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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Government Unveils Traineeship Programme

Starting this August, the government is making available traineeships for young

ATG Training Apprentice

ATG Training Apprentice

people between the ages of 16 and 19 and those with Learning Difficulty Assessments up to an academic age of 25. The plan is to extend the scheme at a later point to include young people up to 24 years of age, the Skills Funding Agency has announced.

Traineeships are intended to assist youngsters willing to work but requiring extra help to secure an apprenticeship or a job. The programme, which will last for six months at the most, is developed with individual learner needs in mind. It will provide participants with the opportunity to build their skills and gain workplace experience relevant to employers, thus improving their chances of securing a job.

The programme will focus on putting young people in high quality work placements, providing them with work preparation training and helping them with English and maths. Training providers and employers will be free to combine those elements in a manner that best engages and supports trainees, laying the foundations for future skills and careers.

Eligible providers will play a central part in the coordination of traineeships with local employers. Providers will also play a leading role in engaging trainees and ensuring they satisfy the eligibility criteria laid out the Framework Document. Employers will play an equally important role, assuming responsibility for providing high quality work placements in partnership with training providers.

The Skills Funding Agency said that it would publish a list of eligible providers and traineeship funding rules this week.

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Finalists For Brathay Apprentice Challenge Announced

The Brathay Trust charity has shortlisted the finalists for this year’s Brathay Apprentice

Successful ATG Training Apprentices

Successful ATG Training Apprentices

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.

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New Report Stresses Importance Of Apprenticeships For Building Future Skills Base

In 2008, Cranfield School of Management and e-learning provider learndirect published aATG Training Apprentice at work 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.

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Oxfordshire Initiative Aims To Encourage MSE Apprenticeship Uptake

The UK government has pointed out time and again that the country cannot maintain aATG_engineeringstudent_230413 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.

ATG_Oxford_230413The 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.

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Apprentice Pay To Rise From October

Despite recommendations for a freeze, the UK government has decided to lift the minimumATG_sterling_180413 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.

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Employer Event for companies seeking Apprentices

Employer Event Collage

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  to be kept informed of the latest opportunities as they arise.

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Former ATG Apprentice Andy Neate Makes It Into Hall Of Fame

At the age of 16, many people have no clear idea of what they want to do in life. It is possible that Andy Neate had no idea as well, but the Aylesbury lad has come a long way since then. While many people will know him as a BTCC driver, Andy is in the focus this week for his remarkable achievements as an engineer. The seeds of that success were sown when he left school at 16 and started an engineering apprenticeship with ATG Training. Andy is now chief technology officer of Ceravision and the proud inventor of the ground-breaking high efficiency plasma (HEP) technology. He is also among the inductees to the Apprenticeship Hall of Fame, sharing the honour with a group of successful Britons whose glittering careers began with apprenticeships, IP Tech Race Engineering reports.

Andy is in the company of former apprentices like celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, Olympic gold medal winner Rebecca Adlington, gardening expert and TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh and Mercedes Formula One team principal Ross Brawn. This eclectic mix reflects the diverse opportunities and enormous potential of apprenticeships as a career starting point.

Andy firmly believes that his resounding success as an engineer is rooted in his beginnings as an electronics apprentice. He does not believe he would be in his present position without the support and guidance received during his training. Andy has remained a staunch advocate of apprenticeships and will continue to promote this career route. As a former apprentice and a current employer, he will bring his experience to bear as patron of a national engineering apprenticeship organisation that is expected to launch this summer.

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Apprenticeships To Give UK Economy £3.4bn Annual Boost By 2022

National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2013) is in full swing and a newly published report comes as a reminder of how important apprenticeships are for UK companies and the economy as a whole. According to estimates by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), the UK economy stands to make net productivity gains of £3.4 billion annually by 2022.

The CEBR report, which is available on the National Apprenticeship Service website, was released on Monday to coincide with the start of the sixth annual National Apprenticeship Week. The independent economics consultancy has come up with the figure after estimating the productivity gains from 3.8 million apprentices who will complete their training in the decade ahead.

According to the publication, the average productivity contribution of an apprenticeship completer amounts to £214 weekly. The CEBR forecasts that 260,000 apprenticeships will be completed in 2012/2013 and the number will reach 480,000 by 2021/2022. The greatest beneficiaries are companies operating in the engineering and manufacturing sectors, where weekly productivity gains are estimated at £414 for each former apprentice. The annual number of completed apprenticeships in these sectors will grow from 38,000 to 81,000 between 2012/2013 and 2021/2022.

Charles Davis, CEBR head of macroeconomics, pointed out that the research left no doubt about the importance of apprenticeships to UK economic growth. Comments to that effect were also made by Business Secretary Vince Cable, who stated that the report gave a clear indication of the benefits apprenticeships deliver for businesses, individuals and the wider economy. Cable added that as part of its drive to make vocational training more accessible, the government is offering a £1,500 cash grant to small and medium-sized enterprises that recruit an apprentice aged under 24. National Apprenticeship Week is an excellent opportunity to make more employers aware that apprentices make a significant contribution to company skillsets and productivity, Cable said.

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National Apprenticeship Week 2013: Two Young Britons Explain Their Choice Of The Apprenticeship Route

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, many young Britons in vocational training will be sharing their stories through the media or the numerous events organised around the country. The Guardian caught up with two apprentices, who talked about their choice and the reason they had opted for an apprenticeships over university.

Sixteen-year-old Natasha Swan is doing an engineering apprenticeship at aerospace and defence giant Rolls-Royce. In addition to her practical work at the company, she is studying for an engineering BTEC. The combination gives Natasha the opportunity to apply theory to practice, understanding both the whys and hows of the products and processes. She also notes the diversity of the programme, with subject matter including life skills such as business and communication. According to Natasha, many students simply drift along at school without developing an interest in anything but everyone at her workplace is sharply focused and ambitious. Natasha is now hoping to obtain a degree as part of the apprenticeship programme and will then strive to climb as high as possible in the business. She concluded by saying that she wants to explore different opportunities because she likes variety, which is something an apprenticeship can provide.

Billy Utting is 22 and favours an active lifestyle, which makes a desk job unappealing to him. He is currently in training at Pimlico Plumbers and describes his decision to become an apprentice as “looking at the bigger picture.” Billy, who was earning £200 a week at 17, says that many of his friends see no reason in doing an apprenticeship when a person could simply get a job. However, he believes he is gaining the skills that will ensure a well-paying job is there waiting for him when his training is done.


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