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Apprenticeship Week launched at Channel 4’s London offices
Business secretary Vince Cable has launched the fifth annual Apprenticeship Week at the London offices of Channel 4.
The event was attended by representatives from the creative sectors and apprentices themselves, with Skillset and the National Apprenticeships Service promising to deliver 500 trainee positions across 300 organisations.
A large proportion of the companies are small in size and so will be able to apply for £1,500 as an incentive to take on an apprentice during 2012-2013.
Mr Cable commented: “Not only do [apprenticeships] provide individuals with the skills they need for prosperous and rewarding careers, they also boost businesses’ profits and drive growth in the wider economy.”
Firms with London offices have proven to be significant supporters of apprentice placements.
Mayor of the capital Boris Johnson revealed in the autumn of last year that in just over 12 months, more than 40,000 apprenticeships had been created at London offices.
This made London the fastest-growing UK region for the development of apprentice placements. However, Mr Johnson said he expected this increase to continue, with him aiming for roles for around 100,000 individuals to be made available by the end of 2012.
Posted by Emma Davies
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MINI apprenticeship boost for BMW’s Swindon plant
February 7, 2012
By Robert Buckland
Total apprenticeships at the car firm will increase to 200 this year, including 11 at its Swindon plant, which presses body panels for all MINIs.
Across its three manufacturing sites – Swindon, Oxford and Hams Hall, near Birmingham, apprentice intake will double this year to 70 places at as the plants prepare for the next model generation.
In addition, BMW and MINI dealerships are looking to recruit around 130 young people across the UK.
Apprenticeships last between three and four years and cover a wide range of skills from human resources and business to electrical maintenance and engineering. The training leads to an NVQ level three qualification and some apprentices will have the opportunity to progress right through to degree level in the course of their career at MINI.
MINI Plant Oxford managing director Dr Juergen Hedrich said: “Investment in young people is a key part of our development strategy for the plants; therefore we are delighted to be able to offer young people the chance to join our modern apprenticeship scheme.”
BMW and MINI dealerships in the UK will be recruiting around 130 apprentices in 2012. The programmes are in various disciplines ranging from Service Technician Apprentice, Parts Advisor Apprentice, Motorcycle Technician Apprentice and Body Refinish/Paint Apprentices.
All BMW and MINI apprentices complete the two-year Advanced Modern Apprenticeship at Level 3 and receive VRQ/VCQ qualifications from the Institute of the Motor Industry. Training is carried out at the BMW Group Academy UK, a purpose-built training centre opened in 2006 and located near Reading. In general the minimum entry criteria require between three and four GSCEs at grade C or above (or equivalent).
BMW Group UK managing director Tim Abbott said: “Bringing new talent and fresh thinking into our dealerships is vital to allow us to provide the best possible service for our customers and so I am delighted that we will welcome around 130 new apprentices to our award- winning scheme in the UK.”
PM outlines apprenticeship plans
(UKPA) – 1 day ago
Apprenticeships will no longer be considered a “poor man’s degree” with the introduction of higher-level training, the Prime Minister has said.
Combining apprenticeships with higher education will become far more common place in Britain, David Cameron said.
Speaking during a visit to the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) in east London, which trains apprentices to work on infrastructure projects, Mr Cameron said: “We are expanding the number of higher level apprenticeships, those that involve degree-level courses, and I think this is vital because for years people have sort of said that apprenticeships are the poor relation of higher education.
“I don’t think they are at all and I think what we are going to see with the expansion of the higher level apprenticeships is many people going into them as they leave school, spending time doing that and then going on and doing a university degree linked to their apprenticeship skill.
“That is what has happened for years in Germany and it is going to be happening much more in Britain.”
Mr Cameron said academies like TUCA, a purpose-built not-for-profit facility built by Crossrail to train people in working in tunnel excavation, underground construction and infrastructure, was crucial to the future of the country.
“I think we are seeing a really big part of the industrial future of Britain,” he said.
“I think for years in our country we have had excellent higher education, excellent university education, but we haven’t put nearly enough into vocational education, apprenticeships, into skills training, and what I’ve seen today shows me this is absolutely at the cutting edge of what we need to do as a country.
He added “I think for years people have said this country hasn’t taken skills seriously, it hasn’t taken apprenticeships seriously, and I really think that we are now doing that.”
Mr Cameron said the Government was committed to addressing some of the “historic weakness” of apprenticeship programmes and would reduce the cost and bureaucracy involved in apprenticeships to encourage more businesses to participate.
Copyright © 2012 The Press Association. All rights reserved.
Posted by Paul Champion from Google Alerts
Preventing Youth Unemployment in Medway – are Apprenticeships the answer?
Hoorah, its Apprenticeship Week (6th – 10th February, 2012), hands up all those young people who want to do an apprenticeship. Hands up all the small to medium sized businesses who want to take on an apprentice!
As one of Margaret Thatcher’s YTS (Youth Training Scheme) successes, I am a great believer in apprenticeships and will always promote them wherever I can.
In one of my roles as an Apprentice Support Consultant, I found it astonishing (and extremely disappointing) at the number of young people who were applying for an apprenticeship role, via the National Apprenticeship website, but turned up for the pre-interview having no idea what an apprenticeship was!
Having to witness this time and time again, I made it my responsibility to invite all appropriate applicants to a group training session to help them understand the mechanics of an apprenticeship and how it could help them now and in the future. Young people left my training having a greater understanding of what an apprenticeship was, but boy, did I open a huge can of ‘employability’ worms when it came to explaining how to apply for one!
It became abundantly clear that not only did the young people have no idea about apprenticeships, they didn’t have a clue about how to put together a CV (being a true reflection of their ‘real’ skills – not one that they had downloaded from the internet), they were reckless in their completion of application forms (thinking that missing out some boxes was totally acceptable) and the most worrying of all is the alarming lack of social and self-promotional skills. Too many young people are failing at interviews (if they ever get that far!) because they have no idea how to promote themselves, identifying transferable skills from their everyday lives that can convince an employer that they are right for the role on offer.
So, now the government has again decided to jump on the ‘Apprenticeships are the way forward’ wagon and offer cash incentives to encourage businesses to take on an apprentice (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-15878796).
I agree that Apprenticeships ARE the way forward for young people but what Medway (and the rest of the UK) need to think about is adopting a ‘NEET Prevention’ scheme (Not in Education, Employment or Training) ensuring that young people have all the information on how to apply for apprenticeships and, more importantly, how to apply themselves BEFORE they leave secondary education (prevention rather than cure). Employability Skills needs to be part of the curriculum, not as a stand-alone subject, but included in all lessons as an add-on to what they have learnt in that lesson.
If young people are made aware of how crucial everyday skills are, such as working as part of a team, problem solving, confidence building and leadership skills (to name just as few) it could help them gain employment in the future leading to less NEETs and more inspired and motivated young people.
In addition, the attitude of young people most certainly needs to be addressed by instilling confidence and motivation through the right delivery, encouraging a ‘can-do’ environment within the classroom rather than the more passive policy adopted by outside organisations that are brought in to supposedly prevent future youth unemployment (judging by the statistics, something obviously isn’t working!)
Employability training is not being positively implemented to encourage young people to change their attitude towards the world of work and appreciate that –
There are available jobs once they leave school
They are capable of gaining a job in the career of their choice
University can be an option, whatever the fees may be.
Once this happens, the keenness of employers wanting to take on an apprentice should naturally follow. Why should an employer take on a young person who cannot convince anyone (themselves included) that they are right for the role. If we have more confident, work ready young people who can easily promote their skills and be honest and realistic about their expectations, they are more likely to be successful in their quest for employment.
So, to summarise, YES – Apprenticeships are the way forward, just make sure that all young people and employers know why!
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The content was written by Jane Hart.
Jane Hart is the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies.
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By Glen Blickenstaff | @glenblickenstaf
Look for ways to make a difference.
I saw job descriptions as the “had to do” list not as a limit. Throughout my career I created opportunities. I think that’s a big part of what entrepreneurs do. They identify opportunities and apply themselves, frequently without invitation to do so.
Follow that overwhelming desire to take action.
At one point I used the regular hours of my job to teach as an adjunct professor, which lead to an appointment on the Boards of Retail Advisors at the University of Florida and Cornell University. Entrepreneurs seem to have a voracious appetite for learning and teaching. We also feed on multiple tasks or projects, which lead to increased productivity.
Exert your influence as much as possible.
I resigned from one job in frustration over major differences in direction. Within two years they were bankrupt. I saw this as a failure on my part for not influencing the organization. An entrepreneur can go from the trenches to the big picture and assess cause and effect. The protagonist in this story is influence. Without it we are frustratingly adrift.
Help other would-be entrepreneurs.
It was an entrepreneur that I worked for that saw something in me and gave me a helping hand. He told me I needed to go into business for myself and help struggling companies. Four months later I left and he provided a generous severance to get me started.
Someone once asked me what it was like going out on my own as an entrepreneur. I told them it was like jumping out of an airplane with all the materials needed to build a parachute. An entrepreneur must be willing to take a risk.
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WORKPLACE SOCIAL MEDIA
Maria Ogneva is the head of community at Yammer, where she is in charge of social media, community programs, internal education and engagement. You can follow her on Twitter, her blog, and via Yammer’s Twitter account and company blog.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably witnessed (or maybe even been a part of) office communication mishaps that have ranged from mildly embarrassing to career-ending. Early in my career, I witnessed a rogue email chain which spoke of a client in offensive terms. The email accidentally got forwarded to said client. Oops!
No matter how sophisticated our use of social media, we must always be aware of its breadth. It’s easy to feel anxiety over saying the wrong thing, but if you know how to use it well, social media in the office can and should benefit your career.
Therefore, adapt the golden rule to the digital era: Think before you post, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. To make sure you are putting your best digital foot forward, follow these easy steps.
1. Understand Company Policy, Best Practices and Culture
If your office hosts an internal social network or digital collaboration space, understand what types of interactions are considered valuable (helping a coworker, for example), vs. actions that would be frowned upon (posting pictures of LOLcats all day). And always stay away from violations of your company policy (like harassment). Make sure you understand not only the written policy, but also the company culture – each company has its own stated and unspoken rules of conduct.
Global consultancy firm Capgemini talks about its use of Yammer, my company’s social network. “Yammer is shared with colleagues in the company — not just your close colleagues — but potentially EVERYONE, from your manager all the way up to the CEO…Our company values are: Honesty, Freedom, Trust, Boldness, Team Spirit, Modesty, and FUN.”
2. Company Communities Evolve Best Practices and Policies
Policy and culture aren’t static — they grow and develop organically, through a community-wide effort. Kate Dobbertin, community manager of one global company’s Yammer network, notes, “I look to the community to foster an open, caring community together. It’s not something I can control alone — the entire community must set the standards for what is or isn’t acceptable.”
In global companies, the definitions of etiquette are tougher to pin down. Ed Krebs, IT architect for Ford Motor Company, shared, “By allowing the community to define, and continually redefine how to communicate, those global differences that were barriers now become points to reshape together. The community gently informs each other about the nuances of language and the alternate interpretation of slang. We needed no new policy, respect is a key ingredient in our corporate code of conduct.”
3. Mixing Personal and Professional
When communicating over your company’s digital channels, your focus should be on getting your work done and helping your colleagues get their work done. On the other hand, mixing a bit of your own “flavor” is always a good thing – humans want to connect with other humans. But remember that you can easily cross the line from approachable to overly personal to the point of discomfort. Ask yourself, “Could this make someone feel uncomfortable?”
4. Public vs. Private Spaces
Take a few minutes to understand the boundary between public and private spaces. Having a clear goal will help you select the right medium and audience. Are you sharing something brilliant that can help others in general, or starting a discussion that will specifically benefit your company? Is it a message that should be public, but benefits a niche audience? Post it to a group. If it’s an action you want just a few people to take, send a private message or an email. Remember the key difference: Emails and IMs are disruptive, while streams provide “ambient awareness.” Don’t be that guy who CCs 20 colleagues with something irrelevant.
5. Be Mindful in Private
A quick word of caution: Just because you post to a private space or send a note to someone’s inbox, doesn’t mean it won’t find its way into the hands of someone else later. If you trash someone in an email, there’s always a chance that this person may see it – whether accidentally or on purpose. It’s always best to protect your reputation by abstaining whenever possible.
6. The New York Times Test
Before writing anything to anyone — publicly or privately — ask yourself if you’d mind seeing it on the front page of the New York Times. That’s exactly what Erin Grotts, director of internal communications at Supervalu tells her colleagues. “We tell people not to post anything that would embarrass you or the company…Would you be comfortable if it ran on the front page of the New York Times?”
Beldner encourages her colleagues to ask, “Would I say this to my company’s president and deputy general counsel in front of 1,000+ other employees?”
7. Become an Expert
If you want to be perceived as an expert, you need to contribute to the conversation. When someone asks a question that you can answer — go for it! Proactively share things that are interesting and ask thought-provoking questions. Remember, though, that quantity doesn’t mean quality.
Maximize your exposure by allowing others to find you. When posting to a public space, anyone can see your message, but there’s always a chance that the right people won’t. To maximize your visibility, post to the right groups and use the right taxonomy, such as hashtags, topics, and public @mentions.
8. Respect Privacy
Just because someone told you something in another channel, doesn’t give you the license to repost it automatically, unless it was posted in a public space like Twitter, which is indexable by Google. If you’d like to repost something, make sure that the original author has approved. Exercise the same caution when adding new participants to an existing email thread or a private group – make sure that existing participants feel comfortable that this new person will be able to see what’s already been written.
9. Remember the Golden Rule
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Treat your colleagues the way you’d want to be treated at work. Ask yourself, “Would I want to do a project with myself? What about grab lunch?” Don’t be the employee who publicly shames a co-worker to coerce him into action. Don’t go directly to someone’s boss instead of addressing that employee first. Never write something out of anger, spite or personal vendetta. Basically, don’t overstep your boundaries.
A great reminder from the folks at Capgemini: “In the same way that we moderate our conversations in the office, so we should apply similar moderation to our posts in Yammer…Be polite; try to be constructive; don’t be offensive.”
Back to you, reader! How do you observe etiquette at work, while still retaining your uniqueness? What kinds of guidelines does your company have for work-related social networks?
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Mobile phones seem like an essential part of an American’s life. I don’t know anyone without one and I’d say most people even have a smart phone. Countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia have a weird distribution of cellphones per people. I guess having multiple phones is popular in those places.
As our society relies more and more on cellular devices for our everyday needs we will become even more helpless when we lose our phones. I drowned two phones this summer. One in a hottub and one in my pool. I lost my iPhone in the hottub and going 6 months without my GPS, contacts, email, news, twitter, internet was horrible.
I did research over every single smartphone on the market and finally decided on the Samsung Galaxy II S. This phone is awesome. Voice control, huge screen and Swype for texting is like magic. I know when the iPhone 5 comes out it could take back my top spot, but I’ll have to make some carful comparisons.
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