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Trade Legends Guest
The Challenges of Training Apprentices in the Trades

Finding and retaining apprentices presents ongoing difficulties for trades businesses according to decorater James. As the owner of an award-winning painting company, he currently mentors his third trainee but acknowledges the hurdles involved at each step.

When discussing the hardest parts of his job, James highlighted apprenticeship management. While passionate about bringing new blood into the industry, practical challenges require careful navigation. Firstly, securing a placement proves trying as qualified candidates grow scarce. Individual motivation alone cannot fill widespread skills shortages affecting trades nationwide.

Despite funding assistance through programs like CITB, costs far surpass reimbursements when properly outfitting novices. Time spent instructing also hampers productivity for payments covering basic wages. Understandably, half-completed training wasted on dropouts damages investment returns. Yet hurdles continue even after securing committed learners.

Interruptions plaguing James’ current apprentices frustrate delayed completion. While colleges bear responsibility for disrupted curriculums, employers bear expenses. Exacerbated by rising minimum wages, holding apprentices beyond terms proves financially unsustainable for smaller businesses.

Compounding issues, recessions threaten availability. With harder times ahead, finding positions may become even rarer despite greater needs. Those placed face higher pressures as employers feel the pinch. Longterm, such cyclical risks challenge apprenticeship systems supposed to encourage careers.

Despite these very real problems, James stresses perseverance for newcomers. While facing inevitably ragged initiation, dedication leads to secure livelihoods. Steady skills demands outpace available talent as experienced tradespeople retire. With proper training and drive, young starters filling the gap stand to gain lifelong rewarding work.

Still, united collaboration against issues like skills shortages, underfunding and recession impacts holds the only solution. Only through tackling obstacles cooperatively between government, educators and the sector can trades apprenticeships thrive to benefit all.