Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular with both employers and employees.
They have moved away from the tired 1980s cliché of a bored teenager in ill-fitting overalls and been embraced by global brands such as luxury car manufacturers, banks and financial services giants.
It is with this in mind that the 'Ladder' initiative was born, hoping to create thousands of new apprenticeship roles across the West Midlands.
So, if you have been wondering what an apprenticeship is and whether it is right for you, then read on.
What are apprenticeships?
Designed by employers for employers, an apprenticeship is a work-based learning programme which ensures your employees have the skills they need to carry out their jobs.
As well as providing an opportunity to develop existing staff members, apprenticeships are a great way to grow new talent.
The Ladder programme is available to more people than you might think - from senior managers to support staff.
There is no upper age limit and applicants do not have to have left education recently.
Following recent changes to funding rules, even graduates could be eligible to complete an apprenticeship.
What are the benefits?
Employers say the main benefit is that apprentices develop skills relevant to their own organisation alongside improved staff morale, better product and service quality and increased productivity.
For the apprentices, they receive relevant training and learn job-specific skills along with opportunities to progress to higher-level apprenticeships and qualifications.
They can also learn while they earn and avoid expensive university tuition fees.
Figures from Apprenticeship Evaluation Employer and Learner Surveys 2017 said more than 90 per cent of staff stay in employment after they complete their apprenticeship.
One third of apprentices are promoted following completion of their apprenticeship and half receive a pay rise.
What will an apprenticeship involve?
An apprenticeship will include a combination of on-the-job training and traditional learning in the classroom.
Apprenticeships must last at least 12 months and 20 per cent of the apprentice's time at work must be spent on off-the-job training which can be in the workplace but away from their usual duties.
Apprentices should work at least 30 hours a week although it is possible to have a shorter working week as long as the length of the apprenticeship is extended appropriately.
What do the qualification levels mean?
Level 2 - equivalent to five GCSEs A*-C
Level 3 - equivalent to two A-levels
Level 4 - equivalent to Higher National Certificate
Level 5 - equivalent to Higher National Diploma, Foundation degree
Level 6 - equivalent to a degree
Level 7 - equivalent to a masters
For more information about Ladder for Greater Birmingham and to get involved visit www.ladderforbirmingham.co.uk or call 03332 409 699.