Vocational routes vital for economic recovery - Business Works
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Vocational routes vital for economic recovery

by Liz Field, CEO, Financial and Legal Skills Partnership Official figures are predicted to show a fall in unemployment. But as Britainís economy looks for ways of creating marked growth, Liz Field, CEO of the Financial and Legal Skills Partnership is calling on companies to pay greater attention to the benefits that can be created by apprenticeships and paid internships.

"The service sector is a key growth area for the UK economy and so there are some fantastic opportunities, particularly for SMEs, to invest in their future. If every company took just one apprentice or intern, it would instantly address the youth unemployment level, which is still unacceptably high. It would also help companies to adequately plan for growth in a recovering economy, buoyed by talented young people with sights set on success."

The company has consistently voiced its commitment to vocational training and development and has created tools to support companies that wish to enhance their skills. For those who have graduated, but are still struggling to secure full-time employment, FLSP has also developed the Graduate Foundation College (GFC). The College offers a structured programme of academic training and industry experience to bright, young graduates in order to increase their employability as future advisers. Participating firms that are interested in recruiting new talent, but who cannot necessarily fund their initial training and induction into the profession will have access to these candidates as potential new employees.

The candidates will achieve an entry-level standard into the world of financial advice or compliance and during the programme candidates will be introduced to a participating firm, which in turn provides invaluable insight and experience. At the same time, the firm can assess the employability of their candidate as well as build a potentially highly-beneficial new relationship for the longer term.

FLSP has also developed an SME toolkit to support smaller companies to develop their own skills. Both are part of its Hidden Powerhouse project with part investment from the UKCES.

With recent City & Guilds research showing that more than half of the employers surveyed would like to be more involved in developing qualifications to build a stronger link between education and business needs and almost 80% of employers believing that work experience is essential to get young people ready for work, GetInGetOn, FLSPís virtual work experience programme, is a project that employers can actively participate in by becoming e-career mentors. As an innovative industry led project that enables young people to find out more about the financial services industry, the Scheme enables young people to develop the skills and knowledge that employers want.

Liz concluded, "It is refreshing to see that firms are beginning to realise that taking on apprentices or paid interns isnít a practice reserved for other sectors or companies of a particular size. The reality is that there are thousands of smaller firms in the industry, many of which could benefit from welcoming employees through vocational routes. We are working with employers within the finance and legal sectors to ensure that the right level of awareness of vocational training is present. We have a host of trained individuals who are eager to take up placements with large and small employers alike, so we implore organisations to contact us. The continued growth of the economy is based on the readiness of companies to recruit from the widest possible talent pool."

For more information about FLSP, please visit: www.financialskillspartnership.org.uk/noticeboard/graduate-foundation-college

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