Online Apprenticeship Applications, Vacancies Hit New Highs

The number of apprenticeship applications filed online and that of vacancies posted reachedOnline Applications record levels in the period between February and April, the latest data from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) reveals. The total number of applications grew by 32.5% year-on-year, while the number of vacancies increased by 14.8%.

As many as 368,830 applications were submitted over the Internet during the third quarter of the 2012/2013 academic year as opposed to 278,410 in the same period a year earlier. As for vacancies advertised online, their number went up from 28,396 to 32,604. Candidates were at their most active in the immediate aftermath of National Apprenticeship Week, making 18 March the busiest day for filing. On that day apprenticeship hopefuls submitted 6,730 applications. Regarding vacancies, the highest number posted online in a single day was 17,700 and this happened on 26 April.

There was no change in the top three when it came to sectors attracting the biggest number of applications. As was the case a year earlier, Business and Administration was first with 101,510 applications, followed by Childcare and Customer Services with 29,020 and 26,200 respectively. The number of vacancies advertised was also the highest for Business and Administration (7,702) but Customer Services overtook Childcare on that count (2,700 versus 1,991).

Commenting on the latest NAS figures, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said that apprenticeships were increasingly perceived by young Britons as an excellent alternative to a university degree. School leavers are quickly grasping the potential of an apprenticeship to help them realise their career ambitions. The government is working tirelessly alongside the NAS to promote the apprenticeship cause, encouraging more employers to take on apprentices and reap the associated benefits, Hancock added.


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HLAs Draw Ambitious School Leavers

People generally assume that the cream of the school-leaving crop will head towardsATG Training Apprentices university, putting in a few more years of study to obtain a degree. However, a growing number of school leavers are opting instead for an apprenticeship, not least because of the increase in tuition fees, the Guardian reports.

But tuition costs are only part of the reason for this choice. More school leavers are coming to realise that an apprenticeship, especially a higher level apprenticeship (HLA), can be just as useful as a degree, sometimes more so. Students going for HLAs get the equivalent of degree-level qualifications and invaluable work experience in addition to earning money during their training.

Sophie Dalby is one of the academic high-flyers who have chosen an apprenticeship over university. She received offers from five universities but decided to take up an accountancy apprenticeship. As Sophie told the Guardian, she will be fully qualified by the age of 23 and will not have the burden of fees. In addition, she will be acquiring skills that are in demand by employers.

The government has put apprenticeships high on its agenda and invested some £1.5 billion in various initiatives during the past year alone. This has created more opportunities for young Britons and the choice of sectors keeps rising. In 2012 the number of HLAs on offer shot up to 3,700, an increase of 67.5% from the prior year. This year school leavers will be able to choose from HLAs across 41 subject areas, the Guardian added.


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Semta CEO Urges Employers To Tackle Skills Shortage

Taking on apprentices and recruiting graduates are both great ways of addressing the skillsATG Training Apprentice Engineer shortage in engineering and manufacturing but UK companies need to do more, according to Semta chief executive Sarah Sillars. Employers also have to invest in improving the skills of existing employees and help spread the word about the excellent career opportunities available in the sector, Sillars was quoted as saying by The Journal.

Since it is exam season, our attention is focused on how young Britons are doing and what their future plans involve. Sillars urged those graduating in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects to think about an engineering or advanced manufacturing career. She noted that there were amazing opportunities for young people considering further education but prospects in the sector were also fantastic for those with no university plans. Boys and girls with five GCSEs (among them maths and science) can lay the foundations of a great career by opting for an apprenticeship. This will allow them to earn money, learn on the job and pave the way to excellent long-term prospects.

Sillars went on to add that Semta’s research painted a bleak picture for the future engineering and manufacturing talent base. By 2017 the sector will lose 8,500 employees to retirement and 15,000 need to improve their skills. According to the 2013 Harvey Nash Manufacturing Leadership survey, 62% of executives consider their companies woefully short of skills. Not only can apprentices help close the gap but they also tend to make more loyal employees, Sillars noted, citing a study by the National Apprenticeship Service. According to that research, 74% of employers believe apprentices to be more loyal than non-apprentices. In addition, 92% stated that their training programmes improved staff motivation and boosted job satisfaction levels.

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LSIS Seeks To Boost Uptake Of Disabled Apprentices

The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) is in the midst of its latestATG Training Apprentice initiative aimed at encouraging employers and training providers to take on apprentices with disabilities. Acting in partnership with Remploy Employment Services, the LSIS is addressing issues through two workshops this week, one held on Monday and another scheduled for Thursday. Three other workshops on the subject were organised earlier this year and proved extremely successful. The LSIS will be closed on 31 July 2013 but Remploy, the specialist employment support services provider, is hoping to secure a sponsor and continue to deliver such workshops across the country.

The seminars focus on concerns that might discourage employers and training providers from recruiting apprentices with disabilities. A survey commissioned by the National Apprenticeship Service in 2011 identified some of those concerns. Remploy, which carried out the research, established that employers were often deterred from taking on disabled apprentices for fear of an overwhelming regulatory burden with regard to health and safety. Some were also concerned that the apprentices would drop out of the programme, which could affect the company’s business plans. Through these workshops, the LSIS and Remploy seek to address existing concerns by informing providers how to get extra support and funding for disabled apprentices, as well as increase the number of disabled learners in apprenticeship programmes by using employer engagement strategies.

Remploy business consultant Howard Nelson said the organisation was hoping to carry on the work started by the LSIS although the workshops may not be free in the future if a sponsor is not found. The success of the events organised so far has prompted Remploy to consider a national conference on disabled apprentices, which is scheduled to take place in September.

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NAS Taps Young Digital Talent To Promote Apprenticeship Agenda

Technology plays a central role in young people’s lives and the National Apprenticeship

Facebook login page

Facebook login page

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.

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Civil Service Offers 100 Apprenticeship Places

A new apprenticeship scheme was launched by the Civil Service this week.ATG_parliament_160413

Roles are on offer across a variety of departments including the Cabinet Office, Ministry of Justice, HM Revenue and Customs, Department for Education, Department for Work and Pensions, Crown Prosecution Service and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Potential apprentice jobs available through the Civil Service Apprenticeship Scheme include working in a minister’s private office, providing advice to jobseekers as a personal adviser in a Jobcentre, or developing or implementing policy.

As part of the scheme, apprentices will work towards a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Business and Professional Administration. The minimum starting salary is £18,763.

There are 100 apprentice vacancies, which are open to school leavers aged 18-21. Successful applicants will join as a management grade, which means that they could manage a colleague or a team in addition to their primary role.

The application period is expected to run from 15-26 April but anyone who is interested should apply as soon as possible because applications will be dealt with on a first come, first served basis depending on the level of interest. If a significant number of people apply the application process will be closed early, the Civil Service said.

Applicants must have five GCSEs at grades A* to C including English language and maths, and able to start in September 2013.

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MP Slams Big Companies For Not Providing Apprenticeships

Earlier this week the UK’s shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna delivered a strongly worded critique of the country’s large enterprises for their lack of apprenticeship programmes, HR Magazine reports.

Umunna railed against the fact that two-thirds of the biggest UK employers did not offer apprenticeships, describing the situation as a “disgrace.” The comment came as part of his speech at the London-hosted EEF National Manufacturing Conference, where Umunna stated that apprenticeships occupied a central place in the UK economic debate. For all the talk about making the UK a globally competitive economy, little consideration seems to be given to the question of how it can be achieved. According to Umunna, the key to that is establishing a proper skills eco-system.

Umunna also noted that apprenticeship schemes were not afforded the same respect as university degrees, attributing this mindset to cultural issues. However, apprenticeships are as important as academic qualifications for the future growth of the UK economy and must be strongly encouraged. Both parents and young people should come to believe that opting for an apprenticeship is as worthy as taking the academic route, Umunna pointed out.

Michael Davis, CEO of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), said in an interview for HR Magazine that employers must become more involved in the skills debate. Davis noted that apprenticeships offered companies an excellent way of securing the talent they need. An apprenticeship programme combines the efforts of employers, training providers and individuals to deliver outcomes beneficial to all parties involved, Davis said.

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Number of Apprenticeship Applications Filed Online Surges 41%

Over 267,400 applications for apprenticeships were submitted online between November 2012 and January 2013, the latest figures from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) reveal. This translates into a 41% increase compared with the same period of the previous academic year.

NAS also registered a 26.6% uptick in the number of apprenticeship vacancies advertised on the web and their number reached almost 25,400 at the end of the second quarter of the 2012/2013 academic year.

Apprenticeships in business and administration were most popular with applicants, hitting 82,290. Second came childcare, which attracted 21,760 candidates, followed by customer services with 20,520 applications filed online. IT, software, web and telecoms were other sectors that young people wanted to gain experience in, with applications reaching 16,840. The number of people who applied online for a position in the hospitality and catering segments came in at 9,530.

For the whole of 2012, NAS recorded nearly 1.127 million applications for apprenticeships filed online and 106,510 vacancies advertised. Business and administration were again the most popular sectors.

The spike in the number of online applications for apprenticeships suggests that more and more individuals and employers are starting to realise the opportunities that apprenticeships offer and to recognise the value of high quality training, NAS head David Way commented.

NAS also announced the roll-out of a free app named AV Search, which allows potential applicants to track thousands of job positions advertised on its website from their mobile devices.

ATG Training Marketing Manager, Stephen Smyth also noted an increase in online applications to with February 2013 recording 58% more applications on the previously recorded high figure since the launch of the site. All the evidence currently available points to employer confidence returning to the vocational sector as the National focus on Apprenticeships develops a resonance with young people, continued Smyth. 

Stephen Smyth Marketing Manager

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Aspiring Apprentices To Get Extra Help With Application Process

An estimated 17,000 young Britons are set to benefit from extra support through 16 projects launched under the Apprenticeship Application Support Fund. Training providers, colleges, charitable organisations and employers have joined forces to help 16 to 20 year-olds achieve success in applying for an apprenticeship, the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) reported recently on its website.

Many of those projects will offer help to young people whose previous apprenticeship applications have proved unsuccessful. The assistance they receive will take the form of practical guidance in different areas, for example interview skills and CV preparation. The projects are expected to run until June, at which point they will be evaluated.

The fund sponsoring these projects is under the supervision of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), which is acting on behalf of the NAS. The Apprenticeship Application Support Fund started with £450,000 from the NAS and its size later grew to £700,000 with a contribution from the Skills Funding Agency. The latter joined the initiative after an extremely positive response from bidders. The Skills Funding Agency was particularly impressed by the fact that many bids focused on facilitating access to apprenticeship programmes for under-represented groups, for example learners with disabilities.

Graham Hoyle, chief executive of the AELP, noted that both young people and employers had come to regard apprenticeships as a precious commodity, especially in light of the cut-throat competition in the youth employment market. However, aspiring apprentices can often find the application process their biggest challenge. With extra support at hand, more young Britons will be equipped with the skills to address this problem and embark on the path of vocational training, Hoyle stated.

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Engineering, Manufacturing Apprenticeships Record Impressive Growth Over Past Two Years

This week Semta published its latest figures on new apprenticeships in the advanced

Engineering Manufacturing Apprentice

manufacturing and engineering sectors, revealing an increase of more than 85% over the past two years.

In 2009/2010 the number stood at 16,760 and it rose to 22,300 in the following year. It grew further over the course of 2011/2012 to reach 31,070. All areas in England have recorded substantial improvements in the number of apprenticeship starts, with West Midlands leading the way with a massive 227% increase. Other areas with particularly impressive results are the East Midlands, North East and Yorkshire & Humber with 174%, 133% and 109%, respectively. The majority of new apprenticeships have been intermediate level recruits, where the number of apprentices has jumped by 142%. New starts at the advanced and higher level have registered an increase of 23%.

Semta, the Skills Council for the advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors in the UK, and the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) have joined forces with the aim of doubling advanced and higher level manufacturing and engineering apprenticeships by 2015/2016. Sarah Sillars, chief executive of Semta, described the latest figures as immensely encouraging and proof of the great work done by Semta and the NAS in their joint push to address a looming skills shortage.

However, she was quick to add that the partnership still had its work cut out and no effort must be spared to attract young people into the engineering and manufacturing sectors. Employers will need 82,000 new workers to replace staff retiring in the years through to 2016 and this creates great opportunities for young people. It is also essential to educate teachers and parents, making them understand the benefits that an engineering or manufacturing apprenticeship can deliver to youngsters, Sillars noted.

Stephen Smyth Marketing Manager

Stephen Smyth who is the Marketing Manager at ATG Training welcomed the new data which reflects the increase in engineering vacancies that the charitable training provider has helped employers fill recently. Recognising the challenge noted by Sarah, the issue faced by ATG Training is often matching the right candidate to the right role, in the right location. As many young people do not drive, this triumvirate is a challenge to meet at times.

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