Revised Guidance On Career Advice In Schools Still Leaves Some Concerns

As vocational training garners more and more attention, so does the role of schools as ATG_career_060514key providers of career advice. It is essential that young people receive sufficient information about all their options because it has become clear that academic learning is definitely not the only route to professional success. Last month, the UK government amended its guidance on the provision of career advice in schools, calling for “fair and balanced information” on all options for young people. The move has been welcomed by the Edge Foundation although the education charity believes that the recommendations listed in the government document should have been made requirements.

In an article for FE News, Edge CEO Jan Hodges said the organisation was also pleased with the attention given to employers, more specifically the importance of getting them involved in the provision of career advice and guidance. Research carried out by the Education and Employers Taskforce has revealed that young people derive significant benefits and improve their career prospects through initiatives like careers talks, visits to business premises and work experience.

But there are certain aspects of the revised guidance Edge is not happy with. According to its policy and research director David Harbourne, the government has still left schools with too much discretion in the matter of career advice. As Harbourne notes, the “shoulds” in the new guidance far outstrip the “musts” and this could only perpetuate existing practices. Earlier in 2014, an Edge survey revealed that only one-third of students opting for vocational training felt their school stood behind their choice. Furthermore, nearly 25% were told that vocational education was not for them because they were “too clever.” Unless the government enforces the new guidance and turns the recommendations into requirements, too many schools will adhere to old practices, promoting academic pursuits at the expense of vocational qualifications, Hodges said.


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Level Of Apprenticeship Awareness Very Worrying, ECA Says

The UK government is convinced that apprenticeships will help the country build a ATG_career-choice_130214robust skills base and ensure its future prosperity. Employers that run apprenticeship schemes have also come to realise the benefits of training young people on the job. Apprentices themselves are full of praise for the experience and the career opportunities it opens up. But for all the accolades and government support, an alarming proportion of young people remain ignorant about this career path, with teachers and parents doing little to help youngsters make informed choices, according to the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA).

The organisation made these comments after the publication of data revealing very low awareness of apprenticeships among young people. Research by the Association of Colleges has established that only 17% of boys and 12% of girls consider apprenticeships as a career option. And according to a One Poll survey, only 25% of apprentices have chosen that road with support from their parents, while only a third have received such support from their school.

ECA skills ambassador Diane Johnson said the statistics painted a worrying picture but not really a surprising one. For decades on end, school leavers have been pushed to consider an academic degree their only route to professional success. The government has been changing that but the contribution from teachers and parents remains very small. Young people need to receive all the information necessary to choose the right path for them and this cannot be achieved unless the public realises the value of apprenticeships, especially in traditional craft industries, Johnson added.


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Nordson DAGE Apprentice displays exceptional potential

As the global demand for electronic products continues to grow, so to do opportunities

Pictured next to a Diamond X-Ray machine manufactured in Aylesbury:   Neil Pearce, Marc Innes, Ian Harper, Samantha Booth

Pictured next to a Diamond X-Ray machine manufactured in Aylesbury:
Neil Pearce, Marc Innes, Ian Harper, Samantha Booth

for Aylesbury-based firm Nordson DAGE, the market leading provider of award winning test and Inspection systems for destructive and non-destructive mechanical testing and inspection of electronic components. Nordson DAGE is a division of Nordson Corporation (NASDAQ: NDSN).
The Company has expanded its facilities in the UK to better serve its international blue-chip clients, who continue to demand the firm’s high technology products manufactured in Aylesbury and exported around the globe.
With a well developed Apprenticeship scheme, the company has been in a position to offer Apprenticeship places to local young people. Recently Marc Innes joined the organisation in a production capacity having been recognised as a young engineer with exceptional potential.
Marc recently finished his initial Apprenticeship training with ATG Training in Aylesbury in December, and having impressed his training officers, he won an award for his work. This was recognised with a presentation at the offices of Nordson DAGE when Chief Executive of ATG Training – Ian Harper, presented the award to Marc alongside his Production Team Leader – Neil Pearce and HR Generalist – Samantha Booth.
Marc is an ambitious young man and is already manufacturing products under supervision for blue chip international clients. He is already thinking ahead and is considering studying an HNC once the first year of his Apprenticeship training programme is complete.
“I strongly support the Apprenticeship programme here at Nordson DAGE.  The depth of engineering, technology, manufacturing and other experience will hopefully provide Marc with a solid platform for his career.”  Phil Vere, President of Nordson DAGE

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EIS-Axon recruit a new Apprentice

The recent positive signs of economic growth are being demonstrated by Cressex based firm EIS-Axon. The firm has moved to larger premises in Stirling Road as a result of a healthy order book with national blue-chip clients generating demand for the electrical engineering control solution products manufactured in High Wycombe. This demand has led to Directors Paul Kelley & Ken Clarke employing a new Apprentice – Harry Weald. Harry recently finished initial Apprenticeship training with ATG Training in Aylesbury in December, and having impressed his training officers, he won an award for his work. This was recognised with a presentation at the offices of EIS-Axon when Chief Executive of ATG Training – Ian Harper presented the award to Harry in front of the assembled workforce. Harry is an ambitious young man and is already manufacturing products under supervision for the new Nestle plant in Tutbury near Burton on Trent. He is already thinking ahead to study for an HNC once he has the first year of his Apprenticeship training programme is complete.

Harry Weald - Apprentice

Harry Weald receiving his Apprentice Award from Ian Harper

Pictured: Ian Harper CEO ATG Training – left, presenting Apprentice Award to Harry Weald EIS-Axon

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Apprenticeships Open The Door To Boardroom For Ambitious Youngsters

Apprentices are not only a means for employers to prevent future skills gaps in theirATG_boardroom_241213 workforce. Young people who start their career journey with an apprenticeship have a good chance of securing management positions at the company training them. What is more, former apprentices can go as high as the boardroom, with 20% of employers found to have a former apprentice currently holding a board-level position.

Research undertaken to coincide with the third annual City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list provides further proof of the value employers place on apprentices and their commitment to offering former trainees the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder. According to the findings, 33% of participating employers have former apprentices in various management positions.

A separate survey among companies making it into the list further highlights the value of apprenticeships and the opportunities open to young people choosing that path. An impressive 89% of respondents said that they would take the apprenticeship route if they were embarking on their career journey now. It also emerged that the average employer had former apprentices occupying 30% of senior management positions.

How long does it take for an apprentice to rise through the ranks and secure a management role? According to 51% of employers, trainees are looking at an average of five years before reaching such a position, while 33% specified the same length of time for non-apprentices.

When former apprentices are promoted to management positions, they bring various skills to the job and the highest rated among them is knowledge of the business, which was listed by 98% of interviewees. The top three skills list is completed by job experience (95%) and industry specific skills (93%).


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Rolls Royce Launches Apprenticeship Programme 2014

With a host of Apprenticeships currently available in the Thames Valley, applications are sought for the roles available on

An example of the interesting opportunities companies offer is Rolls-Royce Motor Cars who are looking for apprentices, with the successful applicants set to start in August 2014, the company announced this week.

The Apprenticeship Programme will select young people who will join forces with the company’s teams in various roles, including assembly, engineering, paint, wood and leather, Rolls-Royce said.

This will be the seventh consecutive year of the company’s Apprenticeship Programme. It is open to people aged between 16 and 24 and provides applicants with the chance to be trained at a leading engineering company and to experience luxury car manufacturing processes first-hand. The programme has been developed in collaboration with the Learning Skills Council and several colleges.

Those that are approved for the apprenticeship will go through a training scheme lasting up to four years, while at the same time studying for nationally recognised qualifications, the company explained. Recently the programme was extended to cover business areas, and the first business apprentices were selected this year.

The recruitment process has been designed to ensure that only the best applicants are chosen. Those that successfully complete the apprenticeship will be given the opportunity to stay with the company and continue to advance in their professional paths.

Young people who want to take part in Rolls-Royce’s Apprenticeship Programme can apply online on the company website.


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Thames Valley Berkshire Gets £2.4m To Combat Youth Unemployment

The fight against youth unemployment in the Thames Valley has received a major boost in the form of £2.4 million for investment in related initiatives. The money will come from the Youth Contract programme and will support councils and businesses in Reading, West Berkshire,ATG_NickClegg_051113 Wokingham, Bracknell, Slough and Windsor & Maidenhead to get more young people into work, as well as provide them with tailored training opportunities.

This is the latest City Deal to get the go-ahead from the government and its signing is of tremendous importance for young people and employers in the Thames Valley Berkshire area. As announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the deal will support initiatives to prepare 16- to 24-year-olds in the region for the world of work. Over the next three years, 4,500 local youngsters are expected to benefit from the deal.

Support will be provided through the creation of 1,500 new work experience placements and an additional 300 apprenticeships. Eligible businesses across the area will benefit from 800 new Youth Contract Wage Incentives. The deal terms stipulate that the employment and skills opportunities need to clearly reflect the needs of local youngsters to help them secure jobs. The £2.4 million provided by the government will be matched by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, which will count on local businesses to secure private sector investment.

Clegg said that City Deals were all about solving local problems through local solutions by adopting innovative approaches. Tackling youth unemployment is at the heart of these deals and the latest one will benefit all stakeholders in Thames Valley Berkshire. Providing local young people with valuable skills will also help businesses in the area, allowing them to grow and contribute to local prosperity, Clegg added.

Welcoming the investment Stephen Smyth, spokesman for ATG Training reminded local employers that other financial support is also available to them through Government initiatives.  There is a grant of £1,500 for employers that take on new Apprentices, which apply to as many as 10 (£15,000). In addition there is support available from the European Social Fund.

More information is available on the available financial support on 0845 873 8440 or


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Cameron Hails “New Era” For Apprenticeships

With the support of more than 60 major companies, the UK government is ushering in a “newATG_DowningSt_311013 era” for apprenticeships, Prime Minister David Cameron said this week during a meeting with over 500 young people. In addition to reforms that will ensure the highest possible quality of apprenticeship programmes, the country’s leading companies have committed to providing thousands of new vocational training schemes. The aim is to create 100,000 work training opportunities within two years, greatly advancing efforts to tackle youth unemployment.

The apprenticeship reforms, spurred by the Richard Review of the existing system, are designed to make vocational training a worthy rival to higher and further education through accentuating academic rigour, Cameron said. In the future, the minimum length of an apprenticeship will be one year. Going forward, employers will have the main say, with apprenticeship standards based on their specific skill needs. The new system will also be greatly simplified, meaning that the new standards will describe the skills and knowledge required by an occupation concisely and in simple language.

In order to ensure the highest quality, the new apprenticeship system will involve strict independent assessment of apprentices, as well as a more rigorous academic assessment through stricter requirements for maths and English results. This will serve to evaluate the competence of a candidate. In addition, apprentices will get a pass, merit or distinction grade, which will align the system with that of full-time education.

According to Cameron, the new apprenticeship system should start operating at the end of next year. The objective is to have the new standards applying to all new apprentices from 2017, the PM added.

Welcoming the change spokesman Stephen Smyth said: ‘Having been providing rigorous Engineering Apprenticeships since 1967, ATG Training have always had a minimum duration of 1 year, most however last 3 years and culminate in HNC or HND level qualification. ATG Training are therefore well placed to serve the ‘new era for Apprenticeships’.

0845 873 8440

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Faringdon Youngsters Bet On Apprenticeships To Realise Engineering Dream

UK employers and industry organisations use every opportunity to sound the alarm over theATG_design1_301013 impending shortage of engineering skills. The government is hoping that apprenticeships will provide a solution to the problem and numerous efforts are being made to raise their profile among young Britons. Sometimes youngsters do not need any help to realise that the best route to their desired profession is an apprenticeship. This is the case with two 18-year-olds in Faringdon, Oxfordshire, who have opted for vocational training over university in pursuit of their engineering dreams, the Oxford Times has reported.

The two youngsters are Patrick Andrews and Jake Thompson, who have begun their apprenticeships at engineering and building consultancy QODA Consulting. Jake has previously worked on assorted Tower of London projects, while Patrick has contributed to plans for a Gloucestershire biomass energy centre.

Commenting on his decision, Jake said that an apprenticeship offered him the opportunity to get hands-on experience in the field he had chosen. Jake noted that engineering had always held an attraction for him but since school-based learning had never been his thing, vocational training provided him with the perfect solution. He also said that a university course would have given him far less knowledge than his training on the job.

ATG_design2_301013Patrick listed several reasons that had made him choose an apprenticeship over university. The training he receives will pave the way for a sponsored degree but that is only one of the advantages. The young man noted that he was secure in the knowledge that he had a paid job and would end up with practical experience that a university degree could not bestow.

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