Almost half of employees want to retrain or gain a new qualification in the hope they can get a higher paying job, according to research from Virgin Media O2.
A survey by the company found that one in five workers feel they are not paid enough in their current role to cope with the cost of living, and feel retraining would help them earn more money and have better job stability.
However, just under a quarter (23%) said the cost of training would put them off, and 28% said they did not have the time to retrain.
In the run-up to National Apprenticeship Week next week (6-12 February), Virgin Media O2 found that 47% of respondents thought apprenticeships only created temporary roles. Forty-six per cent thought they were primarily aimed at young people.
Despite this, 88% of people thought the schemes were a great way to learn new skills and get paid at the same time, and 82% felt they provided skills not available through academic study.
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The level of pay for apprentices is an issue though: seven in 10 felt that apprentices are poorly paid, while 60% worried an apprenticeship would not offer guaranteed job security.
Virgin Media O2, which has already created more than 2,400 apprenticeships since 2008, said it would open up “a wide range of apprenticeship roles” across the business this year, with starting salaries well above the UK average at between £19,000 and £30,000.
All roles will be offered on a permanent basis, and there is no upper age limit for applications. Forty-five per cent of its current apprentices are over 25 years old, it said. The schemes will cover roles such as radio planning and delivery (helping to roll out the 5G mobile network), technical access design and access transmission delivery, which will support business customers with connectivity.
Karen Handley, head of future careers at the company, said the research hinted at a “retrain revolution”.
“A retrain revolution is sweeping the UK in these tough times as millions of people across the country worry about their finances and are looking at how they can learn more to earn more and have greater job security but, at the same time, are concerned that training will take too much time or money,” she said.
“That’s why we’re proud to be creating hundreds of new apprenticeships at Virgin Media O2 this year with great salaries, offering fantastic opportunities for people to learn new skills – from building our gigabit broadband network to project management – with a guaranteed job at the end.”