We have employed many youngsters straight from school, mainly as labourers or as a summer job fill in, but never gone down the apprenticeship route.
What we have given them at the least, is the ability to get up in the morning, get to work on time, a good work ethic, a few blisters and some good laughs*! Most went on to do other things but none have been out of work for any length of time since.
*I asked one 17 year old to be unloading the pallet of 40 shrink wrapped paving slabs while I set up in the back garden. After a couple of minutes he came round and said he couldnt do the job because he couldnt lift the slabs. When we went to the truck I said, 'but you havent even taken the shrink wrap off yet to try and lift a slab'. You could see the cogs whirring and the light dawned............."ahh, you didnt mean all at once then". He is now a very well respected doctor!