Can Apprenticeships Help Reduce Unemployment?

Employment statistics for young people across Europe are receiving lots of attention – from alarmingly high unemployment in Spain to the impressively low numbers in Germany. The shortage of skilled workers is a challenge that companies – and countries – face on a daily basis. So what are countries like Germany doing to keep unemployment down, and can countries like Spain learn from their European neighbors?

While larger companies look to in-house training solutions to fill the gap, this cost-intensive approach is more difficult for small businesses to implement. In difficult economic times, vocational programs, including apprenticeships, are often the better, more cost-effective source of ready talent.

Germany, for instance, has a dual system of vocational training that instructs nearly 1.5 million individuals each year. As a by-product of its apprenticeship system, the country enjoys the lowest youth unemployment rate in Europe.

In the UK, the apprenticeship has become an established and respected educational track. Charles Davis, head of macroeconomics at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, observed, “Our research clearly demonstrates the significant contribution that apprenticeships can make to economic growth. Raising the skills of the UK’s workforce translates into improved UK competitiveness in a challenging post-financial crisis environment.”

Working extensively throughout the United Kingdom, Raytheon Professional Services (RPS) has demonstrated the efficiency and effectiveness of vocational training and apprenticeships over the past 16 years – having managed more than 3,000 apprenticeships in that country alone.

For more information on RPS’ vocational training and the value of apprenticeships, check out the following posts:

What role do you feel apprenticeships play in your country or industry?

Piet-Jan Van Gerwen is EMEA Director of Business Development Commercial Segment for Raytheon Professional Services LLC (RPS). He is responsible for expanding RPS’ business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Piet-Jan has spent the last 25 years in the learning industry leading various areas of the training value chain, including learning design and development, training operations and learning technology.