Apprenticeships have been part of Guernsey’s education provision since the scheme’s inception in 1949. Since then, there have been around 5,500 apprentices working with well over 1,000 employers, adding up to an estimated 692,000 hours of lessons. If we stop to think about this contribution to our community it means that probably every building constructed, almost every car serviced, every haircut in the island’s salons, and a large number of meals cooked in our hospitality and catering industry in the last 73 years, would have involved an apprentice working alongside professionals in those businesses.
The first support from the States of Guernsey appeared in the States Social Services Committee Billet d’Etat 1949 outlining the education of apprentices, which states
‘...it was felt that a comprehensive Scheme could be drawn up and modified where necessary, to suit any particular demands of any particular trade or special circumstances…’
Initially, apprenticeships were generally in construction or engineering professions - such as carpentry, plumbing, electricity - and these continue to form an important part of TGI, College of Further Education’s apprenticeship provision. But more recently, newer programmes have been developed and now there are 16 technical, professional and vocational areas including Childcare, Adult Care, and Retail offering apprenticeship options. The TGI College team is also looking at additional areas which might benefit from an apprenticeship programme.
Research suggests a large number of benefits for any economy to be gained from an apprenticeship programme. Here are just a few:
• apprenticeships improve skill levels and stimulate further training or study.
• apprenticeships tend to have a positive effect on participants’ subsequent employment
• apprenticeships are more likely to increase employment than other forms of employment training
• employers experienced additional benefits to their business. Among the most cited benefits were ‘addressing skills shortages’ and ‘providing value for money’.
(Sources: YouGov; What Works Growth)
For the apprentice the benefits are varied
• Hands-on experience - An apprentice will have the opportunity to expand their expertise and benefit from hands-on experience learning from colleagues on a daily basis to support professional development.
• Benefit from support systems and learning aids - Employers help guide apprentices through their career journey. They will give apprentices the support needed to progress, whether that’s answering role-related questions or providing access to useful resources to aid studies.
• Get paid to learn - Apprenticeships offer the opportunity to get paid to learn.
• Gain industry-recognised qualifications - Apprentices gain industry-recognised qualifications, which can help validate their skills and knowledge, and help demonstrate their value to future employers, improving future job prospects.
• Get a feel for the work environment - An apprenticeship is a great way to bridge the gap between finishing education and kickstarting a career. Equally, it has benefits for those who wish to retrain or reskill mid career. An apprenticeship will help an individual get a feel for a professional work environment and gives the opportunity to brush up on other skills along the way, such as communication, time management and problem-solving.
• Improve employability prospects - In today’s professional world, many employers require a minimum level of experience when hiring new talent, and having experience as an apprentice can help tick that box. An apprenticeship will help you demonstrate expertise to employers and improve employability.
There are some amazing success stories amongst Guernsey’s apprentices. Their wonderful career achievements are testaments to the professional expertise, skill, craft and knowledge developed through this form of education which is a true partnership between the apprentice, the employer and the College.
Current apprenticeships available
• Adult Care
• Culinary Skills
• Construction & The Built Environment
• Electrotechnical Technology
• Painting & Decorating
• Carpentry & Joinery
• Trowel Trades
• Mechanical Engineering
• Motor Vehicle
• Island Operative