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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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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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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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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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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IAC Members To Participate In BIS Roundtable On Future Of Apprenticeships

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock is scheduled to meet today with the organisation speaking on behalf of UK industry apprentices. The government team responsible for apprenticeships will hear more of what the Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) has to say about the future of vocational training, H&V News has reported.ATG_parliament_180713

The IAC was set up earlier this year by Ann Watson, managing director of awarding organisation EAL. The aim of its creation was to give industry apprentices a national voice, allowing them to participate in the apprenticeship debate and provide input on matters related to government policy and strategies to promote apprenticeships.

The IAC, which comprises 14 youngsters from various sectors, sent its official response to the Richard Review in May. The document received by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) contained views on the implementation of grading and assessment, ways of supporting employers’ efforts to engage trainees and thoughts on whether offsite learning should become mandatory.

Following the receipt of a personal invitation from Hancock, the IAC will join a roundtable discussion centred on the Richards Review. The young apprentices will submit their recommendations, expanding on the topics addressed in their official response.

Watson said the EAL was extremely pleased that industry apprentices would be directly involved in shaping the future of UK apprenticeships. This discussion presents IAC members with the outstanding opportunity to voice their opinion on government policy and contribute to revolutionising the vocational pathway for all UK learners. The IAC will be doing the very thing it was established to do: speak on behalf of industry apprentices and pave the way for more young Britons to take up apprenticeships, Watson added.

 

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Unilever Executive Praises Benefits Of Apprenticeships

Unilever is one of those companies that people come in touch with every day. The consumerATG_Unilever_120713 goods giant has built a portfolio of more than 400 brands, among them Dove, Lipton, Ben & Jerry’s, Domestos, Knorr and Axe. What some may not know is that the company is a great believer in apprenticeships and its UK division recently took on 20 apprentices in business administration and IT. While Unilever UK is keen to help address the problem of youth unemployment, it is also convinced that apprenticeships deliver amazing benefits for businesses and that apprentices are great employees, Apprentice Eye reported this week.

The website cited Tim Munden, HR vice-president for Unilever UK & Ireland. According to Munden, apprenticeships benefit both companies and the wider economy. Unilever’s experience has shown that the young people enrolling in its apprenticeship programmes are talented, ambitious and loyal workers. This means that apprenticeships provide employers with a great opportunity to build their future talent base. They are particularly helpful in areas where skills are in short supply.

Munden went on to add that Unilever UK wanted to contribute to reviving the UK economy and helping a “lost generation” enter the national workforce. Youth unemployment is among the top challenges to ensuring sustainable livelihoods. People who remain unemployed for an extended period in their youth have worse job prospects later in life. Apprenticeships are a great way to kill two birds with one stone: give young people a good start in their career journey and secure the nation’s future talent base, Munden said.

Commenting on this story, Stephen Smyth spokesman for #Apprentice Training provider ATG Training said: This is the time of year when young people’s thoughts turn to the future as they anxiously await their exam results.  For many, going to uni seems to be the only option available.  But today, apprenticeships are serious contenders when it comes to choosing a career, and there is a wealth of opportunities available which can be seen on the Apprenticeship Vacancies site www.atgapprenticeships.com.

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Skills Funding Agency Announces Results Of Q3 Review

The Skills Funding Agency has published the results of its third-quarter performanceATG_trainees_270613 (2) review, confirming that it has funded in full all apprenticeship requests. The agency pointed out in its statement that the outcome showed its commitment to serving the best interests of learners and employers and helping the UK government achieve its goals for further education and skills.

The third-quarter review showed that all funding requests for 16-18 Apprenticeships were granted, as were those for 19+ Apprenticeships where employers had met in full their funding obligations. For apprentices aged between 19 and 24, the government covers half of the training costs and employers are expected to contribute the rest.

The Skills Funding Agency announced that it would provide an additional £12 million in the 2012/2013 contract year in support of adult apprenticeships. The extra amount allocated for 16-18 apprenticeships stands at £6.4 million. These increases will be consolidated in the Maximum Contract Values (MCVs) for the next contract year. The agency also confirmed that providers’ contract values support funding for English and maths qualifications for every learner currently participating in an apprenticeship programme.

Aside from the aforementioned additional funds, the agency will distribute £7.7 million among providers with a track record of helping unemployed young people secure jobs. This allocation will not be consolidated into MCVs for the 2013/2014 contract year.

As of this August, the Skills Funding Agency will no longer contribute to the training costs of 24+ apprentices enrolled in advanced or higher apprenticeship programmes. It will be up to employers and trainees to cover the costs, with expectations that each party will contribute a portion of the necessary amount.

 

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