When it comes to apprenticeships, 2013 can be described as nothing short of a triumph, 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.