New Toolkit To Help Companies Recruit Disabled Apprentices

The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) has introduced a web-based toolkit that aims to facilitate access to apprenticeships for disabled people.ATG_wheelchair_210513 Announcing the news on its website, the Skills Funding Agency noted that the toolkit would also deliver substantial benefits for employers, helping them find skilled and dedicated employees.

The toolkit, developed on behalf of the Skills Funding Agency, demonstrates how employers can open their apprenticeship programmes to disabled candidates. This can be achieved through simple and low-cost steps, including action in areas such as recruitment and support. The project is supported by companies and organisations such as Barclays Bank, Tottenham Hotspur FC, the National Theatre, Novartis plc, Leicester City Council and Luton and Dunstable Hospital. All of these employers have experience in hiring disabled apprentices and each of them highlighted the immense contribution of these workers to their business.

Sue Husband, the newly appointed apprenticeship and service delivery director at the Skills Funding Agency, has made it one of her top priorities to promote engagement with businesses and employer groups in order to boost apprenticeship and traineeship uptake. This strategy also gives a prominent place to disabled apprentices. According to Husband, the creation of this toolkit was largely driven by the belief that employers would greatly benefit from it.

The UK currently has more than 11 million disabled people and almost six million of them are individuals of working age. When companies hire and support disabled people, they greatly boost their access to talented apprentices. As research has revealed, the average apprenticeship adds £214 per week to business productivity, the gains coming from improved profitability, lower prices and better products.

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Why An Apprenticeship Is Worth The Effort

More and more young Britons are coming to realise that a university degree is no longerATG_electrical_150414 a prerequisite for professional success. In fact, numerous studies have demonstrated that this is clearly not the case. Apprenticeships have proved themselves an excellent route to career progression and the government wants to make them the norm for school leavers who decide against academic pursuits. The problem is that access to apprenticeship information leaves a lot to be desired so many youngsters may be missing out on a great opportunity. For those still unsure how an apprenticeship can benefit them, Not Going To Uni recently presented the most important statistics on the subject.

First of all, potential apprenticeship candidates can expect fully funded training if they are aged 16 to 18. They are also entitled to a minimum hourly pay rate of £2.68 and many employers offer higher wages. According to the Apprenticeship Pay Survey, apprentices get £212 net per week on average. Moreover, an apprenticeship will add an extra £100,000 to a person’s lifetime earnings.

There are about 250 different types of apprenticeships young Britons can choose from, mastering both the theoretical and practical aspects of their chosen profession through learning on the job. Successful completion of the training programme can even open the door to a university degree without the associated debt because employers typically cover those costs. And the chances of securing a job are excellent: up to 95% of apprentices remain employed by the company that recruited them for training. This is hardly surprising since 96% of enterprises report that apprenticeships boost their business.

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DfE Doubles Early Years Apprenticeship Bursary

The Department for Education has doubled the size of its early years apprenticeshipATG_nursery_261113 bursary to £3,000, to encourage the participation of high-quality individuals.

Two hundred people taking part in early years apprenticeship programmes will benefit from the increase as well as from the availability of a further £300 for training and education. The bursaries, which were first announced in May, will be available to people in apprenticeship programmes focused on early years education, which is today’s equivalent of the nursery nurse diploma from the past. The double bursaries will be distributed among the first 200 successful applicants to the scheme.

Eligible candidates will have an apprentice position at a nursery, school nursery or children’s centre that provides early learning places for two-year-olds. Candidate should have at least GCSE grade C or above in English and mathematics. The scheme is managed by the National College for Teaching and Leadership, and is already open to applicants. Apprenticeships are expected to last an average of 20 months and involve both work and training to provide participants with recognised qualifications through various channels, including colleges for further education.

In its official statement, the DfE said that having qualified and highly skilled early years educators is the best way to avoid the emergence of a gap in educational attainment between children who are socially disadvantaged and those from wealthy backgrounds. Quality care in the early years will ensure higher standards and provide children with the best possible start in life.

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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’.

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Retail Sector Employers Invited To Express Views On Apprenticeship Reforms

Skillsmart Retail UK and the National Skills Academy for Retail (NSAR) have invited retailRetail Apprentices sector employers to a consultation event that will take place on 17 May in London. The two organisations are looking for views and suggestions on what apprenticeships in the sector should entail and how they should be delivered.

The event constitutes a response to the UK government’s request for employer feedback on how to implement recommended reforms. The changes proposed by the government followed last year’s publication of the Richard Review of apprenticeships and their future. Embracing the suggestions put forward in the report, the government will focus on placing greater control in the hands of employers and making sure that apprenticeships follow rigorous standards and reflect employers’ needs.

While Skillsmart Retail UK will seek opinions on every aspect of apprenticeship content and delivery, it is most interested in understanding what apprenticeship design would work best to meet the needs of retail sector employers. Cara Taylor, who serves as apprenticeship manager at the organisation, said that the planned reforms were likely to have a major effect on retail apprenticeships and Skillsmart Retail UK wanted to give companies the opportunity to make their voices heard. Through other work Skillsmart Retail UK is doing and through its partnership with the NSAR, the organisation aims to transform the development and delivery of apprenticeships in the sector, Taylor added.

Retail is a critical sector of the UK economy and retail apprenticeships remain on the rise. In 2012, more than 20,000 people completed apprenticeship programmes in the sector.

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Employer Event for companies seeking Apprentices

Employer Event Collage

Following on from the high profile National Apprenticeship Week, ATG Training held an employer event on 16th April.

24 employers attended with several taking the opportunity to discuss their recruitment requirements for this year. With so many high profile companies seeking to add to their workforce with new #Apprentices this year it pays to register on  to be kept informed of the latest opportunities as they arise.

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89% Of Employers See Apprenticeships As Great Investment In Future Workforce

A recent survey conducted by insight agency BDRC Continental has found that 89% of UK businesses consider apprenticeships a great investment and an excellent way to develop future workers. The poll results show that 15% of employers run an apprenticeship programme and 60% of them have given a full-time position to a former apprentice in the past year. The figure rises to 70% in the case of medium-sized businesses.

For 81% of the sample, apprenticeship schemes are also a good way to address the problem of youth unemployment. BDRC said it was encouraging news that 50% of employers currently running an apprenticeship programme were willing to recruit more apprentices provided that suitable candidates were available.

Asked about the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), 48% of companies said they knew about the existence of the government agency tasked with apprenticeship co-ordination. Small and medium-sized enterprises were found to have the highest awareness. With regard to the £1,500 grant offered by the government to apprentice recruiters, a total of 49% stated that the money provided an incentive for companies to take on trainees. Employers that currently have apprentices were found to have a stronger belief in the effect of the grant on recruitment.

When it comes to the biggest apprenticeship concerns, the list was topped by the amount of time required to train apprentices and uncertainty about their future use in the business. These issues were cited by a respective 54% and 57% of employers without an apprenticeship programme. However, such concerns were shared by less than 20% of businesses with apprentices.

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Survey Reveals Importance Of Informing Young People About Apprenticeship Option

This year’s National Apprenticeship Week is now over but the insights, recommendations and decisions that emerged during those five days will shape apprenticeship policies for years to come. Much was said about the benefits apprenticeships deliver for employers and trainees, as well as the economy in general. But it was also acknowledged that far too little information reaches young Britons, leaving them unaware of the full range of choices after graduating from school. The need to get schools and teachers more involved in spreading the word was highlighted by the findings of a survey conducted by NotGoingToUni, the website dedicated to providing career resources and advice to school and college leavers.

The poll included 1,774 university graduates who had completed their studies in the past couple of years. NotGoingToUni aimed to find out how they had come to choose university over an apprenticeship. As it turned out, there was not much of a choice since 76% said they were not informed about vocational training as an alternative.

Had this information been available, 54% of those respondents would have opted for an apprenticeship instead of taking the academic route, NotGoingToUni established. Asked why, 77% declared that it would have kept them out of debt, while 61% stated that an apprenticeship would have given them a much better standing in their current place of employment. In addition, 39% said they would not have had to deal with the same level of stress. A stark reminder of the importance of choice was the finding that 31% of the respondents now hold jobs in an industry that has nothing to do with their degree. It is not surprising, then, that 98% stood firmly behind the idea that all secondary schools, colleges and career advisers should have an obligation to make the apprenticeship alternative known to young people.


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BAE’s Apprenticeship Intake Reaches Highest Level Since 2008

Over the course of this week, hundreds of events around England will pay tribute to apprenticeships and their invaluable contribution to the economy. Employers, training providers and apprentices are coming together to celebrate the sixth annual National Apprenticeship Week, showcasing the importance and benefits of apprenticeships for all parties involved. One UK company that considers apprenticeships vital for its future is aerospace and defence giant BAE Systems, which has expanded its trainee recruitment programme this year by 60 positions, bringing the number of its UK engineering and business apprentices to 387.

This makes 2013 the biggest year for apprenticeship intake at BAE since 2008. Nearly 10% of the newly recruited trainees will undertake the five-year Higher Apprentice Programme, seizing an opportunity to combine hands-on training with free study for degree-level qualifications.

Apprentice training is at the heart of the company’s Skills 2020 programme, which reflects BAE’s commitment to securing the talent it needs to operate competitively and successfully in its home market until and beyond 2020. In the UK alone, BAE allocates about £80 million annually for educational activities, partnerships with training providers and development initiatives for its employees.

According to Nigel Whitehead, group managing director at BAE, the company’s ongoing commitment to its apprenticeship programme indicates the sustainable nature of BAE’s UK operations and the success it has achieved in shaping the future BAE workforce. The company offers its young recruits the chance to train on the job and pursue academic studies without the burden of fee-incurred debts. This combination has proved a powerful motivator for apprentices to remain part of the BAE family, Whitehead added.

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Buckinghamshire Employers Offered Apprenticeship Grants

Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF) is promoting financial incentives to support the creation of new apprentice roles.

The business group said on its website that three different grants are currently available to employers in the county. These incentives contribute towards the salary costs of new apprentices.

The AGE 16-24 apprenticeship grant, a national scheme, offers up to £1,500 per apprentice and is available to employers with up to 1,000 employees who are taking on their first apprentice aged between 16 and 24 years old, or those who have not been in a position within the last 12 months to commit to employing an additional apprentice. Up to ten of these grants can be claimed.

On a more local level, the Buckinghamshire 2013 Apprenticeship Grant offers £1,500 per apprentice to Buckinghamshire employers of the same size, up to 1,000 employees, when recruiting a new apprentice aged 16 to 18 who is a Buckinghamshire resident. Up to five grants can be claimed and the big advantage of this scheme is that the grants can be claimed in combination with the AGE 16-24 apprenticeship grant, so employers can receive up to £3,000 per apprentice. Moreover, an additional grant of £1,000 per apprentice is available for those taking on a young person from a priority group. This includes young people who have been out of education or employment for at least six months, people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities up to the age of 24, young parents, young people who are in or leaving care and young offenders.

Last, but by no means least, the Youth Contract wage incentive offers up to £2,275 to employers taking on someone aged 18 to 24 who has been in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance for six months or more, or is part of the government’s Work Programme, in a job lasting at least 26 weeks.

BBF noted that these grants are in addition to the existing funding which is available to train apprentices. This varies depending on the business sector and the age of the candidate but can be up to 100% of the cost of the training.

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