News

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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Apprenticeships aren’t second-class degrees

As A-level results day approaches, the debate about post-18 education options has been reignited.

Mounting levels of student debt has made university less attractive to many young people than it was 10 years ago. A poll by the Sutton Trust found half of 11-16 year-olds who say they’re likely to go to university are worried about fees and living costs. There’s also been interesting research around earning prospects. According to the Longitudinal Education Outcomes data, one in four graduates of 2004 is now earning only £20,000, while the Higher Education Statistics Agency’s figures showed one in four graduates was not in a graduate job six months after earning their degree.

With fees at some universities set to rise further from 2017, the scrapping of maintenance grants and the prospect of years repaying student loans, young people are likely to be weighing up the costs and benefits of university carefully. In contrast to a full-time higher education course, apprenticeships allow you to earn while you learn and stay free of debt. Now available in most sectors, they provide a genuine alternative to university – especially as many jobs that graduates end up in don’t require their degree.

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Technical education key to bridging cyber skills gap

“The cybersecurity workforce shortfall remains a critical vulnerability for companies and nations”: that’s the conclusion of a new report focused on bridging the digital skills gap. And the problem is especially acute in the UK where the IT industry is the least satisfied among its international peers that the country’s education system is supporting the cyber security profession.

The Intel Security Hacking the Talent Shortage survey was put together by the IT in conjunction with Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS),  and focuses on what can be done to address the growing skills gap. It’s a gap that is particular concern to UK employers, where only 14% of IT decision-makers believe the nation’s education system fully prepares professionals for the cyber security industry.

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‘Why are we so complacent about our skills for the future?’

Making predictions can be a fool’s game. We don’t know what’s going to happen next week, let alone what our world will look like in five years, or 50.

Still, history teaches us to expect change. Take the workplace as an example. The jobs that were a staple a century ago no longer exist, and many jobs people have now weren’t around a decade ago.

Yet new research from the City & Guilds Group into skills confidence across the UK, US, India and South Africa found that three quarters of us are confident our jobs will exist in a decade.

More than nine in 10 British employees are confident in their own skills and productivity, and only 27 per cent and 17 per cent respectively are worried about the impact of immigration and globalisation on their job prospects.

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When the country is flooded with graduates, why are we still pushing students to university?

Last month, it was announced by Ucas that the number of students enrolling for A-levels was set to increase by 4,000 with a commensurate decline in those enrolled for vocational courses.

In the view of Mary Curnock Cook, the Ucas chief executive: “It’s now a good decision to take A-levels even if you are not an A* student”.

She justified her view by arguing that: “… choosing A-levels means teenagers can keep their options open without having to fix a career path so early in life, whereas those choosing vocational qualifications such as sports science or health and social care (she was careful in the examples she chose!) are more likely to go into those fields, closing their options rather early in life.”

She concluded her argument by stating that: “sticking to academic qualifications doesn’t close any doors, regardless of whether you want to apply for a top apprenticeship or a top university.”

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