Undoubtedly, the last 12 to 18 months has been a challenging period for all. With a seemingly never-ending stream of bad news, continual warnings and caveats, it’s been depressing enough. There is no doubt that one of the hardest hit has been the younger generation. Aside from the well reported educational challenges, job and career prospects have suffered immeasurably. FE News* reports that ‘more than half of firms (53%) are shelving plans to take on young workers’. It’s never been more challenging for a young person to find a meaningful, long term prosperous career.
The pausing, stopping or removal of youth development programmes such as apprenticeships have become somewhat common place, given the understandable pressures on many businesses, but that is not the case at Pennant. We have chosen to adopt a different path and continue our long track record of supporting the youth to evolve and flourish in their careers. In-spite of the pandemic Pennant are focusing on “growing our own” capability even further by investing in people. We see no reason to deviate from this path. In the past year we have neither paused nor stopped our apprenticeship programme. In fact, we are proud to say we are increasing it!
Being a UK SME we believe that investing in our youth now will pay dividends in the future for both our company and UK PLC as a whole. We currently have 4 apprentices in our pipeline and have appointed another 2. We offer apprenticeship opportunities in various business areas such as Engineering, HR, Finance and many more. 90% of our apprentices transition into permanent positions here at Pennant with excellent long-term prospects, providing fresh ideas and implementing the skills they have learnt from the Pennant team
We also provide opportunities and support for shorter term development such as undergraduate, postgraduate and vocational programmes and placements. In some cases, this can be up to a year in duration. A recent final year project developed and managed by Pennant in conjunction with a University for a Business degree student resulted in the final classification achieved by the student being raised from 2:1 to a 1st! Whilst this may seem relatively minor to those not directly affected, the impact on the individual, his family and his career prospects are no doubt profound.
Our local MP Laurence Robertson, a long time supporter of Pennant and youth development in the area said “I’m very pleased to hear of and see the work Pennant is carrying out with regards to training young people. Without doubt, the last 18 months or so have been difficult for everyone, and especially young people, but we are coming through it now and there are huge opportunities awaiting us. Training and education are vital factors in preparing young people for careers and Pennant are contributing towards this in a very big way.”
Our aspiration is to continue on this path and it has been particularly encouraging to hear the Government recently reaffirm its commitment to youth development and to putting UK SMEs at the forefront of UK PLC recovery.
Mervyn Skates – Operations Director, Pennant International