Boris Johnson Doubles Apprenticeship Incentive for London SMEs

London Mayor Boris Johnson aims to bolster the uptake of apprenticeships by small andATG_BorisJohnson_180613 medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the capital by doubling the grant normally available to employers recruiting an apprentice. Johnson has set aside £1.5 million for that purpose in a move that could help a thousand young people join apprenticeship programmes at London companies, notgoingtouni.co.uk has reported.

Companies taking on an apprentice typically receive an incentive payment amounting to £1,500. However, Johnson is offering SMEs £3,000 as part of his campaign to create more employment opportunities for young Londoners. Johnson recently provided further evidence of his support for apprenticeships by launching a scheme that allows apprentices to reduce their London travel costs by as much as 30%.

As a result of Johnson’s work with the National Apprenticeship Service, the number of apprenticeships created in the capital since 2010 has exceeded 100,000. The mayor has set himself the goal of lifting that number to 250,000 by the end of 2016.

Commenting on the latest initiative, Johnson pointed out that SMEs were the backbone of London’s economy and a key provider of employment opportunities for local young people. Businesses that have recruited apprentices are already aware of the benefits to be had, including a boost to profitability. The aim is to encourage more companies to join the apprenticeship push. The latest incentive is targeted at SMEs, and business owners from all over London should grab the opportunity it presents. As they reap the benefits associated with apprentices, local SMEs will also help drive the wider London economy, Johnson added.

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Opening Doors Campaign Seeks To Level Playing Field For Young Job Seekers

UK companies of all sizes are being called upon to make jobs available to young peopleATG Apprenticeships from all walks of life. This appeal is at the core of the Opening Doors campaign launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who has partnered with entrepreneur James Caan for the initiative. The aim is to ensure fair and open access to job opportunities for all talented young Britons, helping them on the way to their chosen career through the provision of work experience, internships and apprenticeships.

Reporting the news on its website, the National Apprenticeship Service said that more than 150 major UK companies had already joined the initiative. They have pledged to open their doors to any deserving young person regardless of his or her social background. As part of the campaign, Clegg has also asked Caan to set up the Opening Doors Award. Caan will do that together with Peter Searle, chief executive of leading UK recruiter Adecco Group. Caan and Searle will act as judges and the awards will be handed out later this year, recognising companies that have done exceptional work in levelling the playing field for all young Britons in search of work opportunities.

Judging by the findings of a YouGov survey, Opening Doors is definitely needed. Conducted for the campaign, the research produced results indicating that young Britons from underprivileged backgrounds find it harder to access work opportunities in the industry of their choice. Among representatives of higher social grades, 33% of people aged 16 to 25 said they were already working in their chosen industry. However, this applied to only 5% of young Brits in lower social grades.

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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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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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Government Unveils Traineeship Programme

Starting this August, the government is making available traineeships for young

ATG Training Apprentice

ATG Training Apprentice

people between the ages of 16 and 19 and those with Learning Difficulty Assessments up to an academic age of 25. The plan is to extend the scheme at a later point to include young people up to 24 years of age, the Skills Funding Agency has announced.

Traineeships are intended to assist youngsters willing to work but requiring extra help to secure an apprenticeship or a job. The programme, which will last for six months at the most, is developed with individual learner needs in mind. It will provide participants with the opportunity to build their skills and gain workplace experience relevant to employers, thus improving their chances of securing a job.

The programme will focus on putting young people in high quality work placements, providing them with work preparation training and helping them with English and maths. Training providers and employers will be free to combine those elements in a manner that best engages and supports trainees, laying the foundations for future skills and careers.

Eligible providers will play a central part in the coordination of traineeships with local employers. Providers will also play a leading role in engaging trainees and ensuring they satisfy the eligibility criteria laid out the Framework Document. Employers will play an equally important role, assuming responsibility for providing high quality work placements in partnership with training providers.

The Skills Funding Agency said that it would publish a list of eligible providers and traineeship funding rules this week.

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