News | Published March 06 2020

Rakem philosophy mirrors government apprenticeship sentiment

The Department for Education [DfE] has urged parents to look beyond misconceptions around apprenticeships, after new research shows that such views could be holding children back from pursuing lucrative careers.

The DfE perspective, presented by education secretary Gavin Williamson, aligns with the views of Steve Bunker, chairman of Bury based chemical manufacturer and distributor, Rakem, which has earmarked investment in apprenticeships and training as an integral part of its business strategy.

The research, unveiled at the beginning of National Apprenticeship Week in February 2020, shows that over 60 per cent parents of children aged 13-18 that were interviewed said that they were concerned that their child would be stuck ‘making the tea’ if they were to opt for an apprenticeship.

Other findings in the survey show that 35 per cent of parents still associate apprenticeships with manual roles such as plumbing and carpentry, with 45 per cent unaware that such pathways can be as advanced as degree level.

Reaching out to parents in the wake of the research, education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “This research shows that outdated views are holding young people back from pursuing their dream career.

“Every parent wants the best for their children and when they ask you for advice about their futures, it’s incredibly daunting. But I know that when I’m asked for help by my children I will absolutely encourage them to consider an apprenticeship.

“So as we celebrate the life changing potential of apprenticeships I would urge all parents to do the same and look beyond stereotypes and embrace every opportunity.”

The government has placed a lot of emphasis on apprenticeships and collaborated closely with leading employers such as BT, BAE Systems and Greene King in order to create more opportunities.

These higher quality opportunities up-skill apprentices to develop the aptitude they need to secure a good and well-paid job and provide industry with the workforce needed to close the skills gap.

Indeed, the DfE statement emphasises that some of the professions apprenticeships lead into include lucrative areas such as cyber security and aerospace engineering.

The government’s renewed focus on apprenticeships aligns itself with the philosophy of Rakem, a chemical manufacturing and distributing firm based in Bury, Lancashire, which welcomed its first group of apprentices in 2017 and has itself focussed on training and developing apprentices, and area which is now vital in its investment strategy.

Speaking to The Parliamentary Review about their approach, Rakem managing directors Kieran, Kevin and Eugene Rafferty said: “Alongside manufacturing expansion, we gained over 15 new employees in 2017. We are proud to welcome our first group of apprentices.

“This expansion has covered all aspects of the business, and we now have apprentices in admin, sales, technology and manufacturing. These apprentices will shadow managers, while studying at nearby Bury College over the next two years.”

Furthermore, Rakem chairman, Steve Bunker, was hugely approving of the government’s support in encouraging apprenticeship take-ups, saying: “Government support and drive in this area is welcomed and gives us confidence that our recruitment strategies are in line with central policies for UK PLCs.

“The [Rakem] board strongly believes in the value of training and development and its investment in apprentices across most disciplines in the business reflects this”.

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Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
March 06 2020

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