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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Faringdon Youngsters Bet On Apprenticeships To Realise Engineering Dream

UK employers and industry organisations use every opportunity to sound the alarm over theATG_design1_301013 impending shortage of engineering skills. The government is hoping that apprenticeships will provide a solution to the problem and numerous efforts are being made to raise their profile among young Britons. Sometimes youngsters do not need any help to realise that the best route to their desired profession is an apprenticeship. This is the case with two 18-year-olds in Faringdon, Oxfordshire, who have opted for vocational training over university in pursuit of their engineering dreams, the Oxford Times has reported.

The two youngsters are Patrick Andrews and Jake Thompson, who have begun their apprenticeships at engineering and building consultancy QODA Consulting. Jake has previously worked on assorted Tower of London projects, while Patrick has contributed to plans for a Gloucestershire biomass energy centre.

Commenting on his decision, Jake said that an apprenticeship offered him the opportunity to get hands-on experience in the field he had chosen. Jake noted that engineering had always held an attraction for him but since school-based learning had never been his thing, vocational training provided him with the perfect solution. He also said that a university course would have given him far less knowledge than his training on the job.

ATG_design2_301013Patrick listed several reasons that had made him choose an apprenticeship over university. The training he receives will pave the way for a sponsored degree but that is only one of the advantages. The young man noted that he was secure in the knowledge that he had a paid job and would end up with practical experience that a university degree could not bestow.

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Quality Is Key To Making Apprenticeships High-Status Option, Says IfL Chief

No economy stands a chance of sustainable growth unless it has a steady supply ofATG_training-quality_171013 skilled workers. The importance of apprenticeships for ensuring that supply is profound and widely acknowledged. But there is still some way to go before vocational training is unanimously perceived as a highly attractive and highly regarded opportunity for young people starting their career journey and adults looking to enter a new professional field. The key to achieving that is quality and it should be associated with all apprenticeships, regardless of the company offering them, according to Toni Fazaeli, CEO of the Institute for Learning.

In an article for the Information Daily, Fazaeli says that world-class apprenticeships are characterised by three things. Firstly, they offer training at a very high standard, both on and off the job, and this training is delivered by professionals with level 5 qualifications. Secondly, a top-quality apprenticeship includes excellent maths and English tuition because literacy and numeracy are considered crucial for employability and career progression. Finally, young people will not be attracted to vocational training unless successful apprentices can count on status and definite career prospects.

Fazaeli notes further that the media should do more to give apprenticeships the coverage they deserve. It can hardly be expected of young people to consider apprenticeships as an option when schools and universities dominate the news. Part of the responsibility for spreading the word also lies with school career advisers, who should take every opportunity to inform young people about the variety of careers they can pursue through apprenticeships.

Engineering Apprenticeships offer some of the highest quality training and career prospects’ said ATG Training spokesman Stephen Smyth. ‘We have a number of such vacancies available to young people and they can apply online here’.

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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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NIACE Chief Calls For Stakeholder Cooperation To Support Apprentices

When it comes to apprenticeships, everyone is in agreement: the government, employers,ATG_warehouse_031013training providers and learners are convinced that apprenticeships deliver benefits for all stakeholders. While they are all keen on promoting apprenticeships, they must deepen their cooperation to achieve an even more important goal, according to David Hughes. The CEO of the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) has called for a wider agreement to ensure that apprentices get support to acquire skills that will serve them not only in their present job but throughout their careers.

Hughes was among the members of an FE Week panel at a Labour Party conference fringe event discussing the future of apprenticeships. The event took place last week just as the Labour Party Skills Task Force released a report titled “A revolution in apprenticeships: a something-for-something deal with employers.” Hughes outlined his views in an article for the FE Week website, publishing his piece the day after the discussion.

One of the key points he made was the need for a wider definition of apprenticeships so that it can better describe the quality of the training experience and the outcomes. This definition should take into consideration input from apprentices, employers and training organisations and all of them need to be in agreement. Hughes said it was his greatest desire to see the creation of a Quality Charter that would reflect the apprentice perspective and would be developed together with apprentices. This would provide a guarantee that trainees will have the necessary skills to build lasting, rewarding careers.

Hughes added that it was extremely important to make apprenticeships available to every person, without regard for their age or occupation. He also urged employers to provide more training opportunities to black people and ethnic minorities and individuals with a disability or learning difficulties.

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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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