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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Improvement In Apprenticeship Delivery Lies At Heart Of New Programme

At the start of this week, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) ATG_training_100414announced the launch of a programme designed to improve apprenticeship delivery. Commissioned by the Education and Training Foundation, the Apprenticeship Staff Support Programme (ASSP) will provide £1.5 million in funding to projects that can improve apprenticeship outcomes for both employers and trainees.

Phase One of the programme is already under way and organisations can submit their bids, applying either alone or as part of a consortium, NIACE said. Priority will be given to projects that promote employer involvement in apprenticeship delivery and/or focus on further improvement in curriculum design, teaching, learning and assessment.

The plan is to choose eight to 24 projects in the first phase and distribute up to £717,000 of the total funding pot. If a project turns out to be particularly successful, it will be considered for expansion during Phase Two of the ASSP, which will begin later in the year.

NIACE section director Fiona Aldridge said that apprenticeships had amply demonstrated their importance for the development of vital skills and the provision of support for people to enter work. NIACE is working alongside the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to promote further improvement in apprenticeship quality and ensure fair access for every applicant. The launch of the ASSP is the latest step in that direction and a particularly important one in light of current apprenticeship reforms. The programme will advance efforts to tackle skill shortages through high-quality apprenticeships that cater to the needs of all stakeholders, Aldridge added.

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Logistics Training: The Challenges Before Sector Employers

ATG Training ApprenticeJust like any other sector, logistics needs to ensure it has the necessary talent to enable future growth. While logistics sector operators acknowledge the importance of employee training and development, many among them fail to achieve the desired results for one reason or another. Recent research conducted by Skills for Logistics has highlighted the need for greater focus on the adequate provision of information relating to staff training and skills development in the logistics sector.

As the organisation established, 36% of sector employers harboured doubts about the current situation, expressing the belief that the currently available training programmes and qualifications did not adequately reflect the skill needs of the logistics sector. Meanwhile, 10% of the companies that had not partnered with a training provider attributed this to their lack of knowledge on the matter.

Skills for Logistics has the responsibility to provide information and tools promoting workforce development. The Sector Skills Council for the UK’s logistics industry is also in charge of providing advice on training options and solutions. It conducts its work in partnership with employers, recruiters and training providers, seeking to bring to light all the opportunities for skills development.

One of the ways in which Skills for Logistics demonstrates its commitment to the staff training cause is through its round table events. A new discussion is scheduled to take place next week, on 8 April, bringing together industry and training representatives for an exchange of views on the skills and training challenges facing the sector.

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UK Government Invests £40m In Apprenticeships, Plans Funding Reform

The UK government has revealed plans to invest an extra £40 million to increase theATG_HMTreasury_101213 number of people starting higher apprenticeships, enabling 20,000 more people to develop high-level skills, according the Autumn Statement 2013 published on the government’s website.

At the same time, the government wants to reform apprenticeship funding to allow employers to receive funding towards the cost of training apprentices directly from HM Revenue & Customs.

Employers will be able to claim back the training costs from HMRC, although the delivery method is still unclear and yet to be announced. For now the government is studying three alternatives, namely direct payment into the company’s bank account after apprentices have been enrolled, recovery via the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) system, and a provider model in which trainers make the claim.

With this move, the government aims to ensure that young people have the skills they need to compete and succeed in the global economy and also to lower the number of youngsters who are not in training, education or employment.

Wine supplier Liberty Wines has been running apprenticeship projects for seven years now but has never sought funding from the state because it was “too prescriptive”, its founder, David Gleave, commented for the Telegraph. He added that any changes intended to make the rules more flexible would be welcome.

Data from Chancellor George Osborne shows that the implementation of advanced level apprenticeships has soared 135% over the last three years which is attributed to the fact that a growing number of businesses are introducing training programmes. Overall, around 1.5 million apprenticeships have been started since 2010.

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Thames Valley Berkshire Gets £2.4m To Combat Youth Unemployment

The fight against youth unemployment in the Thames Valley has received a major boost in the form of £2.4 million for investment in related initiatives. The money will come from the Youth Contract programme and will support councils and businesses in Reading, West Berkshire,ATG_NickClegg_051113 Wokingham, Bracknell, Slough and Windsor & Maidenhead to get more young people into work, as well as provide them with tailored training opportunities.

This is the latest City Deal to get the go-ahead from the government and its signing is of tremendous importance for young people and employers in the Thames Valley Berkshire area. As announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the deal will support initiatives to prepare 16- to 24-year-olds in the region for the world of work. Over the next three years, 4,500 local youngsters are expected to benefit from the deal.

Support will be provided through the creation of 1,500 new work experience placements and an additional 300 apprenticeships. Eligible businesses across the area will benefit from 800 new Youth Contract Wage Incentives. The deal terms stipulate that the employment and skills opportunities need to clearly reflect the needs of local youngsters to help them secure jobs. The £2.4 million provided by the government will be matched by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, which will count on local businesses to secure private sector investment.

Clegg said that City Deals were all about solving local problems through local solutions by adopting innovative approaches. Tackling youth unemployment is at the heart of these deals and the latest one will benefit all stakeholders in Thames Valley Berkshire. Providing local young people with valuable skills will also help businesses in the area, allowing them to grow and contribute to local prosperity, Clegg added.

Welcoming the investment Stephen Smyth, spokesman for ATG Training reminded local employers that other financial support is also available to them through Government initiatives.  There is a grant of £1,500 for employers that take on new Apprentices, which apply to as many as 10 (£15,000). In addition there is support available from the European Social Fund.

More information is available on the available financial support on 0845 873 8440 or info@atg-training.co.uk

 

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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’.

info@atg-training.co.uk

0845 873 8440

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Can Labour’s Apprenticeship Plan Boost The Domestic Skills Base?

Ed Miliband has garnered lots of media attention with his plan to promote high-qualityATG_EdMiliband1_081013 apprenticeships and help the UK maintain its skills base. At the recent Labour Party conference, the party leader outlined a policy under which UK employers would be required to take on an apprentice for every non-EU worker joining their staff. Last week, The Engineer published the findings of its reader poll on Labour’s plan, revealing a mixed attitude towards the idea.

Miliband’s policy envisions the recruitment of an apprentice for every Tier 2 non-EU immigrant employed by a UK company. These are foreigners admitted into the country because of their highly valuable skills. By providing an apprentice with equivalent skills, UK employers would ensure the availability of highly skilled workers for the UK economy, Miliband claims.

So how do readers of The Engineer feel about this balancing act? According to 44% of them, the policy would have no impact because it would only apply to non-EU workers, while 39% expressed the belief that it would have a positive effect on the domestic skills base. For 16% of the sample, the plan raises concerns that local employers would be put off recruiting foreign talent, thus negatively affecting a skills base that relies on overseas workers.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is among the industry organisations that believe there are better ways of promoting apprenticeships and helping the UK nurture its future talent. According to the BCC, better results would be achieved by offering apprentice employers financial incentives and urging schools to give greater attention to work skills, The Engineer said.

Spokesman for  a provider of Apprenticeships, ATG Training commenting said ‘Policy matters have major impacts on the training market and any proposed changes need to be fully debated, with industry SME’s having a key role in the future economic output of Great Britain PLC’.

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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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