Schools Should Involve More Employers and Training Providers In Career Advice Provision

Last September, schools became legally responsible for providing impartial careerATG_career-advice_170913 advice to students aged 14 to 16. Last week, Ofsted reported the findings of its review into the quality of this service, noting that very few of the 60 schools inspected provided a comprehensive, effective service or had the necessary skills and expertise to do so. In response to the Ofsted report, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) has issued a statement calling on schools to open their doors to more employers and training providers.

AELP chief executive Stewart Segal said the organisation was pleased with the fact that Ofsted had commended the practice of schools inviting local companies and training providers to talk to students and inform them about apprenticeships and other forms of vocational training. The AELP hopes that the revised guidelines include an emphasis on the acceptance of this practice by all schools, including educational establishments with sixth forms. This has become a necessity in light of the growing number of students with good A-Level results choosing to pursue an apprenticeship instead of a university course, Segal said.

He went on to note that training providers could prove critical contributors in the effort to make career advice an effective and transparent service. They can be instrumental in establishing ties with local schools and can also provide support to employers keen on developing relationships with schools and sixth-form colleges. Hopefully, the report will lead to greater transparency on the part of schools when it comes to their provision of career advice and will make them more open to suggestions from employers and training providers, Segal concluded.

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Apprenticeship Making A Young Man’s Engineering Dream Come True

Young people with the lofty ambition of becoming an aeronautical engineer probably thinkATG_Airbus_050913 that their only route to accomplishing that is university. However, they would be quite wrong, as illustrated by the case of 24-year-old Mike Hollings. The young man is working towards his degree while also accumulating hands-on experience thanks to his decision three years ago to disregard careers advice and go for an apprenticeship. Mike has shared his story with the Huffington Post for its Apprentice Of The Week series.

Mike hails from Rossett, Wrexham and is about to begin his third year of apprenticeship at aerospace giant Airbus. As he told the Huffington Post, becoming an engineer had always been his dream and his school teachers invariably told him to prepare for university. However, Mike opted for another solution: an apprenticeship at the Airbus plant in Broughton. He thought it combined the best of two worlds: work experience and academic study. Moreover, he liked the idea of getting paid while training and obtaining a degree without running up a pile of debts.

Mike pointed out that students did not get information about working conditions in the industry. In his case, for example, he was surprised to find that the plant was a very clean and well-organised place. He went on to add that young people were sometimes put off by the lower wages apprentices earn but taking everything into consideration, it is actually a great deal. Mike said he could afford to run a car and pay for a holiday every year, not to mention that he will have spared himself massive debts for tuition fees. He concluded by strongly recommending the apprenticeship option, noting that it provides young people with an excellent start to their career.

Make your dreams come true through an Apprenticeship with ATG Training.

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Apprenticeship Applications Jump By 32% And Vacancies Up By 27%

The latest figures published by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) show thatATG_BusinessAdmin_030913 apprenticeship applications filed online rose by 32% in the past year. This brought the number of young people making a bid at vocational training to 1,403,920.

Reflecting the growing popularity of apprenticeships among employers, vacancies increased by 27% in 2012/2013, or from 101,000 to 129,000. However, an average of 11 applicants are now competing for a position, which prompted Skills Minister Matthew Hancock to urge more employers to join the apprenticeship drive. This will only play to their advantage, considering the benefits they stand to gain by taking on an apprentice, he said. In the latest survey by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), 72% of employers said that apprentices contributed to higher product or service quality, while 68% said that apprenticeships improved their ability to attract good workers.

In the past year, Business and Administration remained the most popular category among apprenticeship candidates, with 384,840 applications submitted online. The second place went to Children and Young People’s Workforce with 102,450, while Customer Service remained third with 98,210. The top five was rounded off by IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professional (83,760) and Vehicle Maintenance and Repair (67,750), which switched places this time.

In terms of vacancies posted, the first four categories were the same as in the previous year. Business and Administration remained the leader with 31,558 positions advertised online. Customer Service maintained its second place with 12,091 vacancies, Hospitality and Catering held on to its third position with 8,372 and Children and Young People’s Workforce remained fourth with 7,043. The change in the top five ranking was the addition of IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Professional, which climbed from number six to number five with 6,486 vacancies.

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Parents Score Poorly On The Apprenticeship Test

Many young Brits may miss the opportunity of a lifetime because of parental prejudice andATG_parent_270813 ignorance, according to Semta’s chief executive Sarah Sillars. This has to do with the fact that most parents have little idea what an apprenticeship is and insist that their children follow the academic route, even though this may not be the best choice for them.

Research conducted on behalf of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) has revealed that over 55% of parents cannot say whether a Higher Apprenticeship is a qualification equal to or better than a university degree. Only 18% of the 1,200 people polled knew that it actually is. In addition, 41% voiced the belief that a degree is rated highest by employers but previous research has shown that young people who have completed a Higher Apprenticeship have greater appeal for employers than university graduates.

Sillars said that parental ignorance and prejudice were not only costing the UK economy dearly but also preventing many young people from taking the vocational route and achieving great things. Parents must do their homework so that they can help their children make an informed choice and follow the best road into the future. The situation in the UK stands in sharp contrast to that in Germany and Korea, for example, where apprentices are celebrated and “treated like rock stars,” as Sillars put it. If the UK is to succeed in building its future talent base and pave the way to lasting prosperity, apprenticeships must be encouraged and parents need to get their facts straight so that they can really give their children worthwhile advice, Sillars stated.

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Young People Need Greater Awareness Of Apprenticeship Opportunities

A-level results are out and young Brits are preparing for life after school, which for most ATG_youngpeople_200813 involves either getting a job or pursuing a university degree. There is also the option to combine work and further study through an apprenticeship programme and 55% say they would consider this route. The problem is that most young people between the ages of 14 and 25 are unaware of the wide range of opportunities available for the apprenticeship-minded, Online Recruitment magazine reports on its website.

Companies of all sizes are embracing apprenticeships and new sectors are joining the list of enthusiastic recruiters but young people know little about it, according to the latest Barclays LifeSkills Barometer. Manufacturing firms and retailers have long established themselves as top apprentice employers and youngsters are aware of that, with 69% and 44% respectively stating so. However, the situation looks quite different when it comes to awareness about apprenticeship opportunities in other sectors. Hospitality and leisure companies, for example, are some of the best apprentice recruiters and 44% of them plan to take on apprentices this year. However, 56% of young people have no idea that apprenticeships can give them entry into these sectors. Only 33% said they were aware of newer qualifications in the travel sector, while the respective proportions for healthcare and insurance were even lower at 25% and 24%.

According to Mike Thompson, the person in charge of Barclays’ employability programmes, the number and breadth of apprenticeships on offer is fantastic news for school leavers. However, it is clear that employers and education providers must join forces to increase awareness among young people and inform them of ways to access those opportunities, Thompson added.

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Hancock Details Vocational Education Reforms In Letter To FE Sector

The UK government is introducing a swathe of reforms to vocational training to align it withATG_businesstraining_080813 the needs of employers and learners. The ultimate goal of the changes is to prepare young people for life and employment and ensure that the country has the skilled workforce it needs. At the end of July, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock set out the details in a letter sent to further education (FE) stakeholders. It came with an annex listing the reforms that will take place by 2015.

As of next month, there will be changes in the funding and content of study programmes to reflect the fact that young people now have to remain in education or training until 17. This means finishing the academic year during which they reach that age. Funding for study programmes will be provided on a ‘per student’ basis, enabling youngsters to pursue courses that open the door to further technical or academic study, an apprenticeship, a job or work-based training. This year will also see changes in post-16 work experience, the introduction of traineeships and supported internships for 16 to 24 year olds and people with learning difficulties aged 16 to 25 and new requirements for English and Maths qualifications.

The study programmes will also provide the foundation for Tech Levels. As Hancock announced early in July, those aged 16 to 19 will be given the opportunity to do a course that gives them qualifications recognised by employers and higher education institutions. This reform will be introduced in September 2014. Successful completion of Tech Level qualifications followed by a Level 3 Core Maths qualification and an Extended Project will put the students on a par with Technical Baccalaureate holders. The government is also working on reforms to Level 2 qualifications for 16 to 19 year olds.

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Apprenticeship Grant For Employers Extended To December 2014

The UK government announced last week that the grant for employers taking on apprentices aged 16 to 24 would be extended for another year. The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)ATG_funding_060813 has updated its fact sheet, providing detailed information on eligibility criteria both for employers and apprentices, the steps required to apply for the grant and the payment mechanism. The document also includes information about the enhanced grant available to London employers.

AGE 16 to 24 (Apprenticeship Grant for Employers of 16 to 24 year olds) amounts to £1,500 and is provided to employers with fewer than 1,000 workers in the UK. In order to qualify, they must be either recruiting their first apprentice or the first one in 12 months. They must also commit to keeping the apprentice on their payroll for as long as it takes to complete the training programme. For eligible employers, AGE 16 to 24 will be available until the end of December 2014.

In the case of apprentices, eligibility criteria include the specified age range and a requirement that they be new recruits. They must also reside in England and be applying for an apprenticeship programme recognised by the Skills Funding Agency. In addition, apprentices must not be engaged in full-time education.

For businesses with London borough postcodes there is an enhanced AGE 16 to 24, the amount available being £3,000. Eligible employers must apply for this by 31 December 2013. The additional amount for London businesses comes from funds provided by the London Enterprise Panel (LEP).

The application process involves the signing of an agreement between the employer and the chosen training provider and this must be done before the start of the apprenticeship. The qualification point for receipt of the grant is the completion of 13 weeks ‘in-learning’.

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UK To See Growth Of Over 50% In Apprentice Numbers By 2018

The number of apprentices in the UK is projected to reach 800,000 within five years, amounting to growth of more than 50%, Online Recruitment magazine has reported.

The forecast comes from Alexander Mann Solutions, a globally operating specialist in talentATG_apprentices_010813 acquisition and management. Its head of client services, Tim Campbell, was named Apprenticeship Ambassador for the Mayor of London. As Campbell told OnRec, a growing number of bright young Britons are choosing apprenticeships instead of university and this is great news for employers. In fact, both parties stand to reap significant benefits. Companies get motivated, enthusiastic new employees, while apprentices get to build valuable workplace skills and confidence. Campbell noted that about 80% of employers consider the presence of apprentices among their staff as conducive to greater productivity.

In 2012 the UK apprentice army numbered 520,600, which translates into an increase of 14% compared to 2011. In addition, almost 75% of apprentices now finish their training successfully as opposed to 50% in 2006.

At present, the most popular sectors among apprenticeship candidates are business administration and retail. They jointly account for over 50% of all apprenticeships. Next on the popularity list are healthcare, public services, engineering, manufacturing and construction. The sharpest increase in apprentice numbers has been recorded in London, where the growth rate is estimated at an impressive 132%. Second place is occupied by the North East with a similarly impressive expansion of 107%. The South West has made the smallest progress but its 60% rise in apprentice numbers is still a solid result.

Having seen the figures, Stephen Smyth, spokesman for ATG Training remarked that the growth in employer confidence had been reflected in the number of Apprenticeship vacancies seen on the website  However, many roles are due to close, so young people should apply before they took their holidays as the opportunities will be closed soon.

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NAS Unveils New Resources For Employers To Help With Apprentice Recruitment

The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) announced on Friday the launch of several new measures that aim to provide guidance for employers and help them recruit apprentices.

To begin with, the collection has been expanded with the addition of two new films:ATG_apprentice_300713 “How to hire an apprentice” and “Why hire an apprentice.” The NAS has used real employers’ stories to address issues such who to approach initially, the importance of evaluating business needs, the selection of the right training provider and the way to begin recruiting.

The list of new measures also includes Jason Holt’s appointment as Apprenticeship Ambassador for smaller companies. And there is a new online search tool (“Find an Apprenticeship Training Organisation”), which provides employers with new data on training organisations. This means that companies will be able to find local training providers with ease. Another new tool, AV Live, makes it easy to get information on apprenticeship vacancies. AV Live, which is currently in beta trial, automatically updates and displays this data.

NAS chief executive David Way said that these new resources offered employers easy access to all the information they require in order to recruit an apprentice. The NAS is hopeful that its additional help will make more employers realise the benefits of apprenticeships and encourage them to take on apprentices, Way added.

Earlier on Friday, it was announced that the £1500 apprenticeship grant would be extended for another year. This is paid to companies with fewer than 1,000 employees for hiring apprentices aged 16 to 24. Thanks to the grant, more than 30,000 young people have been given the opportunity to join apprenticeship programmes, the NAS said.

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Engineering Skills Shortage Looms Large For UK Employers

With many Engineering Apprenticeship roles available at and talented young people currently seeking their future roles, Marketing Manager Stephen Smyth saw this topical article. 

The UK economy appears to have embarked on the road to recovery and manufacturing is picking up steam but the shortage of engineering talent poses a threat to sustained growth. While a large number of young Britons come out of university with engineering qualifications,ATG_engineering_230713 only a small proportion of them go into full-time employment as engineers and some companies find that their recruits do not have the particular skills set required. As demand for engineers keeps growing, apprenticeships have become one way of solving the problem although a concerted effort is required to promote the profession among young people and raise the standards of training, according to an article in E&T Magazine.

The challenge facing employers was highlighted in the latest annual report published by EngineeringUK. The organisation estimates that the sector will need 87,000 new workers with engineering skills every year through to 2020. University graduates cannot meet that demand since their number stands at around 46,000 per year. As a result, the government, employers and industry bodies are turning their attention to engineering apprenticeships. Semta, the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies, has supported the creation of new apprenticeships in the sector, helping to lift their number from 1,035 in 2011/2012 to 1,393 by this April. Bill Twigg, apprenticeship director at Semta, said that a growing number of companies were coming to recognise the benefit of apprenticeships and setting up training programmes.

One of the main problems is making an engineering career attractive to UK youngsters and encouraging them to study the required technical subjects. Among the initiatives designed to achieve this are the Big Bang Fair, Make It In Great Britain and Tomorrow’s Engineers. Another key issue is developing training programmes that are demand-led, meaning that they teach the skills employers really need, the article pointed out.

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