
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News: Employers exploit apprenticeships for cheap labour, claims business owner

28th Sep 2012
Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone Sift Media
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All too many employers are simply exploiting short-term apprenticeship schemes in order to get hold of cheap labour, a business owner in the North East of England has claimed.

Mike Heslop, who owns supply chain maintenance firm, Centrex Services, said that he was stunned on talking to a good number of young hopefuls that so many were being offered places for six months and given no guarantee of employment at the end. “I firmly believe some companies are using these six-month schemes to take advantage of the 2.5 million unemployed young people in the UK,” he said. “I worry they are recruiting young people as cheap labour to plug skills gaps, with no intention to develop their skills or offer full-time employment.” The problem was that short-term apprenticeship placements “just cannot offer enough on-the-job experience to provide any real benefits to the individuals who take part”, Heslop warned. Moreover, there were also “real question marks” over the quality of training that apprentices received, he said. Heslop launch his own apprenticeship scheme at least partially because he was unable to find the skilled workers he needed to repair the machines with which his company deals. His first three apprentices have just completed their on-the-job training and will all be offered full-time jobs, while three new trainees have been taken on at the same time.

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