New Report Stresses Importance Of Apprenticeships For Building Future Skills Base

In 2008, Cranfield School of Management and e-learning provider learndirect published aATG Training Apprentice at work report called “Nurturing Talent: building the workforce of the future.” Five years later they have taken another look at the situation, focusing on youth employment and the role of apprenticeships in the overall picture. The new report concludes that apprenticeships are vital for building a sustainable UK labour force and creating employment opportunities for more people. It also stresses the importance of stepping up efforts to promote the benefits of vocational training and of getting employers actively involved in such efforts.

The survey conducted by Cranfield School of Management established that 70% of employers had yet to act on the issue of tackling potential skill shortages in the next decade or two. Although many agree that apprenticeships can make a big contribution to addressing that problem, only 7% of respondents said they had encountered no problems with securing the right youngsters for positions that need filling. The survey found that 21% of employers had apprentices on their staff, with 32% in that group declaring that training programmes provided an effective way of dealing with the dearth of technical talent.

Dr Emma Parry, who wrote the report, pointed out that apprenticeships do more than just allow companies to solve their skills problem. The evidence suggests that having apprentices on board can boost employee morale, strengthen commitment and improve retention rates. It can also reduce recruitment costs and help a company establish a reputation as a good employer, Dr Parry said.

Stephen Smyth- Marketing Manager at ATG Training, welcomed the new report and pointed to the the Government committment to vocational training. Apprenticeship training is funded by Goverment and there is currently an incentive of up to £15,000 for employers who recruit new Apprentices Smyth continued.

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Microtech employs award winning Apprentice

ATG Training’s CEO, Ian Harper, is pictured presenting Koen Crawford of Microtech with his award for being the outstanding electronics apprentice of 2012.  Simon Thomson, Managing Director of Microtech, assembled the entire company staff to witness Koen receive the award.  A suitably embarrassed Koen pledged to display the award on the company premises.  Simon has been extremely pleased with both apprentices from ATG Training and intends to add another apprentice to his growing business in 2013.

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It is day 4 of National Apprenticeship Week 2012!

Today we are in Hale Leys Shopping centre discussing #apprenticeships with passers-by.

Future Centre

Future Centre

Last night the Government confirmed an incentive of a £1,500 Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of 16 to 24 year olds. More details are on our website

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It’s Day 3 of National Apprenticeship Week 2012!

If you haven’t already logged on to our website,, and looked at the wide range of Apprenticeship vacancies we’re currently recruiting for, then do it now!

There are oportunities in fashion, marketing, gardening and manufacturing.

If you need any advice, call 0845 8949530 and we’ll be happy to help!

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It’s Day 2 of National Apprenticeship Week 2012!

CEO Ian Harper will be on the radio today discussing the current issues pertaining to apprenticeships. The following stations will carry the message.

  • BBC Radio Oxford
  • Big L
  • BBC Radio London
  • Inspiration Fm
  • 106 JACK FM Oxfordshire
  • Represzent 107.3

If you are in the High Wycombe area, come and see us at the Job Centre Apprenticeship Fair being held in the AMF Bowling Centre from 2pm to 4pm this afternoon. We’ll be able to answer all your Apprenticeship-related questions and discuss our current vacancies with you.

See you there!

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It’s National Apprenticeship Week 2012!

It’s National Apprenticeship Week 2012! We are currently recruiting for a number of Apprenticeship positions in a variety of sectors, including Manufacturing, Business & Administration and Customer Service. For more details, go to:

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“Hangout” with Google+ and YouTube

YouTube and Google have gone live with their “Google+ Hangout” feature.

The Hangout feature allows you to chat and share videos with your Circles. To do this:

• Search for the video you wish to share on YouTube
• Select “Share”
• Select “Start a Google+ Hangout”
• Share with your Circle

Searching for an Apprenticeship?

Search for training?

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Good employer engagement

Ian Harper - CEO ATG Training

Ian Harper

“It is vital to listen to employers and be able to adapt to their business needs. Commercial timescales can be unforgiving, so training programmes need to match them. The company needs to respond quickly when new opportunities present themselves, but it mustn’t sacrifice quality to get the business. However, it’s not enough to have responsive programmes. You must make sure that employers know what you are doing and are included in the success of their employees.”

Advice for others? “We used to assume that if we did a good job, businesses would use our training again. Stay in constant touch if you want repeat business.”

Ian Harper, Chief Executive of ATG Training


The good practice in detail

The recent inspection report praised ATG Training for its flexibility and responsiveness: “Programmes are flexible and effectively tailored to employers’ requirements. Cycle maintenance has excellent industrial links to major manufacturers, distributors, retail employers, and the awarding body, which provide learners with state-of-the-art materials and techniques and relevant, flexible qualifications. Childcare, retail and warehousing assessors accommodate shift patterns and business pressures well.” ‘Employer Journey’ provides a good overview of the company’s approach to employer engagement.

Providing accreditation for cycle mechanics with state-of-the-art equipment

Cytech training specialist

Mat Clark. ATG Training cycle mechanic training instructor

The ‘CYTECH’ programme was started by the Association of Cycle Traders, to provide a licence to practice for cycle mechanics. When they needed a partner to roll out the programme nationally, ATG Training  worked with them to integrate the certificate into a bespoke NVQ framework, providing funded accreditation and recognition for hundreds of otherwise-excluded learners all over the country.

Martin works in a specialist cycle shop in Salisbury and has a passion for bikes: “ATG Training  has really good equipment and the staff are very knowledgeable. I’m sure the CYTECH qualification and the NVQ will help my career”, he says. “I’ve learned such a lot on this course, and I’m determined to go on to Level 3 next.”

Matt - Cycle Apprentice

Matt - Cycle Apprentice

As the Business Development and Engagement Consultant for the Buckinghamshire Education Business Partnership, Vanessa King knows ATG well. She is impressed by their responsiveness and flexibility. “They listen to employers and adapt programmes to fit their needs”, she says. “They’re very flexible. Traditionally, when employers have asked us about apprenticeships, we have directed them to ATG because we know, from experience, that ATG will lead them through the process with clear explanations and minimum disruption. They make it easy for employees to gain a qualification.”

Training cycle mechanics for Tesco

Organising courses is straightforward when you control the timescale, but major employers like Tesco work to tight deadlines. ATG’s unique position within the cycle industry made it the first choice for Tesco when they needed training to start specialist cycle shops in their larger stores.

So, how did ATG change its way of working to meet Tesco’s needs?

Tescos cycles store

Tescos cycles store

“At Tesco, we are always looking for ways to serve our customers better”, says Vicky Wellings, the Technical Manager (Leisure). “The only choice we could offer for those purchasing a bike was a self-assembly option. We realised we needed to extend this offer, so we approached ATG to help us to train our staff to assemble bikes to the required safety standards. ATG staff are extremely flexible, helpful and friendly. They provided invaluable technical advice about setting up the courses which are delivered on our site. That is very important as our staff often have family responsibilities which would prevent them from staying away on a residential course. Sometimes our timescales are unpredictable and ATG Training change schedules to suit our commercial pressures. The staff enjoy their training and it’s enabled us to start our rolling programme to set up bike areas in some stores and separate bike shops in others. We now have a great choice for customers; self-assembly or assembly at our bike shops by fully trained staff.”

Dave Aimson

Dave Aimson

David Aimson manages the internal sales team at ATG Training. He is the link between Tesco and the cycle trainers. “Our bike team had plenty of experience of training people working in the bike industry, but this was different”, he says. “We had to start from scratch when no bike shops existed in Tesco. Previously they had sold boxed bikes, so our team had to advise on tools as well as training. ATG Training already had bike courses planned with students enrolled. Our staff were brilliant and with slight schedule changes and some overtime we met Tesco’s demand without detriment to any other customers.”

Flexible programmes that integrate employers’ specialist training

Apprenticeship models can seem rigid. It takes skill to make them fit for purpose for a specialist business. In 2007, a global manufacturer of medical electronics recruited the first cohort of engineering apprentices through ATG.

Engineering student

Engineering apprentice

The company’s second cohort has just begun an engineering apprenticeship with ATG Training. “ATG are so approachable, friendly and flexible”, says their training manager. “When I visit the Future Centre I’m welcomed as if I was part of the company. We enjoy visiting school careers days to get youngsters interested in the equipment. We know about our product, but we aren’t educationalists. In the past, most of our recruits were experienced adults. We needed a partner to help us to recruit, select and train young people, and ATG has made it easy for us.” Planning the programme was a learning curve for both partners. ATG added some key elements to the package, such as training in computer network systems, to ensure that learners got the right technical background. They also spoke to the awarding body to propose revisions to the framework to match current working practices.

The employer is particularly pleased about how the corporate training is integrated into the scheme of work. “We come into the centre every Friday to deliver specialist courses, such as bespoke Health and Safety, which means that apprentices can go out on site with their mentors as soon as they finish their six-week block.” He is proud of the new employees. “They have a fresh outlook and they’ve learned excellent skills. We had 160 applicants for 10 places this time, and we’re sure that ATG Training has selected the ‘cream of the crop’ for us!”

Extending the model to a wider remit

It can be challenging to tackle new subject areas, but this approach translates well into other provision. Whilst apprenticeships are mandatory for engineers, retail workers often have poor access to training. ATG’s new partnership with ‘Performance through People’ (PTP) provides opportunities for local supermarket workers. The inspection report recognised a strength in the way that the retail programme met the employer’s needs:  ATG Training meets employers’ needs very well (according to an Ofsted report).

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Free impartial career information advice and guidance

Do you need objective and impartial career advice? 

Are you interested in pursuing a career in one of the
following industry sectors:

Business and Administration
Children’s Care, Learning and Development
Customer Service and Retail
Cycle Maintenance
Electrical Installation
Management (including Team Leading)
Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
IT User and IT Practitioner
Warehousing and Storage Operations
Then call us on 01296 737800 or e-mail:

You can also drop in to one of the free sessions which run regularly.

Wednesday Dec 8th 2.30-4.30
Wednesday Jan 12th 2.30-4.30
Wednesday Jan 19th 2.00-5.00pm

We look forward to helping you in your chosen career.

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Information and Advice Drop-in Session

Information and Advice Drop-in Session

Future Centre

Future Centre

Thursday 25th November 2010
2.30pm to 4.30pm

ATG Training, Future Centre, Smeaton Close, Aylesbury, HP19 8SZ

Get free, objective and impartial career advice from our Learner Support Team.

For anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in one of the following industry sectors:

• Business and Administration
• Children’s Care, Learning and Development
• Customer Service and Retail
• Cycle Maintenance
• Electrical Installation
• Management (including Team Leading)
• Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
• IT User and IT Practitioner
• Warehousing and Storage Operations

Call us on 01296 737800 or e-mail:

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