No Image Available

Dina Mistry

Read more from Dina Mistry

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Apprenticeships: The best way to escape the vicious circle


As part of our theme of the month, we asked Dina Mistry from Gent by Honeywell to give us her perspective on apprenticeships.

One of the biggest complaints from young people looking for work is being stuck in a vicious circle of needing experience to get a job, but not being able to get a job to gain the necessary experience. This may explain why the nation’s apprenticeship schemes seem to be proving so popular with today’s young job hunters.

Apprenticeships not only offer the opportunity to work for a real employer, earn a salary and gain a recognised industry qualification, they give young people the chance to gain the valuable workplace skills and experience essential to building a long and successful career. From an employer's perspective, apprenticeships allow people to pick up the skills that employers actually need, they help businesses recruit the very best people and can also be a great retention tool.

The benefits that apprenticeships bring to UK businesses in general have been well documented during recent years. Since the Government announced it would provide funding for the 'biggest apprenticeships programme in this country's history', it highlighted the important role these schemes provide to many industry sectors. The government wants to create thousands more on-the-job training schemes, and if we take the fire industry as an example, there are already established apprenticeship programmes in place that have been running successfully for several years.

Employers up and down the country are fully aware that successful employees need a combination of practical skills and technical knowledge, and the current apprenticeship schemes available in the fire industry are designed to produce exactly that. Many of the apprenticeship programmes enable students to complete a course with recognised qualifications while gaining a huge amount of practical experience in their specific field. The skills are invaluable for the employees’ future career prospects and a vital asset for the employers training them.

"From an employer's perspective, apprenticeships allow people to pick up the skills that employers actually need, they help businesses recruit the very best people and can also be a great retention tool."

Many of these specialist industry apprenticeship schemes run in conjunction with independent education bodies. Generally, the company looking for an apprentice is fully involved in the marketing and recruitment process, while a separate body - in the case of the fire industry it’s Skills for Security - manages the apprentices while they are at college. This type of scheme can give apprentices the best of both worlds, by combining on-the-job experience with an independently recognised qualification.

Independent educational experts Learndirect have a wide range of apprenticeship programmes available for 16 to 24 year olds who are looking to earn a real salary while getting essential hands-on work experience. Whether the employee is looking at business, IT, retail, hospitality or health, Learndirect offers support either face-to-face, or online, with a trainer assessor to assess the apprentices’ progress. The courses usually last from 12 to 24 months depending on the specified company and industry.

The UK government published its latest guidelines on apprenticeships in August this year, setting out the criteria and requirements for employers and any young people looking to apply.

There are thousands of apprentices currently working hard in their placements to provide the clear evidence of the valuable contribution these schemes make to employers around the country. Businesses now have the opportunity to train future employees for specialist roles to meet their organisational needs, and young people can finally escape the vicious unemployment circle.

Case study: One of the apprenticeship programmes available in the fire industry is Gent by Honeywell’s ‘Get Fired Up’ scheme which has been running for the last six years. Courses like this provide the opportunity for graduates to achieve a Level 2 or 3 NVQ certificate and address a very specific problem of the widening skills gap in the fire safety market.

Luke Thomas is a second year apprentice studying towards an NVQ Level 2 qualification in fire safety in Birmingham.

Thomas explains: “For me personally, this has been a brilliant opportunity. I’ve been working on all aspects of fire systems, from installing devices and cabling, to training customers after commissioning. I’ve always been a better hands-on learner, even at school. I like the fact that I can combine what I am learning at college with what I am doing on a day-to-day basis. I am really getting some great first-hand experience working with the devices and the systems, as well as from working with qualified fire safety professionals who have been in the industry for a while.”


Dina Mistry is apprenticeship manager at Gent by Honeywell


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!