Ladder for England – What’s it all About?
In our monthly News Roundup last week, we reported on the fact that the finalists in the Ladder for Birmingham Apprenticeship Awards were treated to a guided tour of Parliament, meeting with MP for Harlow, Robert Halfon, who is joint patron of the Ladder for England campaign. Ladder for England is an initiative that is designed to encourage businesses across the UK to invest in hiring and training an apprentice. Today we’re going to take a little look at the origins and history of Ladder for England, a welcome development for all of us in the UK construction industry as we’re faced with the challenges of adopting new technology and methodology whilst experiencing a serious shortage of skilled labour in an uncertain financial and political landscape as Brexit draws ever closer.
The Ladder for London initiative was launched by the Evening Standard in September, 2012 to help tackle youth unemployment through apprenticeships. The initial aim of the campaign was to achieve 500 apprenticeship pledges from employers by end of year, with 100 of those apprentices placed in companies within 100 days of launch.
In fact, the Ladder for London campaign was so successful that four other regions have collaborated with newspapers to launch their own, regional Ladder campaigns:
- Ladder for the Black Country
- Ladder for Staffordshire
- Ladder for Shropshire
- Ladder for Greater Birmingham
Commercial partners have clamoured to get onboard and make the most of the mutual opportunities available to both the companies that hire apprentices and the apprentices who are provided with on the job training as their first step into a career in construction.
In October of last year, Ladder for England launched in the House of Commons, run by the Ladder Apprenticeship Foundation which fosters apprenticeship campaigns in regional newspapers in order to “inspire the creation of 10,000 new jobs and address issues of social mobility”.
Ladder for London was used as a blueprint for the regional “Ladder for” initiatives, with 85% of apprenticeships created for white collar jobs, while the remainder were jobs in the construction sector. This scheme has already helped to transform the lives of young people and so many of the companies that provided apprenticeships found the scheme so advantageous that they decided to offer more apprenticeships in the following year.
Expanding the “Ladder for” scheme makes perfect sense across all sectors, but especially in the construction industry which is currently struggling to attract a new generation of workers who will be needed in order to meet demand for new housing, new infrastructure and a wide range of other projects across the UK.
For companies that invest in the Apprenticeship scheme, the benefits are many. Not only do the companies recruit and train the skilled workers they need to keep their businesses thriving in the future, they often experience an increase in productivity. Training apprentices from grass roots level results in the trainees becoming more engaged and involved in the company, as they are stakeholders in their own future success.