A targeted campaign is being developed in Liverpool to help older learners – particularly those aged 50 and above who have been made redundant or want to change careers – into apprenticeships.
An apprenticeship taskforce for Liverpool City Region Combined Authority put forward a series of recommendations last month, one of which is to create a campaign to target learners over 50 into apprenticeships.
Around 9,600 over-50s are on Universal Credit while being out of work, according to the authority, yet this demographic “may be unaware that they could access relevant qualifications” such as apprenticeships.
Following approval by the combined authority last month, work on the action plan is now in development, with ambitions for more details to be ready by February 2023.
But the scheme could help to address some of the skills shortages in the region in sectors such as adult care, and support the hospitality and tourism sector in time for the Eurovision Song Contest to land in the city in May next year.
Rob Tabb, policy lead for employment and skills at the combined authority, said: “I think employers here and nationally are exploring all means possible to be able to fill some of their recruitment and skills gaps.
“People are coming to apprenticeships at different stages. It is not, if you don’t have one by 18 your chance has gone, in that respect. There is an openness for employers to consider doing this and seeing apprenticeships as an opportunity to address and meet some of their skills needs.”
While details of what the campaign could involve are still being drawn up, it is likely to include social media and possibly regional TV, which Tabb says has proved successful in other recent campaigns.
But one of the key issues to overcome is likely to be around levels of pay.
Tabb said: “I think there is an understandable point about over-50s saying I need more money than the £18,000 that a level 3 apprenticeship might be offering me in that respect, but I think that is something we want to work through and understand and see where some of the added value we can bring to that.”
He added that it would be about removing barriers to apprenticeships that the combined authority has influence over.
Other recommendations from the task group include a broader communications plan for apprenticeships, targeted communications programmes for those who may be harder to reach (such as school leavers and those with special educational needs), and supporting colleges and training providers to access funding for equipment and facilities.
It also wants to promote earlier engagement between large local employers and school-aged children to help inspire youngsters sooner.