Businesses and trainees both benefit.
At their best, apprenticeships are a mutualistic partnership between employer and apprentice. With an apprentice, the employer can take on more work, they can pick up bigger contracts and they end up with a well-qualified employee who has well-rounded skills at the end of their training.
In return, the apprentice gets on-site experience and learns practical skills to complement their theoretical learning, which will provide dividends at the end of their training.
They earn as they learn, whereas their peers at university will find themselves graduating with mountains of debt. The majority of apprentices stay with the firms they apprenticed with.
Apprenticeships are often life-changing and have a huge positive impact on personal development. They give people a career that will stay with them as they move through their chosen field.
In the building services engineering sector, in which JTL works, ex-apprentices go on to become company directors, or will set up and run their own companies taking on apprentices themselves - perpetuating and protecting the industry in which they operate.
Presmac Ltd Plumbing & Heating Services is one company with a long history of employing apprentices. They employ 17 people, and four apprentices.
Jacqui Scott, from the company, said: "Taking on young people as apprentices gives us as a company the chance to pass on our experience to the next generation of plumbers.
"We get the opportunity to train them in the skills that our company most needs, and it engenders a great level of loyalty - the vast majority of our apprentices stay with us once they finish their training."
The North East requires a sustainable and well-skilled workforce, now and in the future, to meet the needs of industry and ensure the financial health of the area. In a few years we will need more talented tradespeople as the economy and the demand for skilled staff picks up, and apprenticeships are the best way to meet that requirement.
JTL has more than 20 years' experience in training young people within the building services engineering sector. As such, the charity is in the perfect position to advocate the needs of the industry in which it works: the best way to protect and preserve the sector is to continue to recruit the most eager and talented as apprentices to guarantee the best possible workforce in the future. JTL is encouraging more employers and young people to consider apprenticeships within the sector. With guidance from JTL's local and qualified training officers, more than 6,500 apprentices are currently studying for life-changing qualifications with more than 3,500 employers. Over 50,000 have qualified in their chosen fields.
For more details call 0800 852308, visit www.JTLtraining.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
WORK OPPORTUNITY Michael Hawkins, a JTL plumbing apprentice from Chester-le-Street, County Durham