UK Government Earmarks £30m To Boost Engineering Skills And Jobs

The UK government will invest £30 million in the country’s engineering sector, Matthew ATG_engineer_190614Hancock, Skills and Enterprise Minister, has just announced. The money will go towards increasing the supply of engineers, inspiring women to join the sector and eliminating skills shortages in small engineering businesses.

One third of the overall sum will be allocated to the “Developing Women Engineers” initiative. Another £10 million will be invested in “Improving Engineering Careers” and the remaining £10 million will be used to help small businesses to cultivate the talents they need.

Engineering skills are essential for the UK economy, in the words of Hancock. In order to stay competitive on a global level the UK will need a good supply of skilled engineers. The minister believes that by investing in the workforce and by encouraging women to join engineering, the industry will be able to unleash its full potential.

The initiatives are supported by more than 170 major organisations from business, education and the third sector. The investment is expected to create around 2,000 job opportunities. The aim is to ensure diversity in the workforce and attract additional talent for jobs related to science, technology, engineering and maths.

Nicky Morgan, Minister for Women, said she was pleased with the £10 million “Developing Women Engineers” project. Morgan thinks that beliefs about engineering being a man’s job belong in the past. Without women, the size of the talent pool available to engineering companies is drastically reduced, she said.

Skills shortages are a major problem that challenges many companies within the engineering sector, according to manufacturing organisation EEF’s chief executive Terry Scuoler. Companies are doing their best to develop their current and future employees and this investment will encourage them to adopt innovative solutions which will provide them with the skills and talents required, according to Scuoler.

 

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Skills Minister Reiterates Significance Of Apprenticeship System Reforms

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock used a speech this week to once again emphasise theATG_hancock_060614 importance of apprenticeship reforms. Addressing the audience at the annual conference of the Association of Education Learning Providers (AELP), Hancock pointed out that training quality would benefit from giving employers control over apprenticeship design and funding.

Young people are increasingly coming to see apprenticeships as a viable path to professional success, the minister said. He added that this was the right time for reform of the apprenticeship system to help the UK sustain its economic growth in the future.

As part of the reforms, the government has set up the so-called Trailblazer groups. These employer groups will participate in trials of the funding reforms in 2014 and 2015. Under the new provisions, businesses will get £2 from the government for every £1 they have invested in apprentice training. There will be a limit to the state-provided funds, which will be determined by the nature of the apprenticeship.

The minister commented that the goal is to make apprenticeships the “first choice” for big and small companies alike. By demonstrating its commitment to the reforms, the government is hoping that more companies will be convinced to embrace apprenticeships.

The reform package also includes additional incentives to encourage apprenticeship completion, uptake by small enterprises and enrolment by young people aged 16 to 18. According to Hancock, this simple and fair system will put employers in control of training initiatives in the future.

Vocational qualifications are a great way for youngsters to obtain essential skills. Gaining experience will allow apprentices to realise their full potential and help their employers in the process. High-quality apprenticeships are therefore essential both for learners and employers and the government is counting on the support of the business community to ensure that quality, Hancock said.

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How To Succeed In Your Apprenticeship Interview

Apprenticeships are steadily growing in popularity and number. School and college ATG_interview_270514leavers are keen on obtaining additional experience through practical work rather than academic study and making an early start on building their career.

The huge flow of candidates and the intense competition among them can make it difficult to grab the opportunity you want, especially when it comes to specialised industries like engineering. This means that apprenticeship candidates must invest a lot of effort in making a good impression at their interview by demonstrating both knowledge and motivation. Are you concerned that you have little experience when it comes to the process of recruitment? Apprentice Eye editor Rebecca Hoursley has put forward some useful tips on how to make an outstanding first impression when encountering the real business world.

Since you are likely to have limited or no work experience, it is essential that you present your transferable skills, Hoursley says. These might include attention to detail, time management, coordination of events or knowledge of certain software products. Some of these universal abilities can be particularly important to a specific job and their presentation is of key importance.

Another tip is to research the business and industry beforehand. Being acquainted with the company’s history and core business is essential and makes a good impression on interviewers. It is also a good idea to familiarise yourself with specific business processes or company projects that interest you and might be part of your future job.

Furthermore, you need to be clear about the job specification and understand the role well. It is worth asking additional questions even before the interview so that your presentation is focused and related to the everyday tasks of the apprenticeship. It is also good to ask questions after the interview. Those might have to do with the potential for personal growth within the company, which would imply long-term interest and determination.

 

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Middle Ages To Modern Days: Apprenticeships Have Endured For Good Reason

Industries like engineering and IT have repeatedly raised the alarm on skill shortages, ATG_apprentice_200514which has further stoked efforts to revitalise the apprenticeship system. Given the attention they have received in the past few years, apprenticeships may appear to some people to be a modern invention but the truth is that they have been around since the Middle Ages. This goes to show that the importance of vocational training was acknowledged centuries ago and the practice has endured because of its benefits for both parties. The Daily Gazette has combed through the latest research results to compile a list of what makes apprenticeships so important.

From an employer’s perspective, there are several major benefits. According to 96% of companies with apprenticeship programmes, having trainees on the team boosts morale, improves retention rates and brings new ideas. Moreover, 72% of employers report that apprenticeships help increase productivity. For the UK economy as a whole, apprenticeship completions are expected to deliver productivity gains amounting to £3.4 billion within a decade.

But there would not be such a keen interest on the part of young people if apprenticeships did not benefit them as well. The most important advantage they get is employability: 86% of apprentices secure a job after completing their training, with 67% getting a permanent position at the company that has trained them. There is also the benefit of earning good money while learning the tricks of the trade: many employers pay their apprentices more than the required minimum (currently £2.68 an hour). And with more companies waking up to the importance of on-the-job training, young people can now embark on a career in virtually any sector: their choice encompasses over 250 different types of apprenticeships.

 

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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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MP Highlights Importance Of Apprenticeship Investment

The high level of youth unemployment has firmly focused attention on apprenticeshipsATG_SarahChampion_180314 as a critical means of addressing the problem. The benefits of vocational training for both young people and employers was highlighted during National Apprenticeship Week 2014, which ran from 3-7 March. But this celebration of apprenticeships and their contribution to the national economy also provided another opportunity to identify areas where more work needs to be done, Sarah Champion MP writes in a post on the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) blog.

At present the number of NEETs tops one million. In other words, that many young Britons are not in education, employment or training. Apprenticeships have proved a highly viable option for these young people, giving them the opportunity to gain practical skills and work experience and thus pave their way to a rewarding career. This also works to the advantage of employers as they benefit from the enthusiasm and fresh perspective of their young recruits.

However, the fact remains that the government still has its work cut out when it comes to meeting apprenticeship demand, Champion points out. While more apprentice positions are created every year, the number of applications far exceeds that of apprenticeship vacancies. Think tank research has shown there are only 11 apprentice positions for every 1,000 jobs in England. If the UK is to achieve sustained economic growth in the long term, the government must invest seriously in the country’s future talent base and do so without delay. For that reason, Champion supports the BCC call for a focus on youth skills and training in the forthcoming Budget. The organisation has urged Chancellor George Osborne to put apprenticeship investment among his priorities and Champion believes this is the proper course of action to ensure the future prosperity of the UK economy.

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NAW 2014 Concludes With Promise Of 20,000+ New Apprentice Positions

National Apprenticeship Week 2014 was a welcome reminder of the tremendous ATG_NAW2014_110314importance of vocational training to businesses, individuals and the economy as a whole. It also highlighted the growing popularity of apprenticeships among companies of all sizes, with employers pledging to create over 20,000 new positions for young people interested in learning on the job and earning money at the same time.

Hundreds of UK firms took the opportunity to unveil plans for apprentice recruitment. Some big companies have committed to creating thousands of new apprentice positions: Lloyds Banking Group, for example, pledged to recruit 5,000 apprentices, while Greene King and Whitbread each announced plans to create 2,000 positions. Other big enterprises making a commitment to apprenticeships included Mitchells & Butlers, Starbucks, EE, Virgin Media and BT. Perhaps even more encouraging is the fact that small and medium-sized enterprises are embracing apprenticeships: 47% of the businesses intent on recruiting apprentices are within that sector.

Commenting on the positive news, Business Secretary Vince Cable said that the government was steadily obliterating the “damaging divide” between vocational training and academic learning. Support for apprenticeships has become a top government priority and two million apprenticeships are set to be created over the course of this parliament.

Cable went on to add that the huge success of National Apprenticeship Week 2014 had confirmed the growing importance of apprenticeships for UK business. It is estimated that apprentices are already making a £1.8 billion contribution to the national economy and the new employer commitments will allow thousands of young Britons to benefit from the career opportunities created by vocational training and help UK companies grow in the process, Cable concluded.

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NAW 2014 Starts On Monday

Over the course of next week the UK will be celebrating apprenticeships and their ATG_NAW2014_270214immense contribution to companies, individuals and the overall economy. National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) will run between 3rd and 7th March and will recognise the best among apprentices and employers, at the same time seeking to raise awareness about the importance and benefits of apprenticeships.

This will be seventh year of NAW and the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) aims to achieve several things through a host of events. One objective is to raise awareness about apprenticeships and promote demand for them. And since inspiration often comes from great role models, the NAW will highlight the achievements of apprentices and employers through its annual awards. They will draw attention to the talent and skills of apprentices and their contribution to company successes. The NAS also aims to promote all levels of apprenticeships, including traineeships.

NAW 2014 will run under the theme “Great Apprenticeships.” As the NAS points out, apprentices help build “Great Businesses”, while apprenticeships create “Great Prospects.” This year’s theme reflects a desire to demonstrate that apprenticeships benefit both employers and their young trainees, opening up opportunities for business growth and career advancement.

Support from the media is particularly important for spreading the apprenticeship message. Wide media coverage will make it possible to reach more businesses and students and educate them about the benefits of apprenticeships. In addition, it will help get the word to teachers and parents, whose support is of tremendous importance for young people when they make decisions about their future.

Thames Valley based ATG Training has supported National Apprenticeship Week since its inception and next week will be at events in Oxford, Banbury, Northampton and Witney, to provide appropriate support and guidance to employers and students.

Look out for the hash tag #NAW2014 on social media platforms for news as it happens.

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Go For It: An Apprentice On Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are finally getting the attention they deserve but the road aheadATG_chalkboard_250214 remains littered with obstacles. Through research reports and expert analyses, we are constantly reminded how important apprenticeships are for ensuring the UK’s talent supply and how they benefit all parties involved. However, the best source of information is apprentices themselves and the companies that employ them. For its Apprentice Of The Week series, the Huffington Post met recently with a young woman in training and got to hear her thoughts on the biggest myths surrounding apprenticeships and her advice for school leavers, among other things.

Georgia Cosma is doing an NVQ Level 4 apprenticeship in project management at Neopost. Talking about some of the persistent myths clinging to apprenticeships, she pointed out that many people remained unaware of how greatly opportunities have expanded. Nowadays, vocational training is no longer confined to manual specialities such as carpentry and building. Young people can now start with an apprenticeship to build fantastic careers in virtually every industry. There is also a widespread misconception about apprentice pay. While the nationally applicable minimum is quite low, it is very rare for employers to pay their apprentices that amount. Most would start an apprentice on the pay scheme for new employees and some actually pay more because they are putting apprentices through graduate programmes.

Georgia is a keen advocate of apprenticeships and advises young people to “go for it.” Some may still be struggling to work out what they want to do and will therefore be at a loss where to start. According to Georgia, business administration or customer service would be a good idea in such cases. An apprenticeship in one of these areas will give trainees a good grasp of all business basics and guide their choice going forward, she said.

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Milton Keynes MP Calls For Greater Emphasis On Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships offer young people the opportunity to make a strong start to theirATG_apprentice_200214 career and vocational qualifications should be given greater emphasis, according to Milton Keynes MP Iain Stewart. For quite a while now, it has been clear that university is not the right choice for all school leavers and they should be provided with information about all the alternatives out there, Stewart said.

The local MP made his comments after touring the Milton Keynes-based National Learning Centre of Volkswagen Group, Business MK reported. The establishment serves as a training base for more than 740 apprentices and prepares VW workers from all over the country. During his visit, Stewart talked to apprentices enrolled in the Advanced Apprenticeship Programme. He was told that 90% on average complete the programme and nearly every successful apprentice gets a job offer from the company.

Stewart said that VW’s apprenticeship programme was an example of what vocational training can offer. Motivated and ambitious young people have too long been led to believe that their only choice is university if they want professional recognition. This is obviously not the case, so young Britons should be familiar with the alternatives. Stewart expressed hope that the promotion of apprenticeships would be given greater focus in the years ahead.

David Sterling, who is in charge of learning services at the VW centre, said that the facility trained more than 20,000 retail staff members every year, apprentices included. The comments made by Stewart come as very welcome recognition for the work done at the centre and the achievements of the apprentices, Sterling added.

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