Common Misconceptions That Keep Youngsters Away From Apprenticeships

More and more UK school leavers are becoming aware that university is not the rightATG_youngapprentice_040214 path for them. However, they have limited information about their alternatives, most notably apprenticeships. Vocational training is considered crucial for building the UK’s future talent base but how can young people be expected to go for that if they don’t have enough information? This issue was the subject of a recent Guardian Professional article, which explored the most common myths about apprenticeships and dispelled them by highlighting the key facts.

To youngsters worried about not having a real job, author Hannah Friend explains that most apprenticeships are actually a full-time occupation. Guidance provided by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) states that apprentices must work a minimum of 30 hours a week, which is slightly less than the 37.5 hours required under regular contracts. Moreover, the minimum duration of an apprenticeship must be 12 months but many programmes stretch for up to four years.

Many young people also fear that an apprenticeship does not offer them security. However, their contract will typically give them all rights enjoyed by other employees, as well as the same employment and career progress opportunities.

Another common myth has to do with the affordability of apprenticeships but school leavers have nothing to worry about on that count: the training costs are covered by the government and employers. As for low pay, that is also a common misconception. The minimum starts at £2.68 per hour but the amount grows over time and research has found that the average apprentice earns a net £200 weekly.

Another myth stopping youngsters from pursuing the apprenticeship route is the erroneous belief that their job prospects will not be improved. This is definitely not the case and numerous studies have provided proof to the contrary. According to recent research by the Office for National Statistics, 85% of apprentices stay in employment and 64% get a job at the company where they completed their training.

Many youngsters also labour under the misconception that an apprenticeship will leave them without a qualification. Depending on the programme they choose (intermediate, advanced or higher), they can finish their training with a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ); a Functional Skills qualification, a technical certificate, a Higher National Diploma (HND) or a foundation degree.

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27% Of University Graduates Have Lower Income Than Former Apprentices

Many young people have worked hard to get into university, sustained by the hope that ATG_employees_230114their efforts will pay off in the form of enhanced lifetime earnings. This is what politicians usually use as their argument when they want to push more young people towards academic study. However, new figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate that an apprenticeship could prove more valuable for many youngsters. The website Not Going to Uni has done some calculations which show that graduates can end up earning less than employees who have completed an apprenticeship.

According to the ONS research, 27% of university graduates currently earn less than former apprentices. In addition, 26% of lower-paid graduates were found to be doing part-time jobs, while the proportion for employees with an apprenticeship was 11%.

Not Going to Uni delves deeper into the matter, tackling some numbers typically cited by politicians defending their focus on academic study. According to the most popular statistics, a university degree is likely to add some £150,000 to a person’s lifetime earnings. The estimate for those with an apprenticeship on their CV is for an additional £100,000 or more. But there is one major flaw in these popular statistics: they do not take into account the money spent on obtaining a degree. This will cost at least £53,000 and the figure can be much higher for those studying in London. As Not Going to Uni notes, that level of debt erases any advantages a degree may offer in terms of earning power and leaves graduates with lower lifetime earnings than former apprentices.

For more information on Apprenticeships and the current vacancies that exist visit

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BMW’s UK Arm To Recruit 159 Apprentices

Around 160 young people will be selected to start an apprenticeship programme at ATG_BMWapprentices_160114BMW Group’s UK operations this year, the company has announced.

The new recruits will join the 400 that have already started their training at the company. This year’s apprenticeship programme is set to include 49 young people that will join the MINI manufacturing plants, as the company plans to ramp up production before the new model is revealed. A further 110 apprentices will be recruited in BMW and MINI dealer networks across the UK.

The MINI plant in Oxford is ready to welcome 31 young people who are willing to receive training in various positions, including engineering, IT, logistics and finance, starting in August. The Swindon plant will accept ten more apprentices, while the Hams Hall engine plant has opened eight positions. The full training course takes between three and four years, the company explained.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock welcomed the news, commenting that it is always great when a major company like BMW demonstrates that it supports young people and their professional development. The BMW apprenticeship programme is an excellent opportunity for any young person with an interest in the automotive industry to gain experience and maybe start a career in the sector, he added. Hancock also stated that he would like to see apprenticeship programmes becoming part of the norm for young people and that the number of positions opened at various businesses across industries shows that this is becoming a reality.

Commenting on the announcement, a spokesperson for ATG Training said that the Oxford City Learning Careers Fest 2014 would be taking place at the BMW Mini plant next week on 21st and 22nd January.  Many different Apprenticeship routes will be available for young people, teachers, and visitors to review.

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UK Youngsters Need More Apprenticeships, Training To Compete With Migrant Workers

Youth unemployment has become a serious problem for the UK and it may get evenATG_competition_140114 worse now that the job market is fully open to Eastern European migrants. The only way to help young Britons become competitive in the battle for jobs is to ensure that they get high-quality training or are provided with ample apprenticeship opportunities, according to entrepreneur Will Davies.

Davies, head of property maintenance firm Aspect, believes that the government and employers must intensify their efforts to address the problem of youth unemployment. Over a fifth of young Britons under the age of 24 are out of work or not in any training at the moment. This has serious implications for the job prospects of local youngsters because many Eastern Europeans arrive in the country with an apprenticeship on their CV, thus securing an edge over untrained locals, Davies told EN magazine.

The key to making young Britons competitive is betting on apprenticeships and training programmes, the entrepreneur went on to say. Migration is good for the economy of any country but it also raises the bar for local job applicants. Eastern Europeans have built a reputation for their work ethic and this has made its impact on the UK labour force by spurring local workers to improve so that they can compete for jobs. However, UK employers need to do their bit to ensure that local youngsters get access to more apprenticeship and training opportunities. This is the only way they can remain competitive in the job battle with more skilled and experienced migrant workers, Davis concluded.

Commenting on the news a spokesman for Apprenticeship training provider ATG Training pointed to the current opportunities that exist on and the National Apprenticeship Service.

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The Year In Apprenticeships: Matthew Hancock’s 2013 Highlights

When it comes to apprenticeships, 2013 can be described as nothing short of a triumph,ATG_hancock_070114 according to Skills Minister Matthew Hancock. In an article for the Huffington Post, he lists the ten most memorable events of the past year, adding that apprenticeships will remain a focal point for the government throughout 2014.

Hancock’s list begins with the tribute paid to apprenticeships in the Queen’s Speech. During the opening of Parliament, Her Majesty stressed the importance of vocational training, saying that the government aimed to make it the norm for young people who choose not to pursue the academic route. Second place on his list goes to the apprenticeship reforms announced in October and the top three is rounded off by National Apprenticeship Week.

In a major boost for apprenticeships, 2013 brought the revelation that young people with a Higher Apprenticeship under their belt are more desirable as employees than university graduates, as established by independent research. Hancock assigned fifth place on his list to the increased focus on raising the profile of apprenticeships among small and medium-sized enterprises and the measures taken to spur apprentice recruitment in that sector.

The number six slot is occupied by the Apprenticeship Awards, which are a regular annual highlight. Hancock also highlighted the launch of traineeships, whose purpose is to prepare young people for an apprenticeship as competition for available positions grows tougher.

Another event included on Hancock’s list is the launch of the Trailblazers programme. By enlisting the help of major companies from various industries, the government has moved to ensure that the apprenticeship reforms will bring the desired results, key among them being the provision of skills highly relevant to employers. In ninth place the minister listed the launch of an online tool supplying information on apprenticeship vacancies.

Hancock wrapped up his list with an event of a personal nature but one that has provided him with invaluable insight into the apprentice experience. The event in question is the Job Swap, which saw Hancock trade places with Apprentice of the Year Jenny Westworth.


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90.7% Of West Berkshire Youngsters Choose Further Education Or Apprenticeships

West Berkshire stands out as one of the areas in the South East with the highestATG_youngpeople_191213 proportion of 16- and 17-year-olds going into further education or apprenticeships upon leaving school. Among the region’s 3,210 young people, 90.7% have taken one of these routes and some of the credit goes to local employers for providing more apprenticeship opportunities, the Reading Chronicle reports.

According to the latest official statistics, which cover the 12 months to 30 June 2013, the number of West Berkshire youngsters in further education, apprenticeships or learning-based employment rose by 4.1%. Thanks to local employers, 4.5% of young people have become involved in government-backed apprenticeship schemes. This means that West Berkshire has one of the highest apprenticeship rates.

Data for the whole of England shows that 88.4% of 16- and 17-year-olds have opted for further education or vocational training after school. In the South East, the proportion stands at 87.4%.

Irene Neill, executive councillor for education for West Berkshire, said that the ongoing improvement in the area was very good news. The fact that more youngsters are choosing further education and apprenticeships bodes well for West Berkshire’s economic future since such choices will deliver benefits for young people and employers alike. But while the latest statistics are pleasing, local authorities do not intend to rest on their laurels. They will keep working to ensure that all young people have the support they need to pursue their chosen path, be it in further education or apprenticeships, Neill added.

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UK Needs Massive Increase In Advanced Engineering Apprentices Under 19

Despite its capacity for industrial growth, the UK is in danger of falling behind in theATG_apprentices_121213 global race as a result of its engineering skills gap. In its latest annual report on the state of UK engineering, industry organisation EngineeringUK has called for a doubling of the number of under 19s who take up advanced level engineering apprenticeships and says this is imperative if the country is to ensure its engineering talent pipeline.

According to the publication, the number of under 19s enrolling in advanced engineering apprenticeships dropped by 12.2% in 2011/2012, taking the figure down to 16,280. The negative trend could have an adverse impact on the UK’s growth potential, both at present and in the future. Preliminary figures for 2012/13 reveal a marginal increase in uptake within that age group, but the overall result remains in negative territory.

EngineeringUK has made a number of recommendations in its 2014 report, urging a collaborative approach to the problem. This means that the government, the engineering community, engineering companies and the education sector should work together to keep the talent supply flowing. In addition to doubling the number of under 19s doing advanced engineering apprenticeships, EngineeringUK also called for a twofold rise in engineering graduate numbers. This will be critical for meeting future demand for such graduates and will help address the shortage of physics teachers and engineering lecturers.

The report further urges support for teachers and careers advisors to help them provide students with relevant career information and increase their awareness of the various professional opportunities available in the scientific, technological and engineering sectors. Students should be made to realise the value of STEM subjects for employers and also get the opportunity for hands-on experience in a modern engineering workplace, the report noted.


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Apprenticeships Could Boost UK Economy By £4.4bn

Every apprentice who completes a learning course adds £214 every week to the tvra_economicboost_271113economy, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). A new analysis by Barclays reveals that if other industries were to increase the proportion of apprentices in the workforce to 2.2%, matching the level in admin and support services, it would boost the economy by about £4.4 billion every year.

Support services and administration have the highest proportion of apprentices, according to data from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A total of 437,787 apprenticeships need to be created in order for all industries to reach 2.2%. Industries that are well known for offering apprenticeships, such as the engineering and manufacturing sectors, would need an addition of 20,000 to reach the 2.2%. If this percentage is achieved by just these two industries, the benefits for the UK economy could be £377 million every year.

The popularity of apprenticeships is growing, but there is still huge potential for some sectors to deliver major benefits for young people and for the economy as a whole, said Mike Thompson, head of employability programmes at Barclays Retail and Business Banking. Positive results have been observed in other countries, such as in Germany, where lack of skills has been addressed and productivity has been boosted, he said. It is time to help businesses overcome the barriers holding them back from offering apprenticeships, while also encouraging more of them them to offer young people the opportunity to learn about work and the skills they need, Thompson concluded.

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Skills Show Provides Information On Training, Apprenticeships For Young People

The National Skills Show was held in Birmingham last week, introducing young peopleskillsshow_181113 to the opportunities available in traineeships, apprenticeships and work experience to help guide them into employment.

As well as the national show, a series of interactive events are being held across the UK, with local training providers, colleges and employers on hand to provide young people with support and advice on the best route to the career they want to pursue.

On 21st and 22nd January 2014 The Skills Show Experience will arrive in the Thames Valley region for the Oxford Careers Fest at BMW Group’s Mini Plant Oxford. ATG Training will be there to showcase our Engineering Apprenticeships and to offer advice and guidance to employers and students alike.

Matthew Hancock, skills and enterprise minister, said last week that experience is highly valuable to young people, no matter how they gain it – through paid or unpaid work – and it helps them get a job. The Skills Show supports all businesses that offer work experience and makes it easier to provide young people with opportunities.

According to the government, traineeships can provide employers with young people who are ready to work and have the knowledge and skills required to begin employment. Employers want people with experience and the qualifications necessary for particular jobs, Hancock pointed out. Good experience in the relevant business sector helps young people to secure employment or an apprenticeship, he added.

The traineeship scheme was launched in August this year and provides experience, skills and confidence for people aged between 16 and 23, allowing them to be competitive on the labour market and helping them secure a job or apprenticeship.

Traineeships last up to six months and offer work preparation training, including CV writing, preparation for interviews, support to improve maths skills or English, as well as a high-quality work experience placement.


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Jaguar Land Rover Targets Female Engineers With 2014 Apprenticeship Programme

Jaguar Land Rover has announced its 2014 apprenticeship recruitment programme,ATG_femaleengineer_141113 which will focus on attracting more female engineers. The carmaker will look to hire 150 new apprentices through the campaign, adding to a workforce of 500 already in apprenticeship programmes at its five sites in the United Kingdom, which offer young people a mix of academic education and hands-on experience in the automotive industry.

There are two options for applicants: either a four-year advanced apprenticeship programme that targets students at GCSE level, or a six-year higher apprenticeship programme aimed at A-level students. There is a specific focus on female applicants this year, with Jaguar Land Rover encouraging more of them to consider an engineering career in car manufacturing.

At present there are 24 women in the carmaker’s apprenticeship programme. One of them, Bethan Fernandes Philips, who is in Jaguar Land Rover’s apprenticeship programme together with her twin sister Teresa, said they had both always been passionate about engineering and the programme had given them the opportunity to pursue careers in this area.

ATG_RangeRover_141113Mike Wright, executive director at the Tata Motors-owned automotive company, commented that the carmaking industry is very competitive and the challenges and opportunities for engineering professionals are at their height. This makes it essential for Jaguar Land Rover to make sure it hires the next generation of engineers and innovators to support its growth plans for the future, he added.

Jaguar Land Rover last week reported £668 million in pre-tax profit for the third quarter of the year.


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