Semta Highlights Engineering Apprenticeship Opportunities For Young Britons

By 2016, about 82,000 workers in the engineering and advanced manufacturing sector willATG Training Engineering Apprentice have retired. This means that UK companies are looking at a huge skills gap but it also opens up great career opportunities for young people who are just embarking on their professional journey. They can make the first step by signing up for an apprenticeship, availing themselves of the chance to obtain valuable skills while earning money, as Semta points out.

There has never been a better time to become an apprentice for young Britons with five A-C grades in their GCSEs, among them English, Maths and Science, according to the UK sector skills council for science, engineering and advanced manufacturing. In a statement posted on, Semta also notes that apprentices can still obtain a degree while working, without attending university full-time.

Beth Sherbourne has a lot to say on the subject. She used to be a part-time employee in a supermarket and planned on going to university. However, she reconsidered after seeing many people her age return to their previous jobs despite getting university degrees. Beth decided to become an apprentice at missile systems company MBDA and has been richly rewarded for her choice. During her four-year training period she obtained high-level academic qualifications and MBDA has appointed the 22-year-old as a senior procurement officer. Beth says she strongly recommends apprenticeships to young people, pointing out that her training has delivered amazing benefits. In addition to earning money and getting valuable work experience, the apprenticeship has also given her a massive confidence boost and opened many doors for her.

Stephen Smyth – Marketing Manager at ATG Training commented: Beths story is not unusual. I have seen many young people gain valuable skills and achieving higher qualifications whilst earning a good  salary on Engineering Apprenticeships. There are companies seeking Apprentices all the time, so now it a particularly good time to register and set your prefences for Apprenticeship vacancies on  

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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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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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Almost Half Of Companies Favour Apprentices Over Graduates

A large proportion of UK employers are showing a preference for recruiting apprentices instead of graduates, Fresh Business Thinking reported recently, citing a survey conducted on behalf of and the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR). According to the poll results, 48% of respondents reported such a shift, partly attributing it to the difficulty companies experience in filling entry-level positions.

The survey established that 57% of employers faced challenges in securing the right people for entry-level jobs. According to 34% of the sample, the biggest problem was the shortage of technical ability and that was most acutely felt in the areas of IT, manufacturing and R&D. Employers also complained that graduate recruits lacked soft skills and work experience, with 32% and 31% respectively including those among their key issues.

Apprenticeships were cited by 27% as critical for tackling the skills shortage. In addition, 25% of respondents said they wanted business skills taught in schools and 18% called for more work-oriented degrees. graduate director Mike Fetters noted that government grants had encouraged more employers to take on apprentices, making it possible to address the specific skill needs of the enterprise. Many survey participants said that their graduate applicants did not come up to expectations. Meanwhile, employers looking for people with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills reported a shortage of graduates with relevant degrees. Considering all the issues mentioned, it does not seem surprising that apprentices have become the preferred option for many employers, allowing them to shape the talent they need, Fetters said.

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Government Steps Up Apprenticeship Promotional Drive With Ambassador Appointments

The UK government has appointed two MPs to the roles of apprenticeship ambassadors as part of its goal to promote the uptake and improve the quality of apprenticeships.

The decision was made by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Education Secretary Michael Gove, who want to raise awareness of the benefits apprenticeships offer. Cable said he aimed to make vocational training as desirable as a university degree for young Britons, and hopes to achieve that by 2015. The creation of the ambassador roles reflects the government’s ambition to firmly establish apprenticeships as a recognised, high-quality career springboard, not only for school leavers but for people of all ages, Cable added.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle has been selected to serve as Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business. Birtwistle, who himself started out as a craft engineering apprentice, will be tasked with interacting with companies, promoting the benefits that high-quality apprenticeships can bring to companies of all sizes. His particular focus will be on advocating apprenticeships for people between the ages of 16 and 24, as well as advanced and higher-level apprenticeships. Birtwistle will also prioritise promotional activities in key sectors such as engineering with the aim of tackling the skills shortage in them.

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones will be serving as Apprenticeship Ambassador to Parliament. In addition to being responsible for engaging with businesses and advocating apprenticeships, Jones will be working to get MPs more involved in promotional activities. In order to help his colleagues spread the word across their constituencies, Jones will supply the information and advice needed to achieve that.

The two ambassadors will report regularly to the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which will use the findings to improve policy making.

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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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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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Buckinghamshire Employers Offered Apprenticeship Grants

Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF) is promoting financial incentives to support the creation of new apprentice roles.

The business group said on its website that three different grants are currently available to employers in the county. These incentives contribute towards the salary costs of new apprentices.

The AGE 16-24 apprenticeship grant, a national scheme, offers up to £1,500 per apprentice and is available to employers with up to 1,000 employees who are taking on their first apprentice aged between 16 and 24 years old, or those who have not been in a position within the last 12 months to commit to employing an additional apprentice. Up to ten of these grants can be claimed.

On a more local level, the Buckinghamshire 2013 Apprenticeship Grant offers £1,500 per apprentice to Buckinghamshire employers of the same size, up to 1,000 employees, when recruiting a new apprentice aged 16 to 18 who is a Buckinghamshire resident. Up to five grants can be claimed and the big advantage of this scheme is that the grants can be claimed in combination with the AGE 16-24 apprenticeship grant, so employers can receive up to £3,000 per apprentice. Moreover, an additional grant of £1,000 per apprentice is available for those taking on a young person from a priority group. This includes young people who have been out of education or employment for at least six months, people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities up to the age of 24, young parents, young people who are in or leaving care and young offenders.

Last, but by no means least, the Youth Contract wage incentive offers up to £2,275 to employers taking on someone aged 18 to 24 who has been in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance for six months or more, or is part of the government’s Work Programme, in a job lasting at least 26 weeks.

BBF noted that these grants are in addition to the existing funding which is available to train apprentices. This varies depending on the business sector and the age of the candidate but can be up to 100% of the cost of the training.

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