Apprenticeships have enjoyed a fair share of the limelight so far this year. Not only did March’s National Apprenticeship Week take place soon after the increase in the apprentice wage rate and forthcoming introduction of the apprenticeship levy, but also in the wake of the Government announcing its aim to fund some three million new apprenticeships by 2020, which the levy will help to fund. There’s been a positive start on that front, with participation in apprenticeship schemes up to a record 871,000 during the 2014/15 tax year.
But if apprenticeships are going to hit such heady heights in the future, they are undoubtedly going to need the support of small and medium-sized enterprises, who make up well in excess of 99% of all UK businesses. Many of those companies are already realising the benefits of having apprentices on board, with our latest research showing that two in five (39%) of those SMEs with at least ten employees in place took on at least one new apprentice in the past twelve months. That figure falls, however, to just one in ten (10%) of companies that have less than ten employees, demonstrating how those smallest businesses may have greater time and resource constraints when it comes to introducing an effective apprenticeship scheme.
The government has today announced the employer time limit on using their levy funds, due for introduction in April 2017.
The news came in an updated guide to the apprenticeship levy and “how it will work” web page, published this afternoon.
An apprenticeship levy operating guide for employers, to be published in April, had been promised in last month’s budget.
The latest version of the guidance stated: “Funds will expire 18 months after they enter your digital account unless you spend them on apprenticeship training,”.
It continued: “Whenever a payment is taken from your digital account it will automatically use the funds that entered your account first. This will minimise the amount of expired funds.”
The apprenticeship levy, first announced by the government in July, is set at 0.5 per cent of an employer’s paybill.
Last year, education foundation, the Sutton Trust, published some encouraging statistics.
According to researchers, the best apprentices – those with a level 5 qualification – could earn £50,000 more in their lifetime than someone with an undergraduate degree from a university outside of the Russell Group.
For those who were still holding onto the belief that university was the only route to a rewarding career, the report was just the latest piece of evidence pointing to the contrary.
Over the last two years, there have been an estimated 30,000 higher apprenticeships created with more predicted thanks to the Government’s focus on creating three million apprenticeships by 2020.
Whether you agree with this goal – and, as I have written previously, many do not – or with the methods being used to obtain it, it’s certainly positive that young people are being increasingly offered viable alternatives to higher education.
The government has sought to re-assure small and medium-sized employers (SMEs) there will be enough apprenticeship levy money left over for them.
Skills Minister Nick Boles has re-emphasised plans to make SMEs rely on unspent apprenticeship levy funds from larger companies to pay for their training.
Mr Boles told the House of Commons this afternoon that the £2.5bn raised by the levy for training in England would be expected to stretch to cover all employers with apprentices, regardless of their size.
The apprenticeship levy will only be paid by employers with a payroll of more than £3m, which has led to questions over whether smaller companies which aren’t contributing to the levy pot will continue to receive the funding they currently get from government.
But Mr Boles told Parliament today that he expected SMEs to “carry on spending money on apprenticeships, receiving government money for apprenticeships” in the same way that they do now, funded by levy proceeds not used by larger organisations.
An inquiry has been launched into the Government’s target of three million apprentices by 2020 following “uncertainty” over how the system will work.
An inquiry has been launched into the “ambitious” apprenticeships target, following concerns about how the Government intends to achieve its aims.
The creation of three million apprenticeships by 2020 was one of the Conservative Party’s key pledges during the election campaign last year, however, critics have said that standards could be affected in the drive to achieve these high numbers.
Now, a sub-committee has launched an inquiry into the apprenticeship system, which will look at how the Government proposes to achieve this target and how it may affect industries with a skills shortage.
The group will also look at how standards in the apprenticeship system can be maintained and enforced and will also consider the proposals for the new apprenticeships levy first reported in the summer Budget.
Schools must allow access to apprenticeship providers and colleges to create a level playing field in careers guidance.
Schools must give equal airtime to the non-academic routes pupils can take post-16, under government plans to end the ‘second class’ perception of technical and professional education (TPE).
A new law would see apprenticeship providers and staff from colleges visit schools as part of careers advice from early secondary school, to talk to pupils about the opportunities open to them through apprenticeships or other TPE routes.
The move follows concerns from ministers about careers advice, with some schools currently unwilling to recommend apprenticeships or other technical and professional routes to any but the lowest-achieving pupils – effectively creating a 2-tiered system of careers advice.
This builds on the Prime Minister’s life chances speech in which he set out his ambitions to create an education system fit for the 21st century.
A CV plays an important role in getting you an interview. At Youthforce we believe in the huge potential young people can bring to the workplace but frequently see CVs that block people going forwards. Our guide below brings together our experience of where it can go wrong for people. This could help you whether you’re working to create your first CV or tidying up an old one that has been filed away on your hard-drive.
First impressions count
Don’t let the small mistakes give someone the chance to overlook your application. Before you even consider what to write in you CV, think about these tiny details that are easy to change:
If your personal email is too informal, employers could look throw your application out even before opening your CV. If your email is ‘lilybabeoxo@******.com’ or even less obvious, ‘footballstar66@*******.***’ you need to create a new email address for your applications that is more formal.
Presentation and overall look
Once your CV has been opened the first thing we’re look at is the layout. Is everything lined up neatly? Is it all in the same format? Does it look smart and presentable? Is this person showing us they have a high standard of presentation? Make sure you think about the following:
And now for the don’t do’s…
Structure – get it right
Get things in the right order. There are variations, however I would suggest the following format:
Other final reminders
Your CV should be something that you’re never quite happy with. You should be looking to improve it with every version. Think of it like a software on your phone that always needs updating.
Remember, people are looking for reasons not to put you forward. Remember these simple rules and your chances of getting to an interview will raise considerably.
Good luck and happy job hunting!
Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw told the House of Lords Social Mobility Committee today that government should do more on promoting vocational routes.
He appeared in front of the committee flanked by his chief operating officer, Matthew Coffey (pictured below right), to give evidence on the role of the education watchdog in providing skills and employment opportunities for under-served groups of young people.
“We need to say a lot more about apprenticeships … perhaps government should say a lot more about what it is going to do to promote a strong vocational offer in schools and post-16, it’s not just up to Ofsted to say we’re going to do this,” said Sir Michael.
He added the fact that only 5 per cent of young people were going into apprenticeships, and only 3 per cent from disadvantaged backgrounds, was “a nonsense” that must be addressed.
He also called on head teachers to make sure their students understood the opportunities outside the school and criticised some for encouraging learners to stay on into sixth form when other pathways might be better.
The impact technology has on learners is more important to Ofsted than the technology itself, a former inspector told delegates at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers’ Learning Technologies Expo 2015.
Kerry Boffey (pictured above), director of the Adult Learning Improvement Network, said providers needed to think about what technology “will do for learners”.
“Does it speed up their learning? Does it make it more enjoyable? More interactive? More accessible? What difference does it make to their learning?” she said.
“That’s how technology is used in your self-assessment and in your inspection preparation and while you’re being inspected.”
Ofsted inspectors, she said, “don’t want to see technology — they want to see how you use technology, and the difference it makes to those learners”.