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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
What is an apprenticeship?
Apprenticeships combine study with practical training on the job, and provide an excellent alternative to A-levels.
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.
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%).
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.
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.