News

‘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.

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‘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.

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‘Introducing the Institute for Apprenticeships board members’

The government has finally announced the eight Institute for Apprenticeships board members (listed below), with the chair to be confirmed at a later date.

This will come as a relief to the sector after FE Week’s front page last week reported concern that the government remained silent on board members and other permanent leadership posts, under three months before the Institute become “fully operational”.

The Department for Education advertised for paid board members last June, and they comprise of a majority of employers as planned, but two are serving college principals.

This has been welcomed by chief executive of the Association of Colleges David Hughes, but the immediate response from the independent training provider sector was one of disappointment that it is not represented (see quotes below).

The government has also published the long-awaited IfA operational plan which “sets out how the Institute for Apprenticeships will take forward the programme of reform and raise the quality of apprenticeships.”

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‘Institute for Apprenticeships – A Time to be Bold’

Responsibilities for integrity, quality and funding give the new Institute for Apprenticeships a potentially vital and lasting role in the national skills infrastructure but only if its role is fully formed and it has the space to both support and constructively challenge the progress that the reforms are making.

The introduction of the levy sees a fundamental shift in the balance of funding away from the public purse and firmly towards employers. The Institute is therefore a very welcome further manifestation of employer ownership and leadership. It needs to do the job that businesses need while ensuring it secures the support and confidence of three million more (mostly) young people whose lives will be shaped by their Apprenticeship experiences.

While it has taken a long time for the detail of the new Institute for Apprenticeships to be revealed, at least in draft form, there are reasons to believe that this body can make a difference if responses to the consultation pick up on the big opportunities that are presented.

Meet the winners! National Apprenticeship Awards 2016

After an amazing evening at the stellar National Apprenticeship Awards 2016 ceremony last week (January 20), FE Week caught up with the country’s top three apprentices.

The winners shared their thoughts on what the awards meant to them and what could be on the horizon as they continue to drive forward with their promising careers.

Here they are in their own words…

Charlotte Blowers, 19

Adam Sharp, 22

Holly Broadhurst, 23

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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.

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‘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.]

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‘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.

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‘Why you don’t need university – and graduate debt – to get on in life’

When finishing A-levels, many young people think the only option is to go to university to study for a degree. But for some, the sheer scale of tuition fees and living costs is a disincentive, when compared to the perceived benefit of having a degree.

Put simply, they feel they cannot justify the expense of a three-year full-time course when there is a risk there will be no job at the end of it.

But there is another way. Regardless of grades, there is the option of studying for a degree or higher level qualification at an FE college. College HE is often better value for money, as the provision is available in the local community and travel and accommodation expenses are significantly reduced. Plus it can be more flexible, with options to study part-time for those already in a full-time job.

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‘Apprentice earnings may outstrip graduates’

A new report has claimed that apprentices can earn up to 270% more over their careers than university grads.

The report, Productivity and Lifetime Earnings of Apprentices and Graduates, was jointly released by Barclays and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

It revealed that the average gap in lifetime earnings potential between apprentices and graduates was just 1.8%, with the average lifetime earning premium (LEP) difference for the two study paths at just £2,200.

The report also rebutted a range of common misconceptions about apprenticeships, including that they are only relevant for those looking for careers in vocational or manual industries – business, administration and law accounted for the most apprenticeship starts in 2014/15 (29%), closely followed by health, public services and care (26%).

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