When asked what they liked best about being an apprentice, over two thirds quoted the ability to ‘earn while you learn’, with a quarter also pointing out the fact they can immediately apply learning to a real world environment.

“There has been a massive change in attitudes towards vocational learning and that is reflected in the number of young people who are now choosing to go down the apprenticeship route as their ‘first choice’ and not as a backstop,” explains Bekki Phillips, managing director of In-Comm Training. “It has taken us a while to get to this position, but I think businesses and education have started to make real inroads into putting together a persuasive case for being an apprentice.

“In addition to being able to apply learning to live manufacturing situations, we’ve estimated that doing an apprenticeship all the way through to degree level could be a £100,000 opportunity when you consider the wages you’re paid and the tuition fees that you save,” she adds. “Better still, all apprentices are employed from day one and benefit from clear progression routes to further their career. A lot of today’s manufacturing leaders will have started out as an apprentice.”

In-Comm Training currently has over 100 vacancies for young people who are collecting their A-Level or GCSE results this month, with cohorts due to start in September at its three technical academies in Aldridge, Bridgnorth and Shrewsbury.

Over £7.5 million has been spent on equipping the centres with the latest CNC machinery, fluid power cells, 3D-printing capability and metrology, not to mention hosting the National Power Press and Tooling Centre.