Perkins Review Calls For Concerted Effort To Tackle Engineering Skills Shortage

The UK’s future industrial success is closely tied to its engineering talent pool. Much ATG_engineering_071113has been said and written about the country’s pressing need for engineers and the government is taking an active role in promoting the profession among young people, supporting training initiatives by employers and getting educational bodies involved in the effort. The issue of engineering skills is once again in the spotlight with the release of a report by John Perkins, the professor advising the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on scientific matters.

The publication contains an analysis of the UK engineering talent pipeline and urges the government, the engineering industry and educators to work together so that the nation can meet its engineering skill needs. In response to the Perkins Review, the government is setting aside nearly £49 million to support initiatives to that end.

About £30 million of the total funding package will be reserved for employers so that they can invest more in training tailored to their specific needs. The government has also earmarked £18 million for the construction of an elite training facility at the Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre. There is also £250,000 allocated as seed funding for Tomorrow’s Engineers, which will use the money to accelerate its engagement programme to employers across the country. This programme aims to make engineering careers more attractive to school children. The Daphne Jackson Trust will get £40,000 for the development of a new fellowship that will help people resume their engineering career after a professional break. Finally, the government is supporting the creation of a portal on the National Careers Service website. It will bring together companies wishing to raise the profile of engineering among school children and organisations capable of assisting employers in that effort.

A spokesman for ATG Training, The Group Training Association which has been delivering engineering training in the Thames Valley since 1967 welcomed the investment and urged engineering employers to engage ever more fully with their training provider in order to ensure their requirements are fully complied with. This method of working  has been the bedrock of ATG Training’s policy since day one.

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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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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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Engineering Company Gets Creative In Pursuit Of Quality Apprentices

The UK needs engineers and this need will only keep growing. It is essential to makeATG_industrial-laser_241013 engineering and manufacturing careers more attractive for young people, giving them the opportunity to build solid foundations for future professional success through high quality apprenticeships. But it is equally important for sector employers to ensure that their apprenticeship programmes draw the most talented youngsters. A manufacturing company from Staffordshire has taken an innovative approach to this, using a competition among school students to pick out the best and brightest among them, Automation magazine reports on its website.

It is the second time KMF Precision Sheet Metal Manufacturing has run the competition, offering winners the opportunity to gain work experience at the company and potentially enrol for an advanced apprenticeship. Last year, 1,700 students from 16 schools across Staffordshire took part in the competition and were tasked with designing a mechanical clock. This year the bar has been raised even higher: pupils have to design, build and race Formula 24 cars.

Gareth Higgins, managing director at KMF, noted that the future success of the UK economy depends on more young people entering the engineering and manufacturing sectors. Higgins said that he was thrilled with the level of student and parent engagement achieved through this competition and the fact that it helped youngsters decide on their future study subjects. The company has tried to make the competition both fun and challenging while identifying the talented students that could one day reach the top of the engineering profession via the apprenticeship route, Higgins added.

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Quality Is Key To Making Apprenticeships High-Status Option, Says IfL Chief

No economy stands a chance of sustainable growth unless it has a steady supply ofATG_training-quality_171013 skilled workers. The importance of apprenticeships for ensuring that supply is profound and widely acknowledged. But there is still some way to go before vocational training is unanimously perceived as a highly attractive and highly regarded opportunity for young people starting their career journey and adults looking to enter a new professional field. The key to achieving that is quality and it should be associated with all apprenticeships, regardless of the company offering them, according to Toni Fazaeli, CEO of the Institute for Learning.

In an article for the Information Daily, Fazaeli says that world-class apprenticeships are characterised by three things. Firstly, they offer training at a very high standard, both on and off the job, and this training is delivered by professionals with level 5 qualifications. Secondly, a top-quality apprenticeship includes excellent maths and English tuition because literacy and numeracy are considered crucial for employability and career progression. Finally, young people will not be attracted to vocational training unless successful apprentices can count on status and definite career prospects.

Fazaeli notes further that the media should do more to give apprenticeships the coverage they deserve. It can hardly be expected of young people to consider apprenticeships as an option when schools and universities dominate the news. Part of the responsibility for spreading the word also lies with school career advisers, who should take every opportunity to inform young people about the variety of careers they can pursue through apprenticeships.

Engineering Apprenticeships offer some of the highest quality training and career prospects’ said ATG Training spokesman Stephen Smyth. ‘We have a number of such vacancies available to young people and they can apply online here’.

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Semta Launches Awards To Celebrate UK Engineering Talent

The UK has a long history of engineering excellence and Semta is sparing no effort toATG_Semta_101013 ensure that the future is equally bright for this highly valuable profession. The organisation responsible for promoting skills in the engineering and advanced manufacturing sectors is convinced that the future growth of the UK economy will depend on keeping these sectors well supplied with talent. To celebrate all the people working to make that possible, Semta is launching the Semta Skills Awards.

The inaugural awards ceremony will take place on 12 February 2014 at the Park Plaza in London. Engineering apprentices will compete in two categories: Apprentice of The Year and Higher Apprentice of The Year. There will also be an award for the best training provider and the top graduate. The rest of the categories are Skills Champion of The Year, Skills Innovation of The Year and SME Investment in Skills. The winners in these categories will then go on to compete for the final and greatest recognition: the Best of British Engineering Award.

Semta’s chief executive Sarah Sillars said that the UK still boasted the best engineers in the world and the awards were a way of celebrating the best and brightest among them. These are the people who will inspire future generations through their achievements and dedication. The awards reflect Semta’s relentless efforts to ensure that the UK will never find itself short of engineering talent and the organisation is making solid progress towards bridging the skills gap, Sillars added.

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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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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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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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Young People Need Greater Awareness Of Apprenticeship Opportunities

A-level results are out and young Brits are preparing for life after school, which for most ATG_youngpeople_200813 involves either getting a job or pursuing a university degree. There is also the option to combine work and further study through an apprenticeship programme and 55% say they would consider this route. The problem is that most young people between the ages of 14 and 25 are unaware of the wide range of opportunities available for the apprenticeship-minded, Online Recruitment magazine reports on its website.

Companies of all sizes are embracing apprenticeships and new sectors are joining the list of enthusiastic recruiters but young people know little about it, according to the latest Barclays LifeSkills Barometer. Manufacturing firms and retailers have long established themselves as top apprentice employers and youngsters are aware of that, with 69% and 44% respectively stating so. However, the situation looks quite different when it comes to awareness about apprenticeship opportunities in other sectors. Hospitality and leisure companies, for example, are some of the best apprentice recruiters and 44% of them plan to take on apprentices this year. However, 56% of young people have no idea that apprenticeships can give them entry into these sectors. Only 33% said they were aware of newer qualifications in the travel sector, while the respective proportions for healthcare and insurance were even lower at 25% and 24%.

According to Mike Thompson, the person in charge of Barclays’ employability programmes, the number and breadth of apprenticeships on offer is fantastic news for school leavers. However, it is clear that employers and education providers must join forces to increase awareness among young people and inform them of ways to access those opportunities, Thompson added.

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