When do apprentices become too old to learn?

Apparently this week is Apprentice Week. It’s an initiative being run by the National Apprenticeship Service to highlight the value of Apprenticeships.

 A visit to their website http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/ makes interesting reading in that today, apparently, the words “young” and “apprentice” appear to have become synonymous. Yet the meaning of “apprentice” per se is only that of a learner of a craft who is bound to serve his teacher/employer for a period of time in return for their instruction. Age doesn’t come in to it.

As you will see from our last posting, we believe that age equality means equal opportunity for all regardless of age. Companies such as Centrica, B & Q and Sainsbury’s have extended the age range of their apprenticeship schemes to include older applicants, with the result that apprentices are now chosen from all ages – even those well into their fifties – resulting in measurable benefits for all concerned.

Businesses desperately need incentives to help them introduce and implement more age friendly policies. Extending the  new apprenticeship scheme (the Apprentice Grant for Employers – AGE ) which offers employers a £2,500 grant for each 16 or 17-year-old apprentice taken on would be a splendid way forward particularly in those areas and industries where there are jobs and/or skills shortages.  At the very least, reminding everyone involved to remove the preface “young” from “people” when talking about apprentices and apprenticeships would be a positive start.

NB:  Interestingly a 2009 report on Diversity in Apprenticeships which is listed on the National Apprenticeships Service site reviews gender, ethnicity and disability – but makes no mention of age.

3 Responses to When do apprentices become too old to learn?

  1. Meredith Roe says:

    Who are we kidding? The reason why retirement has always been sown into our working environment is because it is necessary. Once people get into their late 50’s and older it’s saying hello to limited movement, poor eyesight, hearing difficulties and senile attitutes. Anyone who ignores this pays the price. I am in my fifties and I can assure you that it is not a myth. Here’s the reason for it. WE ARE GETTING OLD. Instead of governments wasting their time on these kind of schemes they should be organising peoples’ pensions like they ought.

  2. j mariconda says:

    This is interesting !!! Everyone is different and if they have the abillity and good health to continue doing some form of good work – why not. Often older workers are more reliable, productive and Knowledgable. When iam older i hope my financial situation may be more secure and help me do something that i really want to do !!!!

  3. It was interesting in reading the blog. But the best time to do apprenticeship is in your mature age.

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