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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WE NEED apprenticeships that let students study and work at the same time. They not only get students ready for the workforce, they also let businesses shape what students are learning, so that they graduate with skills that are immediately relevant to their industries.
But to keep such apprenticeships going, companies must be willing to put money in them. If they don’t, it’s up to the G to persuade them such programmes are worthwhile investments.
So for now, the G is working with universities and selected companies to launch pilots of these work-study apprenticeships. These plans were revealed by Acting Minister of Education Ong Ye Kung in an interview with The Straits Times on Monday (May 16), who added that in the 21st century, “businesses do not just offer internships, but step into the university to shape the curriculum”. In his interview, the minister also touched on the educational aspirations of Singaporeans, and his vision for the SkillsFuture movement.
The launch of the Government’s new Get In Go Far advertising campaign for apprenticeships is a very welcome initiative, for both professional and personal reasons.
Growing the numbers of apprenticeships in this country is an issue close to my heart. I remember when hiring staff in my own business, the most important thing I looked for on a CV was experience, not just paper qualifications. Being able to see the knowledge and expertise a young person has gained from learning on the job can really help a business find the right candidate for the role.
It’s why I was honoured to be appointed the Apprenticeship Adviser for David Cameron as well as co-chair of the Apprenticeship Delivery Board last year. The Get In Go Far campaign will be key to helping raise awareness of the value of apprenticeships; inspire more young people to consider it as a valid, credible route to getting a great career, and encourage more businesses to hire apprentices.
Being an apprentice has never been more exciting! An opportunity to EARN & LEARN at the same time. To work alongside an experienced mentor showing you the ropes whilst gaining insightful knowledge!
Creating 3 million apprenticeships is at the heart of the Government’s commitment to ensure young people have the skills that employers are crying out for. Apprenticeships will give young people real, hands-on experience that can help change lives, reduce long-term youth unemployment and help our economy thrive.
Get In. Go Far, is a new government campaign that will launch shortly which is designed to inspire young people to consider apprenticeships as a valid and credible route to a rewarding career. Its aim is to inform and inspire young people, parents, teachers and employers about the range of opportunities available with apprenticeships and the quality of the employers who offer them.
Help us and the government in raising awareness to reach all 16-23 year olds in England, as well as their parents, teachers, and mentors!
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.
The number of 19-year-olds gaining level three through A-levels has fallen for the first time in seven years, while the figures for those achieving the same standard through vocational routes continues to rise.
The proportion for A-levels fell by 0.3 per cent last year — the first drop since 2008, according to statistics published by the Department for Education (DfE) for level 2 and 3 attainment by age 19 in 2015.
In contrast, the figures for those gaining level three through vocational qualifications by age 19 rose by 0.8 per cent in 2015, to 18.4 per cent.
This represents an increase of over 15 per cent since 2004.
The national curriculum should finish at the age of 14, in order to give teenagers time to prepare for the work place, a report by the House of Lords has said.
According to the Committee on Social Mobility, young people should be able to choose before the age of 16 whether they want to pursue an academic or a vocational route beyond mainstream school, as the current system from 16-18 doesn’t recognise that “transitions to work take longer for some young people”.
The report suggested that this could help correct the historic “high drop out” rate from education post-GCSE, which according to a 2012 study from the OECD, saw the UK rank 26th out of 34 countries for participation rates at 17 (87 per cent, compared with the OECD average of 90 per cent).
It added that careers education should be present in school from the age of 11, warning that the current system for those who choose not to attend university was “complex and incoherent” leaving many young people “disengaged”.
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.