‘Why schools are perfect places for apprenticeships’

Taking on apprentices can be a way to create exciting opportunities and intricately develop schools’ involvement in teacher training, writes one leading headteacher

There’s a lot of talk about apprenticeships at the moment, including the dreaded apprenticeship levy.

I can imagine some schools are furious that they are going to have to pay for something that right now has no meaning to them.

I believe in the apprentice programme. My school has a strong track record in supporting apprentices.

We currently employ 13 apprentices across the school, specialising in skills such as sports tuition, business administration, finance, nursery education and specialist education.

Apprentices spend one day a week at our local college to gain a qualification in their specialist area. After two years they can seek employment or higher education.

READ MORE HERE

‘Breaking: SFA unveils ‘mystery shopper’ scheme to test how ready providers are for apprenticeship reforms’

 

The Skills Funding Agency has launched a new “mystery shopper” scheme to find out how prepared providers are for the new apprenticeship reforms.

The announcement was made in the online SFA Update just uploaded onto gov.uk.

It said: “To help us understand how prepared providers are for the new apprenticeship reforms, we are carrying out a ‘mystery shopper’ exercise to test aspects of apprenticeship readiness. This will enable us to identify any further support the sector may need to be ready to meet employer demand for apprenticeships.

“Please contact your provider manager if you have any queries.”

Major apprenticeship reforms are due to come into force following next week’s launch of the new apprenticeship levy, and employers are being given far more influence over the design of apprenticeship programmes and funding for them.

The government will be keen to see how prepared providers are for the changes.

READ MORE HERE

‘Heads and governors call on chancellor to do more for schools facing “impossible choices” on funding’

Budget must deliver investment that schools ‘desperately need’, say heads and governors

Headteachers and governors have warned of the “impossible choices” they are being forced to make because of the school funding crisis.

In an open letter to the chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond ahead of his budget speech on March 8, the NAHT headteachers’ union and the National Governors’ Association call for the amount of funding per pupil to be protected.

They say school budgets are under “serious pressure” as a result of increases in costs and, while schools are doing their best to “make do”, there are “only so many financial efficiencies a school can find before reaching breaking point”.

The organisations highlight seven key areas of concern: ensuring sufficient funding, the impact of the apprenticeship levy on maintained schools, the cut to the education services grant, shortfalls in high needs funding, sufficient funding for sixth forms, funding for early years including protecting nursery schools, and automatic registration for pupil premium pupils.

READ MORE

‘How schools can teach pupils about apprenticeships’

 

Mia Angell’s 18-year-old son is expected to do well in his A-levels and has had offers from three Russell Group universities to study computer science. However, he’s also applied for a degree apprenticeship with a government organisation, after his school brought it to parents’ attention. Angell thinks that it’s a good alternative: “It makes sense for him to get some hands-on experience, get paid while he’s doing it and also get a degree at the end of it.”

This view illustrates a growing acceptance among both parents and students that apprenticeship schemes offer a good alternative to other academic routes.

Keisha Walker, head of careers and employability at Phoenix Academy in London, says there has been a surge of interest this year, from both high achievers and less academic students, particularly in subjects such as engineering and ICT. Walker does, however, sound a note of caution: “I do say to the students: ‘Apprenticeships are so competitive that you still need to apply to a university or college as a backup.”

READ MORE HERE

‘Halfon: number of female Stem apprentices ‘has got to change”

‘One in three businesses unaware of new apprenticeship levy, survey finds’

 

A third of UK businesses are confused or unaware of the financial implications of the new apprenticeship levy due to be implemented in less than two months time, according to new research.

Across the country, just one in three businesses surveyed said they were fully aware of the levy, which will require all companies with a payroll totalling £3 million or more to invest 0.5 percent into the government’s apprenticeship scheme.

Coming into effect in April, it is hoped that the new charge will help the government reach its target of three million apprentices by 2020.

But new research published today by City & Guilds reveals that only 31 percent of respondents are planning to increase their number of apprentices, with 15 percent claiming that they would be forced to cut other recruitment schemes in order to offset the costs of the levy.

Of the 500 senior business leaders surveyed, nearly a quarter, or 23 percent, were unaware of the changes to the apprenticeship system, whilst 28 percent said they did not know whether they would be required to contribute when the levy commences in April.

READ MORE HERE

‘Do apprenticeships have a bad image?’

Colleges working closely with employers could help with the so-called ‘image problem’ of apprenticeships, writes one college executive.

According to reports in the media, apprenticeships are great. They’re becoming more and more popular and have huge backing from the government, so it seems odd to read in a survey that more than 90 per cent of 18-24 year olds aren’t interested in starting one. So what’s going on?

The survey results suggest that apprenticeships have an image problem, and young people, along with two-thirds of people aged over 55, thought that going to university would be a much better career option. The biggest reason for this is said to be poor careers advice being given at school.

But figures and student stories would suggest that there has never been a better time to start an apprenticeship. Nationally, there were almost 500,000 apprenticeships started in 2014-15, which was a 12 per cent increase from the year before.

READ MORE HERE

The construction industry could be sitting on a talent goldmine…

Daniel Gardner was an aspirational 20 year old, with clear leadership ability, working in the café at his local Morrison’s. He’d finished his education at one of the toughest schools in Malvern, designated An Area of Outstanding Beauty but none-the-less a sleepy backwater, and was lucky to have a job serving tea to pensioners and other loyal supermarket customers. But this wasn’t Daniel’s calling. We’ll come back to Daniel later.

At the heart of the Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy is an ambition to create 30,000 new apprenticeships in response to a significant skills gap and growing demand for a workforce that can service the huge government investment in transport infrastructure projects in the UK.

READ MORE HERE

‘What next after GCSEs? A guide to apprenticeships, BTECs and NVQs’

GCSE Results Day has arrived. On August 25, thousands of students across the country, will be considering their options for the future.

Although A-levels remain the traditional route taken for post-16 education, there are several alternatives that students can consider. Here is our guide to apprenticeships, BTECs, NVQs, and traineeships.

Apprenticeships

What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships combine study with practical training on the job, and provide an excellent alternative to A-levels.

  • Students are thrown immediately into working-life, able to learn directly from experienced staff.
  • They will acquire job-specific skills in their chosen industry, whilst gaining a qualification in the process.
  • Apprenticeships are paid: companies such as BAE Systems, for example, offer a starting salary of £34k on completion.]

READ MORE HERE

‘First teaching apprenticeship planned’

‘Win-win’ scheme aims to boost recruitment and attract people from less affluent backgrounds to the teaching profession

Headteachers are to ask the government to tackle staffing shortages by approving the first apprenticeship for teachers.

The scheme would allow A-level students to join the profession without going to university. It is being proposed by the Teaching Schools Council, which believes that a teaching apprenticeshipcould play a crucial role in attracting people from less affluent backgrounds into the profession.

Teaching Schools Council member Stephen Munday told TES that it was hoped the apprenticeship could help schools in more disadvantaged areas to recruit staff.

READ MORE HERE