Apprenticeships: no longer a second-class option

All the signs are that attitudes regarding education are shifting. Students are increasingly aware of the stark realities facing many graduates – no guarantees of higher paying jobs on graduation and inevitable student debt for those taking the university route.

So it’s not surprising that many are beginning to think long and hard about a ‘return on investment’ from a university education. Indeed, a recent report on some 14000 university students (Commissioned by the Higher Education Policy Institute) revealed that fewer than 38% of students believed they were getting ‘good’ or ‘very good’ value for money from their university course.

In this context, it’s not hard to see why the prospect of an income while you learn is appealing – and part of this appeal has been brought into sharper relief by the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017. This is not just because more employers have been prodded into taking on more trainees but importantly because perceptions regarding apprenticeships are shifting in a much more positive direction.

One recent survey by Grant Thornton revealed that 77% of young people and 79% of parents felt apprenticeships offer good career prospects, with nearly 50% of the young respondents expressing the opinion that apprenticeships and university are of equal value.

Pioneering the way forward

None of this surprises us – via a pioneering academy partnership between Lear Corporation and Cidori, young trainees are gaining an insight into the world of work and learning about Health and Safety, Build Quality & Quality Systems, Continuous Improvements through Lean – Kaizen documentation and Compliance.

During the apprenticeship, the trainees (aged 16 to 24) are each assigned a Lear mentor to shadow and experience various manufacturing roles in building car seats and supporting quality and control. This is an innovative programme that will allow young apprentices the opportunity to assist in the building of seats for Jaguar Land Rover whilst gaining a Level 2 Apprenticeship qualification.

As well as learning about different job roles, there is a focus on improving individual employability skills. The programme includes conducting presentations, practical thinking and business problem solving, with practical exercises.

Each young person keeps a log and discusses learning points each day with their Lear mentor. They are gaining the practical skills and confidence to succeed in the world of work.

Cidori’s bespoke approach in providing Apprenticeships is about creating partnerships with companies like Lear, providing opportunities which are opening the eyes of young people to careers in sectors such as Automotive, Manufacturing and Logistics.

Raising visibility, increasing opportunities

Happily, like Lear many larger employers are collaborating with supply-chain companies to raise the visibility of apprenticeships. Cidori’s experience at Lear is that key to the long term success of apprenticeships for younger people is good quality line management and mentoring from within. For the company this can often help with retention, making the young trainee feel much more engaged with and understanding their place within the company.

Find out more

If your business wants to attract and develop young talent via the apprenticeship levy, then talk to us – whether it’s young apprenticeships or proven programs for upskilling your existing workforce, Cidori can develop bespoke solutions for any business or sector.

Our workforce apprenticeships programme is developed and delivered in partnership with RoTAP accredited, Ofsted outstanding Gateshead College.

To discuss how Cidori can help your business improve, transform your learning and increase the opportunities available, contact:


David Murfitt
01788 851230

Useful links

Gateshead College

Cidori blogs:

Turning the Levy into language we all understand
Don’t write it off: grow your Levy and increase your profit

Client case study: Lear