Record 870,000 In Apprenticeship Programmes 2012/13

The latest statistical release from the Skills Funding Agency’s Data Service shows that ATG_apprentices_031213the number of apprentices in the UK reached a record high of 870,000 in 2012/13.

Since 2010 there have been 1.5 million apprenticeship starts, of which 500,000 were in the last financial year. On an annual basis the 2012/13 figure represented an increase of 77% on 2009/10, said Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock. Besides, the number of people in higher apprenticeships in 2012/13 was 13,000, a two-fold increase on the previous year, the minister added. This is the highest number since higher apprenticeships were introduced by the government. At the same time, the number of people engaged in advanced level apprenticeships went up by 19% on the year to some 380,000 in 2012/13.

The number of apprentices under the age of 19, however, registered a decrease in the period, resulting from the heightened focus on quality and the fact that now all apprenticeships involve actual jobs and not just training, which raised the performance threshold. The number of new apprenticeship starts has not increased, as a consequence of the fact that the minimum apprenticeship term is now one year. However, the scrapping of six-month programmes was considered essential for raising quality standards.

Hancock expressed hope that an apprenticeship will soon become the usual alternative to university for college and school leavers, something that could be done with a strong focus on the quality that employers look for in apprentices.

Following reforms announced in October, apprenticeships are now much more industry-specific and employer-led, ensuring that the participants have the specific skills needed for the particular industry sector. They are also more rigorous than before in order to ensure the high quality of the qualifications acquired.

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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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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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Demand For Apprenticeships Will Continue To Exceed Supply, Report Says

A paper published by the Work Foundation, part of Lancaster University, has forecastATG_demand_121113 that the demand for apprenticeships will continue to exceed supply in the next few years, unless a greater number of employers embrace apprenticeships.

The paper also calls for reform in the apprenticeships system in order to encourage youth employment. Currently, the report argues, the high demand for apprenticeships is mainly accounted for by people over 25, many of them already in employment. Also, the current apprenticeship model is predominantly oriented towards the manufacturing sector, while the real economy is increasingly shifting towards the service industry. Taking this into account will help address youth unemployment, according to the author of the paper, Katy Jones.

The paper identifies four areas where reform is particularly needed. First of all, Jones argues that apprenticeship pathways should be improved by providing better career advice and guidance and also by making sure there are traineeships available for young people who are not yet ready to go into a full apprenticeship.

Second, the regulation concerning apprentices’ wages needs working on. Clearer guidance on the minimum apprenticeship pay on a national level is necessary, both for employers and for apprentices, since currently in some sectors, such as social care, apprentices are paid below the legal minimum. Employers should also be encouraged to pay their apprentices more.

Speaking of employers, Jones also suggests that the relationship between them and schools should be strengthened to improve their engagement with apprenticeship programmes.

Finally, the content of apprenticeships should be improved. One way to do this would be extending the duration of both advanced and higher level apprenticeships. The current minimum of 280 hours of Guided Learning annually is below international standards and could be improved, the report concludes.

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Perkins Review Calls For Concerted Effort To Tackle Engineering Skills Shortage

The UK’s future industrial success is closely tied to its engineering talent pool. Much ATG_engineering_071113has been said and written about the country’s pressing need for engineers and the government is taking an active role in promoting the profession among young people, supporting training initiatives by employers and getting educational bodies involved in the effort. The issue of engineering skills is once again in the spotlight with the release of a report by John Perkins, the professor advising the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on scientific matters.

The publication contains an analysis of the UK engineering talent pipeline and urges the government, the engineering industry and educators to work together so that the nation can meet its engineering skill needs. In response to the Perkins Review, the government is setting aside nearly £49 million to support initiatives to that end.

About £30 million of the total funding package will be reserved for employers so that they can invest more in training tailored to their specific needs. The government has also earmarked £18 million for the construction of an elite training facility at the Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre. There is also £250,000 allocated as seed funding for Tomorrow’s Engineers, which will use the money to accelerate its engagement programme to employers across the country. This programme aims to make engineering careers more attractive to school children. The Daphne Jackson Trust will get £40,000 for the development of a new fellowship that will help people resume their engineering career after a professional break. Finally, the government is supporting the creation of a portal on the National Careers Service website. It will bring together companies wishing to raise the profile of engineering among school children and organisations capable of assisting employers in that effort.

A spokesman for ATG Training, The Group Training Association which has been delivering engineering training in the Thames Valley since 1967 welcomed the investment and urged engineering employers to engage ever more fully with their training provider in order to ensure their requirements are fully complied with. This method of working  has been the bedrock of ATG Training’s policy since day one.

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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’.

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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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Engineering Company Gets Creative In Pursuit Of Quality Apprentices

The UK needs engineers and this need will only keep growing. It is essential to makeATG_industrial-laser_241013 engineering and manufacturing careers more attractive for young people, giving them the opportunity to build solid foundations for future professional success through high quality apprenticeships. But it is equally important for sector employers to ensure that their apprenticeship programmes draw the most talented youngsters. A manufacturing company from Staffordshire has taken an innovative approach to this, using a competition among school students to pick out the best and brightest among them, Automation magazine reports on its website.

It is the second time KMF Precision Sheet Metal Manufacturing has run the competition, offering winners the opportunity to gain work experience at the company and potentially enrol for an advanced apprenticeship. Last year, 1,700 students from 16 schools across Staffordshire took part in the competition and were tasked with designing a mechanical clock. This year the bar has been raised even higher: pupils have to design, build and race Formula 24 cars.

Gareth Higgins, managing director at KMF, noted that the future success of the UK economy depends on more young people entering the engineering and manufacturing sectors. Higgins said that he was thrilled with the level of student and parent engagement achieved through this competition and the fact that it helped youngsters decide on their future study subjects. The company has tried to make the competition both fun and challenging while identifying the talented students that could one day reach the top of the engineering profession via the apprenticeship route, Higgins added.

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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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