NIACE Chief Calls For Stakeholder Cooperation To Support Apprentices

When it comes to apprenticeships, everyone is in agreement: the government, employers,ATG_warehouse_031013training providers and learners are convinced that apprenticeships deliver benefits for all stakeholders. While they are all keen on promoting apprenticeships, they must deepen their cooperation to achieve an even more important goal, according to David Hughes. The CEO of the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) has called for a wider agreement to ensure that apprentices get support to acquire skills that will serve them not only in their present job but throughout their careers.

Hughes was among the members of an FE Week panel at a Labour Party conference fringe event discussing the future of apprenticeships. The event took place last week just as the Labour Party Skills Task Force released a report titled “A revolution in apprenticeships: a something-for-something deal with employers.” Hughes outlined his views in an article for the FE Week website, publishing his piece the day after the discussion.

One of the key points he made was the need for a wider definition of apprenticeships so that it can better describe the quality of the training experience and the outcomes. This definition should take into consideration input from apprentices, employers and training organisations and all of them need to be in agreement. Hughes said it was his greatest desire to see the creation of a Quality Charter that would reflect the apprentice perspective and would be developed together with apprentices. This would provide a guarantee that trainees will have the necessary skills to build lasting, rewarding careers.

Hughes added that it was extremely important to make apprenticeships available to every person, without regard for their age or occupation. He also urged employers to provide more training opportunities to black people and ethnic minorities and individuals with a disability or learning difficulties.

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Upcoming Campaign Aims To Raise Profile Of Engineering Among Young People

ATG Training – the training provider steeped in the Engineering sector - identifed that the UKATG_youngengineer_011013 will find it extremely difficult to compete on a global scale unless it develops a solid base of engineering talent. In order to achieve this, the country needs to educate young people about the exciting career opportunities awaiting them in the engineering sector according to spokesman Stephen Smyth.

Realising the importance of spreading the message, the government and industry representatives are pushing that agenda forward with Tomorrow’s Engineers Week.

EngineeringUK, one of the industry bodies sponsoring the campaign, estimates that the engineering sector will need to fill 2.74 million positions by the end of the decade. But this will not be possible unless more school children, especially girls, are persuaded to pursue a career in engineering. There are too few at present going for degrees or apprenticeships leading to such careers, EngineeringUK said.

Tomorrow’s Engineers Week will run from 4 November to 8 November, setting itself the task of altering perceptions not only among young people but also parents and teachers. The government is involved through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which has been joined by leading engineering companies, industry organisations and the best and brightest among the UK’s young engineers. Their primary objective is to reverse antiquated negative perceptions, with a special focus on promoting engineering careers among women. The organisers will also seek to demonstrate that engineering plays an important part in the daily life of young people.

A lot of the activities planned have been designed with that objective in mind. Young engineering ambassadors will demonstrate the wide range of job opportunities available, while round tables and discussions will highlight the need for developing future talent and attracting more young people to the sector.

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71% Of Employers Have Yet To Join The Apprenticeship Push

Stephen Smyth, spokesman for ATG Training, the provider that trains Apprentices noted thatATG_apprentice_240913 numerous studies have made it clear that apprenticeships deliver massive benefits both for employers and their young trainees. Given the importance of apprenticeships for building the UK’s future talent base and tackling the problem of youth unemployment, the government has made it a priority to promote vocational training. But it needs to offer employers more support and bring its initiatives to a much wider corporate audience, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). The recruitment industry association was prompted to make this statement after its latest JobsOutlook survey established that 71% of employers have yet to make apprenticeships part of their talent strategy.

Among the 600 employers participating in the survey, 200 were asked whether they offered apprenticeships. Interestingly, 3% did not know the answer to that question but more important is the fact that only 26% said they ran apprenticeship programmes.

Commenting on the findings, REC chief executive Kevin Green stated that UK companies still had much work to do with regard to apprenticeships. The employers that have yet to embrace this practice should give their recruitment strategy serious consideration because they will find it difficult to meet their talent needs otherwise, both at present and in the future.

Green went on to add that the REC was keenly aware of how important it was to engage young people and help employers attract talented staff. But it is also very important that the government provide more support to apprentice recruiters, as well as ensure that information about various schemes reaches as many employers as possible. Previous research by the REC found that only 18% of employers were aware of and would use the Youth Contract scheme, Green noted.

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Overcoming The Challenges Faced By Non-Traditional Apprentice Recruiters

Not that long ago, apprenticeships were mainly associated with the manufacturing sector.ATG_businessrecruit_190913 However, this is rapidly changing as more young people and employers become aware of the benefits that training on the job can deliver. Apprenticeships are being embraced by a growing number of business sectors and a wide variety of professions can now be entered through this route. But in sectors where the concept is still relatively new, managers encounter additional challenges when it comes to the selection, training and development of their apprentices, according to an article on the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) website.

Among the sectors relatively new to apprentice recruitment are finance, health and the creative sector. Four executives from these sectors shared their thoughts and experience with Alison Coleman, the author of the ILM article. According to Mike Thompson, head of Barclays RBB’s employability programmes, apprentices in this industry need to be managed differently from other recruits. They need to go through a transitional period during which they learn things such as workplace etiquette, dress code and timekeeping. Apprentice selection also calls for a different approach and Barclays has tweaked its interview process to make sure that it secures the right candidates.

Commenting on behalf of health recruiters was Tony Moss, managing director of healthcare staffing agency Your World Recruitment. He noted that the pre-assessment stage was perhaps the most important one. In the health sector it is crucial to have apprentices with a passion for the job and a true understanding of the environment.

Stephen Smyth, spokesman for ATG Training noted the increased demand from employers for the pre-assessment and short listing service the training provider delivers. ‘This saves companies valuable production time whilst ensure good quality candidates get to the final interview stage’.

Matthew Kynaston, who is in charge of marketing at digital agency Cyber-Duck, offered a look at things from the creatives’ perspective. According to him, apprentices in the sector should be entrusted with the management of a project, allowing bosses to determine the strengths and weaknesses of their trainees.

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Schools Should Involve More Employers and Training Providers In Career Advice Provision

Last September, schools became legally responsible for providing impartial careerATG_career-advice_170913 advice to students aged 14 to 16. Last week, Ofsted reported the findings of its review into the quality of this service, noting that very few of the 60 schools inspected provided a comprehensive, effective service or had the necessary skills and expertise to do so. In response to the Ofsted report, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has issued a statement calling on schools to open their doors to more employers and training providers.

AELP chief executive Stewart Segal said the organisation was pleased with the fact that Ofsted had commended the practice of schools inviting local companies and training providers to talk to students and inform them about apprenticeships and other forms of vocational training. The AELP hopes that the revised guidelines include an emphasis on the acceptance of this practice by all schools, including educational establishments with sixth forms. This has become a necessity in light of the growing number of students with good A-Level results choosing to pursue an apprenticeship instead of a university course, Segal said.

He went on to note that training providers could prove critical contributors in the effort to make career advice an effective and transparent service. They can be instrumental in establishing ties with local schools and can also provide support to employers keen on developing relationships with schools and sixth-form colleges. Hopefully, the report will lead to greater transparency on the part of schools when it comes to their provision of career advice and will make them more open to suggestions from employers and training providers, Segal concluded.

For career advice visit or call 0845 873 8440

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Apprenticeship Making A Young Man’s Engineering Dream Come True

Young people with the lofty ambition of becoming an aeronautical engineer probably thinkATG_Airbus_050913 that their only route to accomplishing that is university. However, they would be quite wrong, as illustrated by the case of 24-year-old Mike Hollings. The young man is working towards his degree while also accumulating hands-on experience thanks to his decision three years ago to disregard careers advice and go for an apprenticeship. Mike has shared his story with the Huffington Post for its Apprentice Of The Week series.

Mike hails from Rossett, Wrexham and is about to begin his third year of apprenticeship at aerospace giant Airbus. As he told the Huffington Post, becoming an engineer had always been his dream and his school teachers invariably told him to prepare for university. However, Mike opted for another solution: an apprenticeship at the Airbus plant in Broughton. He thought it combined the best of two worlds: work experience and academic study. Moreover, he liked the idea of getting paid while training and obtaining a degree without running up a pile of debts.

Mike pointed out that students did not get information about working conditions in the industry. In his case, for example, he was surprised to find that the plant was a very clean and well-organised place. He went on to add that young people were sometimes put off by the lower wages apprentices earn but taking everything into consideration, it is actually a great deal. Mike said he could afford to run a car and pay for a holiday every year, not to mention that he will have spared himself massive debts for tuition fees. He concluded by strongly recommending the apprenticeship option, noting that it provides young people with an excellent start to their career.

Make your dreams come true through an Apprenticeship with ATG Training.

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Apprenticeship Applications Jump By 32% And Vacancies Up By 27%

The latest figures published by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) show thatATG_BusinessAdmin_030913 apprenticeship applications filed online rose by 32% in the past year. This brought the number of young people making a bid at vocational training to 1,403,920.

Reflecting the growing popularity of apprenticeships among employers, vacancies increased by 27% in 2012/2013, or from 101,000 to 129,000. However, an average of 11 applicants are now competing for a position, which prompted Skills Minister Matthew Hancock to urge more employers to join the apprenticeship drive. This will only play to their advantage, considering the benefits they stand to gain by taking on an apprentice, he said. In the latest survey by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), 72% of employers said that apprentices contributed to higher product or service quality, while 68% said that apprenticeships improved their ability to attract good workers.

In the past year, Business and Administration remained the most popular category among apprenticeship candidates, with 384,840 applications submitted online. The second place went to Children and Young People’s Workforce with 102,450, while Customer Service remained third with 98,210. The top five was rounded off by IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professional (83,760) and Vehicle Maintenance and Repair (67,750), which switched places this time.

In terms of vacancies posted, the first four categories were the same as in the previous year. Business and Administration remained the leader with 31,558 positions advertised online. Customer Service maintained its second place with 12,091 vacancies, Hospitality and Catering held on to its third position with 8,372 and Children and Young People’s Workforce remained fourth with 7,043. The change in the top five ranking was the addition of IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professional, which climbed from number six to number five with 6,486 vacancies.

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Young apprentices have been awarded certificates by Slough Borough Council

Young apprentices have been awarded certificates by Slough Borough Council after completing a year-long programme which has been delivered by ATG Training.

Council chief executive Ruth Bagley presented 24 young people with National Vocational Slough apprentices August 2013Qualification (NVQ) certificates at a ceremony at the council’s offices in St Martin’s Place on Tuesday.

The apprenticeship programme invites school leavers to work at the council in two departments over two months, and has been voted ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Of the 24 apprentices who completed the programme, 11 have been employed by the council and its contractor arvato (OK), two have found employment elsewhere and one has continued in further education.

Cllr Pavitar Mann, commissioner for education and children, said: “Congratulations to all those who have completed their apprenticeships and successfully gained their NVQs.

“I am pleased that we, as a council, are doing all we can to ensure our younger residents have every opportunity to earn, learn and train.

She added: “This council’s apprenticeship programme has gone from strength to strength.

“It is a great path to take for those young people who have just received their GCSE results and would like to continue in education and work at the same time.”

Another round of apprentices will be taking part in the course next year, with 28 young people starting next month.

Anyone interested in applying for the September 2014 intake can forward their details and a recruitment pack will be sent when the vacancy opens.

Candidates must live within Slough and be aged 16-18.

Email for details.

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Parents Score Poorly On The Apprenticeship Test

Many young Brits may miss the opportunity of a lifetime because of parental prejudice andATG_parent_270813 ignorance, according to Semta’s chief executive Sarah Sillars. This has to do with the fact that most parents have little idea what an apprenticeship is and insist that their children follow the academic route, even though this may not be the best choice for them.

Research conducted on behalf of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has revealed that over 55% of parents cannot say whether a Higher Apprenticeship is a qualification equal to or better than a university degree. Only 18% of the 1,200 people polled knew that it actually is. In addition, 41% voiced the belief that a degree is rated highest by employers but previous research has shown that young people who have completed a Higher Apprenticeship have greater appeal for employers than university graduates.

Sillars said that parental ignorance and prejudice were not only costing the UK economy dearly but also preventing many young people from taking the vocational route and achieving great things. Parents must do their homework so that they can help their children make an informed choice and follow the best road into the future. The situation in the UK stands in sharp contrast to that in Germany and Korea, for example, where apprentices are celebrated and “treated like rock stars,” as Sillars put it. If the UK is to succeed in building its future talent base and pave the way to lasting prosperity, apprenticeships must be encouraged and parents need to get their facts straight so that they can really give their children worthwhile advice, Sillars stated.

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Apprenticeships Gets Big Thumbs-Up From Employers, Young People

GCSE students have recently received their results and Stephen Smyth, spokesman for theATG_occupations_220813 #Apprenticeship training organisation ATG Training saw the results of a survey published last week by ICM who set out the findings of a survey of young people in England, revealing that 54% of them would opt for an apprenticeship if the opportunity presented itself.

Now the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has released the results of its surveys of employers and apprentices, providing further evidence of the growing popularity of apprenticeships and their value to all parties involved.

Apprenticeships come highly recommended by both companies and trainees. Among the 4,000 employers participating in the business survey, 81% said they would recommend apprenticeships to other employers. The BIS asked the same question to 5,010 apprentices and 72% of them said they would encourage their friends to follow their example.

The employer survey also established that apprenticeships resulted in higher product or service quality for 72% of companies. According to 68% of the sample they enhanced productivity, while 55% listed as a benefit improved ability to attract good workers.

Among apprentices, 83% said that the apprenticeship had improved their career prospects and the same proportion stated that it had enhanced their ability to do the job.

Commenting on the results, Business Secretary Vince Cable noted that the government had persisted in promoting apprenticeships despite the difficult economic climate. Over the past two years apprentice numbers have surged by more than 80%, which shows that apprenticeships have become a popular career route for young people. The findings of the BIS surveys once again demonstrate the benefits for both employers and young people. Apprenticeships are key to building the UK’s skills base, which is in turn vital for the prosperity and economic growth of the country, Cable added.

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