An apprenticeship is more than just learning a craft skill along with academic classroom work as ten apprentices at KMF found out when they 'played' the stock market.
As part of their technical certificate trainees have to have an understanding of how external factors such as the current global financial crisis can influence the business that employs them.
Subjects covered include market forces, the global marketplace, advances in technology, environmental matters, skills requirements and product demand.
"It is important that apprentices learn more than just the core competencies, we want them to have active roles in the development of KMF once they have completed their apprenticeships and to be aware that we cannot control everything to do with our business. However, if they are aware of these outside factors they are more able to react to them when the need arises," said Managing Director Gareth Higgins.
Therefore the challenge set for these ten young people was to take on the stock market by investing an imaginary £2,000 each in five companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, picking one from each of the following sectors: Engineering; Banking; Leisure; Retail; and Telecoms. Each apprentice had to research the businesses they were going to invest in and then had a five-week period in which to monitor their performance and, hopefully, return a profit.
The incentive was a £50 cash prize for the apprentice that showed the biggest increase in the initial investment, and with nine of the ten showing a profit over the five weeks that the competition ran it was a close run thing.
The eventual winner was Joe Ward who gained an impressive £648.21 a 32.5% return on his investment, with Matt Hayes hot on his heels with a £634.05 profit.
"These types of lessons are invaluable in teaching skills other than those that would be expected from an apprenticeship," commented Jenny Conlon, KMF's Training Centre Manager.
"It highlights to the apprentices that they are not cocooned from the wider economy anymore, as they were when at school, and it develops an awareness of how businesses function as part of the broader economy."