UK Commission for Employment and Skills Calls For Tax Breaks As Means Of Spurring Apprenticeship Uptake

The value of apprenticeships is widely recognised but they are yet to become mainstream.ATG_accounts_060613 This, however, needs to happen if the UK wants to ensure its future growth and promote job creation. Through apprenticeships, the country gets the skills it needs while young people get the opportunity to start their journey towards a rewarding career. However, the government needs to provide more incentives to encourage greater apprentice recruitment by companies and tax breaks would be a step in the right direction, according to Scott Johnson, commissioner at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

In an article published on Wednesday in the International Business Times, Johnson declared himself fully supportive of the funding reforms recommended by Doug Richard in his review of apprenticeships. The idea is to give the funds directly to employers, putting them in a position to choose apprenticeship programmes that meet their particular skills needs. Delivering this change through the tax system would create new opportunities for young Britons and pave their way to mainstream employment. In the case of employers, such reforms would result in a more accessible apprenticeship system for enterprises of any size. The ultimate beneficiary would be the wider UK economy as more jobs are created, businesses prosper and future skill needs are taken care of.

Johnson, himself a small business owner, went on to add that he strongly supported apprenticeships and all training programmes that kept the end goal firmly in sight. That goal is to provide people and companies with the necessary tools to excel. The great thing about apprenticeships is that they deliver truly unique solutions driven by industry needs, Johnson added.

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Online Apprenticeship Applications, Vacancies Hit New Highs

The number of apprenticeship applications filed online and that of vacancies posted reachedOnline Applications record levels in the period between February and April, the latest data from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) reveals. The total number of applications grew by 32.5% year-on-year, while the number of vacancies increased by 14.8%.

As many as 368,830 applications were submitted over the Internet during the third quarter of the 2012/2013 academic year as opposed to 278,410 in the same period a year earlier. As for vacancies advertised online, their number went up from 28,396 to 32,604. Candidates were at their most active in the immediate aftermath of National Apprenticeship Week, making 18 March the busiest day for filing. On that day apprenticeship hopefuls submitted 6,730 applications. Regarding vacancies, the highest number posted online in a single day was 17,700 and this happened on 26 April.

There was no change in the top three when it came to sectors attracting the biggest number of applications. As was the case a year earlier, Business and Administration was first with 101,510 applications, followed by Childcare and Customer Services with 29,020 and 26,200 respectively. The number of vacancies advertised was also the highest for Business and Administration (7,702) but Customer Services overtook Childcare on that count (2,700 versus 1,991).

Commenting on the latest NAS figures, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said that apprenticeships were increasingly perceived by young Britons as an excellent alternative to a university degree. School leavers are quickly grasping the potential of an apprenticeship to help them realise their career ambitions. The government is working tirelessly alongside the NAS to promote the apprenticeship cause, encouraging more employers to take on apprentices and reap the associated benefits, Hancock added.

 

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HLAs Draw Ambitious School Leavers

People generally assume that the cream of the school-leaving crop will head towardsATG Training Apprentices university, putting in a few more years of study to obtain a degree. However, a growing number of school leavers are opting instead for an apprenticeship, not least because of the increase in tuition fees, the Guardian reports.

But tuition costs are only part of the reason for this choice. More school leavers are coming to realise that an apprenticeship, especially a higher level apprenticeship (HLA), can be just as useful as a degree, sometimes more so. Students going for HLAs get the equivalent of degree-level qualifications and invaluable work experience in addition to earning money during their training.

Sophie Dalby is one of the academic high-flyers who have chosen an apprenticeship over university. She received offers from five universities but decided to take up an accountancy apprenticeship. As Sophie told the Guardian, she will be fully qualified by the age of 23 and will not have the burden of fees. In addition, she will be acquiring skills that are in demand by employers.

The government has put apprenticeships high on its agenda and invested some £1.5 billion in various initiatives during the past year alone. This has created more opportunities for young Britons and the choice of sectors keeps rising. In 2012 the number of HLAs on offer shot up to 3,700, an increase of 67.5% from the prior year. This year school leavers will be able to choose from HLAs across 41 subject areas, the Guardian added.

 

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Semta CEO Urges Employers To Tackle Skills Shortage

Taking on apprentices and recruiting graduates are both great ways of addressing the skillsATG Training Apprentice Engineer shortage in engineering and manufacturing but UK companies need to do more, according to Semta chief executive Sarah Sillars. Employers also have to invest in improving the skills of existing employees and help spread the word about the excellent career opportunities available in the sector, Sillars was quoted as saying by The Journal.

Since it is exam season, our attention is focused on how young Britons are doing and what their future plans involve. Sillars urged those graduating in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects to think about an engineering or advanced manufacturing career. She noted that there were amazing opportunities for young people considering further education but prospects in the sector were also fantastic for those with no university plans. Boys and girls with five GCSEs (among them maths and science) can lay the foundations of a great career by opting for an apprenticeship. This will allow them to earn money, learn on the job and pave the way to excellent long-term prospects.

Sillars went on to add that Semta’s research painted a bleak picture for the future engineering and manufacturing talent base. By 2017 the sector will lose 8,500 employees to retirement and 15,000 need to improve their skills. According to the 2013 Harvey Nash Manufacturing Leadership survey, 62% of executives consider their companies woefully short of skills. Not only can apprentices help close the gap but they also tend to make more loyal employees, Sillars noted, citing a study by the National Apprenticeship Service. According to that research, 74% of employers believe apprentices to be more loyal than non-apprentices. In addition, 92% stated that their training programmes improved staff motivation and boosted job satisfaction levels.

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Potential Apprentices To Get Help From New Search Tool

Young Britons looking to enter vocational training will have their quest for opportunities madeATG_youngperson_240513 easier by an online search facility that the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) is currently developing, FE Week has reported.

The announcement was made on Tuesday by Vic Grimes, NAS apprenticeship director for London and the South East. Addressing the audience at a training provider forum, Grimes said that the service would go live soon, offering a database of providers and available apprenticeships.

The search tool comes in response to the Holt Review conducted last year. Undertaken by entrepreneur Jason Holt, it made a number of recommendations designed to ease access to apprenticeships. Among those recommendations was the development of an online search facility allowing employers to find quality training providers. This was suggested as part of a broader aim to facilitate the entry of small companies to the apprenticeship arena. With a database of providers and opportunities readily available for search, young people considering the apprenticeship route will be greatly assisted in their undertaking.

Grimes went on to tell his audience that the government had “huge ambitions” with regard to apprenticeships. Last year the number of apprenticeship starts reached 500,000 and the goal is to have that lifted to 520,000 this year. The coalition is betting heavily on apprenticeships, putting them at the centre of its economic growth strategy. The plan is to support 3.8 million apprenticeships over the decade ahead, which is expected to deliver huge benefits to the UK economy. According to recent research, the gain will amount to £3.4 billion, Grimes pointed out.

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LSIS Seeks To Boost Uptake Of Disabled Apprentices

The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) is in the midst of its latestATG Training Apprentice initiative aimed at encouraging employers and training providers to take on apprentices with disabilities. Acting in partnership with Remploy Employment Services, the LSIS is addressing issues through two workshops this week, one held on Monday and another scheduled for Thursday. Three other workshops on the subject were organised earlier this year and proved extremely successful. The LSIS will be closed on 31 July 2013 but Remploy, the specialist employment support services provider, is hoping to secure a sponsor and continue to deliver such workshops across the country.

The seminars focus on concerns that might discourage employers and training providers from recruiting apprentices with disabilities. A survey commissioned by the National Apprenticeship Service in 2011 identified some of those concerns. Remploy, which carried out the research, established that employers were often deterred from taking on disabled apprentices for fear of an overwhelming regulatory burden with regard to health and safety. Some were also concerned that the apprentices would drop out of the programme, which could affect the company’s business plans. Through these workshops, the LSIS and Remploy seek to address existing concerns by informing providers how to get extra support and funding for disabled apprentices, as well as increase the number of disabled learners in apprenticeship programmes by using employer engagement strategies.

Remploy business consultant Howard Nelson said the organisation was hoping to carry on the work started by the LSIS although the workshops may not be free in the future if a sponsor is not found. The success of the events organised so far has prompted Remploy to consider a national conference on disabled apprentices, which is scheduled to take place in September.

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IET Launches New Apprentice Award

Later this year, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) will celebrate

ATG Apprentices awards

ATG Apprentices awards

the contribution of apprentices and technicians to the advancement of the engineering and technology sectors. This will be done through the newly launched IET Apprentice and Technician of the Year Awards. The winners will be announced on 20 November during the IET Achievement Awards Ceremony. Those wishing to compete for the honour have until the end of this month to submit their applications.

In the case of apprentices, the award will go either to an individual or a team comprising up to five apprentices. One condition is that the person or people need to be in at least their second year of an apprenticeship scheme approved by the IET. The applicants also need to be progressing well on their road to apprenticeship qualifications and to have contributed significantly to the business of their employer or area. This contribution will be documented in a report that has to accompany the application. Candidates also have to provide an endorsement statement from their employer or scheme coordinator.

The prize combines a certificate, a cash payment of £1,000 and two years’ free IET membership. If the apprenticeship award goes to a team, the cash prize should be shared equally among the apprentices.

ATG_award_160513The IET will also honour exceptional contributions and achievements by technicians. Nominations will be made in two categories: “Technician of the Year” and “Armed Forces Technician of the Year.” To be eligible, applicants in the second category must be serving members of the UK Armed Forces.

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NAS Taps Young Digital Talent To Promote Apprenticeship Agenda

Technology plays a central role in young people’s lives and the National Apprenticeship

Facebook login page

Facebook login page

Service (NAS) plans to make the most of this. Through the freshly launched “Can you hack it as an apprentice” design challenge, the NAS will kill two birds with one stone: bringing apprenticeships to the attention of more young people while giving young people themselves the chance to demonstrate their creative potential.

The competition will involve the design and development of a Facebook app or game, the plan being to have the prototype ready for launch in late summer. The five best ideas will be shortlisted and each developer will get £3,000 to bring their design to a prototype beta stage. Once testing is done, the winning developer will be granted another £10,000 to complete his or her work. The NAS will launch the product on its Facebook page in August. The competition is open to developers aged between 16 and 24 and entry forms must be submitted by 24 May 2013.

With the help of the new app or game, the NAS is aiming to increase awareness of apprenticeships and thus boost the number of young Britons entering vocational training. The initiative also seeks to address employer demands for high quality of apprenticeship applications.

The NAS has chosen to break with tradition, which would have seen the development task assigned to a creative agency. It said that by opting for an alternative course of action, the organisation is giving young people the chance to spread their creative wings and deliver a product for their peers.

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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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Oxfordshire Initiative Aims To Encourage MSE Apprenticeship Uptake

The UK government has pointed out time and again that the country cannot maintain aATG_engineeringstudent_230413 globally competitive economy without the proper skills base. It is also regularly stressed that the UK is in great need of more engineering talent and apprenticeships are an excellent way of addressing the problem. In light of that, a new initiative launched in Oxfordshire is a big winner. It gives young people the chance to earn while training on the job by starting an apprenticeship, and the county stands to make an invaluable addition to its talent pool.

The initiative in question runs under the name Apprenticeship Launchpad and aims to promote manufacturing, science and engineering (MSE) apprenticeships among school pupils, Insider Media has reported. The scheme is led by Oxfordshire County Council and is supported by Science Oxford, a charitable organisation focused on encouraging connections between science, enterprise and society.

ATG_Oxford_230413The goal of the campaign is to provide young people with information about companies in and around the Science Vale UK Enterprise Zone covering Abingdon, Culham and Didcot. As part of the initiative, school pupils will get invitations to six events held at different MSE enterprises. This will give the youngsters the opportunity to meet current apprentices, tour company premises and try their hand at practical challenges. The Apprenticeship Launchpad has already gained the support of five schools, which have registered to promote the scheme to students studying science and technology subjects. The project has also drawn several businesses, among them STFC-operated scientific research centre Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

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