Young Britons looking to enter vocational training will have their quest for opportunities made 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.
Semta, the UK sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, announced yesterday the launch of a new apprenticeship framework that is expected to play a crucial role in securing the country’s future talent in the composite engineering sector.
The Composite Engineering Apprenticeship Framework is the product of collaboration between employer working groups and industry stakeholders. After consideration and debate, they have agreed on National Occupational Standards content and level for their industry. The initiative will be run by Semta’s Composite Sector Strategy Group. Announcing the launch of the framework, Semta also said that Graham Mulholland would replace Ken Wappat as chairman of the Composite Sector Strategy Group.
Commenting on the new framework, Wappat described it as the apogee of his work. He went on to say that the programme would keep the UK manufacturing sector supplied with composite skills for years to come. Mulholland added that he was thrilled to be taking over from Wappat and was looking forward to establishing working relationships with more employers, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. This is the way to ensure that the composite engineering sector always has a rich supply of skilled workers at its disposal, the incoming chairman said.
The framework seeks to provide a flexible solution for employers by offering Level 2 and Level 3 pathways. With Level 2, the focus is on semi-skilled operator occupations – an area plagued by constant skill shortages. Level 3 addresses craft skilled and technician occupations, which are seen as crucial to maintaining the global competitiveness of UK manufacturing, Semta said.
Technology plays a central role in young people’s lives and the National Apprenticeship
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Service (NAS) plans to make the most of this. Through the freshly launched “Can you hack it as an apprentice” design challenge, the NAS will kill two birds with one stone: bringing apprenticeships to the attention of more young people while giving young people themselves the chance to demonstrate their creative potential.
The competition will involve the design and development of a Facebook app or game, the plan being to have the prototype ready for launch in late summer. The five best ideas will be shortlisted and each developer will get £3,000 to bring their design to a prototype beta stage. Once testing is done, the winning developer will be granted another £10,000 to complete his or her work. The NAS will launch the product on its Facebook page in August. The competition is open to developers aged between 16 and 24 and entry forms must be submitted by 24 May 2013.
With the help of the new app or game, the NAS is aiming to increase awareness of apprenticeships and thus boost the number of young Britons entering vocational training. The initiative also seeks to address employer demands for high quality of apprenticeship applications.
The NAS has chosen to break with tradition, which would have seen the development task assigned to a creative agency. It said that by opting for an alternative course of action, the organisation is giving young people the chance to spread their creative wings and deliver a product for their peers.
The Brathay Trust charity has shortlisted the finalists for this year’s Brathay Apprentice
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Challenge, which seeks the best apprenticeship team in the UK. The eight finalists were selected among 800 individual apprentices from 90 apprenticeship employers, training providers and colleges from across the country.
The finalists were announced by skills minister Matthew Hancock and include Broadland Council Training Services (BCTS), a Norfolk-based team of apprentices from local small businesses, as well as Burnley Borough Council, last year’s winners aerospace company Cobham, Cumbria-based packaging manufacturer Innovia Films, Norwich facilities management firm Norse Group, Plymouth City Council and Unilever.
Over the past two months, applicants took part in more than 60 community projects and 280 school visits to educate young people about the benefits of being an apprentice for a person’s career development and qualifications.
The Brathay Apprentice Challenge is supported by the National Apprenticeship Service and aims to find the best apprentices in terms of non-technical work skills and personal attributes. The shortlisted finalists will take part in further fundraising and awareness raising activities in May before the winner is announced at the final event, which will be held at Brathay Trust’s headquarters in Windermere on 10-12 June.
Matthew Hancock commented that all apprentices that participated in the Challenge this year have demonstrated the remarkable ambition and dedication they deliver to their employers on a daily basis. The selected finalists can be a real inspiration to young people who are thinking of becoming apprentices, he added.
In 2008, Cranfield School of Management and e-learning provider learndirect published a report called “Nurturing Talent: building the workforce of the future.” Five years later they have taken another look at the situation, focusing on youth employment and the role of apprenticeships in the overall picture. The new report concludes that apprenticeships are vital for building a sustainable UK labour force and creating employment opportunities for more people. It also stresses the importance of stepping up efforts to promote the benefits of vocational training and of getting employers actively involved in such efforts.
The survey conducted by Cranfield School of Management established that 70% of employers had yet to act on the issue of tackling potential skill shortages in the next decade or two. Although many agree that apprenticeships can make a big contribution to addressing that problem, only 7% of respondents said they had encountered no problems with securing the right youngsters for positions that need filling. The survey found that 21% of employers had apprentices on their staff, with 32% in that group declaring that training programmes provided an effective way of dealing with the dearth of technical talent.
Dr Emma Parry, who wrote the report, pointed out that apprenticeships do more than just allow companies to solve their skills problem. The evidence suggests that having apprentices on board can boost employee morale, strengthen commitment and improve retention rates. It can also reduce recruitment costs and help a company establish a reputation as a good employer, Dr Parry said.
Stephen Smyth- Marketing Manager at ATG Training, welcomed the new report and pointed to the the Government committment to vocational training. Apprenticeship training is funded by Goverment and there is currently an incentive of up to £15,000 for employers who recruit new Apprentices Smyth continued.
The UK government has pointed out time and again that the country cannot maintain a globally competitive economy without the proper skills base. It is also regularly stressed that the UK is in great need of more engineering talent and apprenticeships are an excellent way of addressing the problem. In light of that, a new initiative launched in Oxfordshire is a big winner. It gives young people the chance to earn while training on the job by starting an apprenticeship, and the county stands to make an invaluable addition to its talent pool.
The initiative in question runs under the name Apprenticeship Launchpad and aims to promote manufacturing, science and engineering (MSE) apprenticeships among school pupils, Insider Media has reported. The scheme is led by Oxfordshire County Council and is supported by Science Oxford, a charitable organisation focused on encouraging connections between science, enterprise and society.
The goal of the campaign is to provide young people with information about companies in and around the Science Vale UK Enterprise Zone covering Abingdon, Culham and Didcot. As part of the initiative, school pupils will get invitations to six events held at different MSE enterprises. This will give the youngsters the opportunity to meet current apprentices, tour company premises and try their hand at practical challenges. The Apprenticeship Launchpad has already gained the support of five schools, which have registered to promote the scheme to students studying science and technology subjects. The project has also drawn several businesses, among them STFC-operated scientific research centre Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Despite recommendations for a freeze, the UK government has decided to lift the minimum wage for apprentices as of 1 October 2013. Young people enrolled in apprenticeship programmes will be paid £2.68 per hour, which represents an increase of 3p. This rate applies to apprentices aged up to 18 and those over 19 who are in their first apprenticeship year.
The Low Pay Commission, the independent body that advises the government on matters concerning the national minimum wage, recommended lifting adult and youth pay rates. However, it advocated freezing the apprenticeship rate at £2.65, citing a worrisome level of non-compliance on the part of employers.
Starting in October, adult employees will be entitled to a minimum wage of £6.31 per hour, or 12p higher than the current figure. For employees aged between 18 and 20, the amount will increase by 5p to £5.03. The rate for 16- and 17-year-olds is going up by 4p to £3.72.
Business Secretary Vince Cable stated that the Low Pay Commission had the extremely important task of advising the government on issues related to the national minimum wage. This year its recommendations on adult and youth rates were accepted but ministers decided to increase the apprentice rate as well. Cable said that apprenticeships were seen as central to strengthening the UK economy and the government was committed to increasing their appeal for young people. Ministers are busy developing a raft of tough new measures in order to address non-compliance across the board, Cable added.
Following on from the high profile National Apprenticeship Week, ATG Training held an employer event on 16th April.
24 employers attended with several taking the opportunity to discuss their recruitment requirements for this year. With so many high profile companies seeking to add to their workforce with new #Apprentices this year it pays to register on www.atgapprenticeships.com to be kept informed of the latest opportunities as they arise.
A young person who has completed an apprenticeship is viewed as 15% more employable on average compared to a peer with other qualifications, according to a survey conducted by ICM Research on behalf of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS).
ICM polled 500 decision-makers at corporate recruitment departments, asking them to rate employability on a ten-point scale. Former Higher apprentices came on top of the list with a score of 7.98. These are young people who possess degree-level qualifications and relevant work experience. They are more desirable for employers than university graduates, who ranked second with 7.58. Another group of considerable appeal for employers is that of former Level 3 apprentices with minimum one year of relevant work experience (rated at 7.24). The lowest rung on the employability ladder was occupied by school leavers with GCSEs, who scored only 5.14.
The publication of the survey findings coincide with the release of a new NAS film and online guide aimed at providing A-Level school leavers, current apprentices and employees with information on Higher Apprenticeships in 2013. These apprenticeships have already established themselves as a popular choice not only for young people embarking on a career journey but also for current employees keen on advancing their careers, the NAS said. In academic 2011/2012, the number of Higher Apprenticeship starts reached 3,700, which amounts to an impressive 68% increase. It is also an encouraging sign for the future prospects of young people, considering that a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship could add more than £150,000 to lifetime earnings.
We are holding an Apprenticeships Event for Engineering Employers at our head office on Tuesday 16th April 2013, starting at 4pm. Whether you already work with us or would like to know more about Apprenticeships, this is an event you should attend! Come and see our facilities, talk to our trainers and hear first-hand from our students the advantages of being an apprentice and how they have benefited their companies. To book your place, call 0845 894 9530 of e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.