A busy year for apprenticeships shows no sign of letting up with reform proposals expected to come to fruition, explains Matthew Hancock, skills minister.
Across the country, our culture is changing, with more people recognising the long overlooked value of technical skills, and just how valuable apprenticeships are.
This will be another exciting year for skills and apprenticeships and I am committed to continuing our hard work to reform the skills system so it meets the needs of both learners and employers.’
Apprenticeships deliver work for young people and adults, giving apprentices the chance to earn while they learn in a real job, gaining a real qualification and a real future.
Since becoming skills minister, I have said that I want the new norm to be for young people to either choose to go to university or begin an apprenticeship. This is starting to become a reality.
Research shows that one-in-five of the top 100 apprenticeship employers have a former apprentice on their board.
This highlights the contribution that an apprentice can make to an organisation and the value of apprenticeships to individual’s career progression. It’s something we continue to build on.
We have seen the introduction of higher apprenticeships in new areas such as law, space engineering and even spies, with MI5 and MI6 offering roles for the right candidates.
Equivalent to degrees, more of these specialised and highly-skilled apprenticeships are being offered each year, giving individuals the chance to continue their professional development and fully realise their potential.
We want all apprenticeships to meet the needs of the learner, with training that is high quality and rigorous, and responsive to the needs of their employer. When firms decide to take on an apprentice, it’s vitally important they can see the benefits to their business.
That’s why I launched the apprenticeship trailblazers. This programme allows employers in key sectors, including automotive and aerospace, finance and professional services, to shape the training and qualifications made available to potential apprentices.
This will ensure that apprentices will develop the skills and gain the knowledge to succeed in their chosen career path. This year I am looking forward to announcing the initial results from the first phase of trailblazers as well as the sectors that will be involved in the next phase.
For those young people who are not quite ready for an apprenticeship, the new traineeships programme is an ideal option.
Traineeships unlock the great potential of young people and prepare them for their future careers by helping them to become ‘work ready’. They provide the essential work preparation training, maths and English and work experience needed to get an apprenticeship or other job.
More than 150 employers are now behind traineeships, helping to unlock the potential of young people. I am also urging yet more employers to help 16 to 23-year-olds gain the vital work experience needed.
During National Apprenticeship Week, there will be more than 500 events taking place across the country, involving apprentices, employers and training providers. I am looking forward to taking part in some of the visits myself and meeting the people that are benefitting from apprenticeships.
During the week, we are also encouraging employers to visit the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) website — apprenticeships.org.uk — and pledge the number of apprenticeship places they plan to offer within their business.
At the end of the week we’ll be able to announce how many employers have come forward and how many places will be available across the wide range of sectors for prospective apprentices.
This will be another exciting year for skills and apprenticeships and I am committed to continuing our hard work to reform the skills system so it meets the needs of both learners and employers.
I want to see high quality vocational educational and apprenticeships deliver for the economy, for employers and for learners and apprentices themselves.
We are building a highly-skilled workforce across a range of industry sectors. This will help grow the UK economy and us to compete, and most importantly, give thousands of
young people the chance to reach their potential.