Since the start of 2014, the number of apprenticeships accessible every month has skyrocketed by over 87% when compared to their average number last year, according to figures published by Reed.co.uk.
The report also shows that apprenticeship opportunities in May increased by a staggering 143% year-on-year. The findings reveal that businesses in the UK are now offering unseen amounts of possibilities for young people, a trend that is mainly attributed to the country’s economic recovery, said Mark Rhodes, author of the report.
The increase in apprenticeships is not limited to traditional trades and labour. The greatest demand for apprentices last month was in the technology and business sectors. The Reed website posted 944 apprenticeship openings solely in May, with business administration accounting for 370 of the total and IT and telecom positions numbering 243. The strongest expansion in the number of available apprenticeship positions was in the retail and construction & property sectors: 483% and 360%, respectively.
Apprenticeships offer a valuable and practical opportunity for youngsters who are currently completing their GCSEs, A-levels and other qualifications, in the words of James Reed, chairman of Reed.co.uk. They open the door to a skilled career, and can be a favourable alternative compared to university, Reed added.
Apprenticeships can also provide a solution to businesses that are experiencing a shortage of skills required for their operations, Reed continued. Sectors like engineering, technology and manufacturing can address the issue by developing the skills and talents they need in the workforce in the way that suits them.
Apprenticeships, especially advanced apprenticeships, can truly change a young person’s life. Training on the job equips people with skills that make them highly attractive to employers, thus paving the way to professional success and a rewarding career. Moreover, new government figures show that an apprenticeship can become the gateway to higher education.
The latest statistics came via Skills Minister Matthew Hancock, who highlighted the importance of apprenticeships during his speech at a conference organised by Barclays and the Business Service Association. The research project producing the new figures has been running since 2005/2006. According to the 2014 update, nearly 20% of people completing an advanced apprenticeship progressed to higher education. In comparison, the proportion amounted to 15% in the preceding year. Since the launch of this tracker, over 32,000 young Britons have followed their advanced apprenticeship with higher education.
Commenting on the numbers for 2014, Hancock noted that they offered further proof of the value of apprenticeships. Vocational training gives young people the qualifications they need to build lasting, successful careers, he added. The research has also uncovered that some apprentices progressing into higher education come from underprivileged backgrounds, which means they are less likely to go from school/college straight to university. In this way, advanced apprenticeships are also proving important for the promotion of social mobility, helping people from more disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue further learning.
Hancock also used his speech to once again draw attention to the popularity of higher apprenticeships and he reiterated the government’s commitment to support the creation of another 20,000 higher apprenticeships in the two years ahead.
As vocational training garners more and more attention, so does the role of schools as key providers of career advice. It is essential that young people receive sufficient information about all their options because it has become clear that academic learning is definitely not the only route to professional success. Last month, the UK government amended its guidance on the provision of career advice in schools, calling for “fair and balanced information” on all options for young people. The move has been welcomed by the Edge Foundation although the education charity believes that the recommendations listed in the government document should have been made requirements.
In an article for FE News, Edge CEO Jan Hodges said the organisation was also pleased with the attention given to employers, more specifically the importance of getting them involved in the provision of career advice and guidance. Research carried out by the Education and Employers Taskforce has revealed that young people derive significant benefits and improve their career prospects through initiatives like careers talks, visits to business premises and work experience.
But there are certain aspects of the revised guidance Edge is not happy with. According to its policy and research director David Harbourne, the government has still left schools with too much discretion in the matter of career advice. As Harbourne notes, the “shoulds” in the new guidance far outstrip the “musts” and this could only perpetuate existing practices. Earlier in 2014, an Edge survey revealed that only one-third of students opting for vocational training felt their school stood behind their choice. Furthermore, nearly 25% were told that vocational education was not for them because they were “too clever.” Unless the government enforces the new guidance and turns the recommendations into requirements, too many schools will adhere to old practices, promoting academic pursuits at the expense of vocational qualifications, Hodges said.
Our Spring newsletter is now available online. Featuring #Apprenticeship awards, a young lady who joins CERN, the Brathay challenge and tips on how to avoid exam stress and being safe online, the magazine has some useful information whilst being a fun read.
Click the link to see it in a page turning format, or email us for a hard copy. email@example.com
The UK government is convinced that apprenticeships will help the country build a robust skills base and ensure its future prosperity. Employers that run apprenticeship schemes have also come to realise the benefits of training young people on the job. Apprentices themselves are full of praise for the experience and the career opportunities it opens up. But for all the accolades and government support, an alarming proportion of young people remain ignorant about this career path, with teachers and parents doing little to help youngsters make informed choices, according to the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA).
The organisation made these comments after the publication of data revealing very low awareness of apprenticeships among young people. Research by the Association of Colleges has established that only 17% of boys and 12% of girls consider apprenticeships as a career option. And according to a One Poll survey, only 25% of apprentices have chosen that road with support from their parents, while only a third have received such support from their school.
ECA skills ambassador Diane Johnson said the statistics painted a worrying picture but not really a surprising one. For decades on end, school leavers have been pushed to consider an academic degree their only route to professional success. The government has been changing that but the contribution from teachers and parents remains very small. Young people need to receive all the information necessary to choose the right path for them and this cannot be achieved unless the public realises the value of apprenticeships, especially in traditional craft industries, Johnson added.
As the global demand for electronic products continues to grow, so to do opportunities
Pictured next to a Diamond X-Ray machine manufactured in Aylesbury:
Neil Pearce, Marc Innes, Ian Harper, Samantha Booth
for Aylesbury-based firm Nordson DAGE, the market leading provider of award winning test and Inspection systems for destructive and non-destructive mechanical testing and inspection of electronic components. Nordson DAGE is a division of Nordson Corporation (NASDAQ: NDSN).
The Company has expanded its facilities in the UK to better serve its international blue-chip clients, who continue to demand the firm’s high technology products manufactured in Aylesbury and exported around the globe.
With a well developed Apprenticeship scheme, the company has been in a position to offer Apprenticeship places to local young people. Recently Marc Innes joined the organisation in a production capacity having been recognised as a young engineer with exceptional potential.
Marc recently finished his initial Apprenticeship training with ATG Training in Aylesbury in December, and having impressed his training officers, he won an award for his work. This was recognised with a presentation at the offices of Nordson DAGE when Chief Executive of ATG Training – Ian Harper, presented the award to Marc alongside his Production Team Leader – Neil Pearce and HR Generalist – Samantha Booth.
Marc is an ambitious young man and is already manufacturing products under supervision for blue chip international clients. He is already thinking ahead and is considering studying an HNC once the first year of his Apprenticeship training programme is complete.
“I strongly support the Apprenticeship programme here at Nordson DAGE. The depth of engineering, technology, manufacturing and other experience will hopefully provide Marc with a solid platform for his career.” Phil Vere, President of Nordson DAGE
The recent positive signs of economic growth are being demonstrated by Cressex based firm EIS-Axon. The firm has moved to larger premises in Stirling Road as a result of a healthy order book with national blue-chip clients generating demand for the electrical engineering control solution products manufactured in High Wycombe. This demand has led to Directors Paul Kelley & Ken Clarke employing a new Apprentice – Harry Weald. Harry recently finished initial Apprenticeship training with ATG Training in Aylesbury in December, and having impressed his training officers, he won an award for his work. This was recognised with a presentation at the offices of EIS-Axon when Chief Executive of ATG Training – Ian Harper presented the award to Harry in front of the assembled workforce. Harry is an ambitious young man and is already manufacturing products under supervision for the new Nestle plant in Tutbury near Burton on Trent. He is already thinking ahead to study for an HNC once he has the first year of his Apprenticeship training programme is complete.
Harry Weald receiving his Apprentice Award from Ian Harper
Pictured: Ian Harper CEO ATG Training – left, presenting Apprentice Award to Harry Weald EIS-Axon
Apprentices are not only a means for employers to prevent future skills gaps in their workforce. Young people who start their career journey with an apprenticeship have a good chance of securing management positions at the company training them. What is more, former apprentices can go as high as the boardroom, with 20% of employers found to have a former apprentice currently holding a board-level position.
Research undertaken to coincide with the third annual City & Guilds Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list provides further proof of the value employers place on apprentices and their commitment to offering former trainees the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder. According to the findings, 33% of participating employers have former apprentices in various management positions.
A separate survey among companies making it into the list further highlights the value of apprenticeships and the opportunities open to young people choosing that path. An impressive 89% of respondents said that they would take the apprenticeship route if they were embarking on their career journey now. It also emerged that the average employer had former apprentices occupying 30% of senior management positions.
How long does it take for an apprentice to rise through the ranks and secure a management role? According to 51% of employers, trainees are looking at an average of five years before reaching such a position, while 33% specified the same length of time for non-apprentices.
When former apprentices are promoted to management positions, they bring various skills to the job and the highest rated among them is knowledge of the business, which was listed by 98% of interviewees. The top three skills list is completed by job experience (95%) and industry specific skills (93%).
With a host of Apprenticeships currently available in the Thames Valley, applications are sought for the roles available on www.atgapprenticeships.com.
An example of the interesting opportunities companies offer is Rolls-Royce Motor Cars who are looking for apprentices, with the successful applicants set to start in August 2014, the company announced this week.
The Apprenticeship Programme will select young people who will join forces with the company’s teams in various roles, including assembly, engineering, paint, wood and leather, Rolls-Royce said.
This will be the seventh consecutive year of the company’s Apprenticeship Programme. It is open to people aged between 16 and 24 and provides applicants with the chance to be trained at a leading engineering company and to experience luxury car manufacturing processes first-hand. The programme has been developed in collaboration with the Learning Skills Council and several colleges.
Those that are approved for the apprenticeship will go through a training scheme lasting up to four years, while at the same time studying for nationally recognised qualifications, the company explained. Recently the programme was extended to cover business areas, and the first business apprentices were selected this year.
The recruitment process has been designed to ensure that only the best applicants are chosen. Those that successfully complete the apprenticeship will be given the opportunity to stay with the company and continue to advance in their professional paths.
Young people who want to take part in Rolls-Royce’s Apprenticeship Programme can apply online on the company website.
Oxfordshire is reaping the benefits of its ongoing efforts to make apprenticeships more attractive to young people. According to the Oxford Mail, more applicants are matched with employers in Oxfordshire than in any other region of the south east.
Through the joint efforts of Oxfordshire County Council and the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), school leavers and young people considering a career change are getting access to information about apprenticeships. The partners are also organising various events for employers, paying particular attention to bolstering their ties with schools. The latter adds to efforts aimed at addressing youth unemployment and the skills gap issue.
NAS account manager for Oxfordshire Steve Nicolson said that the events targeting employers were helping to dispel various myths about apprenticeships, while seminars and workshops designed for young people were slowly but surely raising the profile of vocational training among potential apprentices. The NAS and county leaders are also very keen to find ways of promoting further engagement between employers and schools, Nicolson added.
According to the latest NAS data, online apprenticeship applications in Oxfordshire rose from 4,000 to 4,590 over the past year, which amounts to an increase of 15%. At the same time, vacancies posted online jumped by 42%, meaning that their number went from 850 to 1,204. While eight applicants are vying for every vacancy across the south east, the figure for Oxfordshire is just over three. Among the most popular sectors for apprenticeships are business administration, law, engineering, arts, media and publishing.