Apprenticeships – Increased uptake is positive but more needed to meet youth employment challenge, says REC
The REC has today welcomed positive data on the overall uptake of apprenticeships whilst underlining the need to ensure that they provide a genuine route into employments as well as a means of up-skilling existing staff.
The latest figures show that over 250,000 apprenticeships have been created in the 2010/2011 financial year, which exceeds the Coalition Government’s targets. However, this includes a big increase in short-term Apprenticeships – often taken up by those already in employment. Furthermore, a greater number of these positions have gone to the over 25’s, raising concerns about whether the Government is responding effectively to the UK’s youth unemployment crisis.
Commenting on this, Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Professional Development at the REC said;
“The latest data shows some encouraging trends in terms of the overall take-up and progress has also been made in terms of positioning apprenticeships as a credible alternative to university. However, we need to accelerate the use of apprenticeships as a genuine route into the work of work for young job-seekers.
This was one of the key recommendations of the REC’s Youth Employment Taskforce and the latest statistics do not mask the need for sustained Government action in this area. The recruitment industry can play its part by developing apprenticeships within the sector, and by raising awareness amongst clients and candidates.
“With thousands of A-level students leaving school this week, it is increasingly clear that young people require targeted, focused assistance. This includes practical guidance on the benefits of apprenticeships and on the sectors where job opportunities are most likely to exist both now and in the future. As well as continuing to actively promote the apprenticeship route, the Government must commit to establishing a careers guidance network that is fit for purpose.”
Thanks to Caroline Betts for passing this article onto us. Caroline is a Senior Skills Manager at Essex County Council
City & Guilds hopes ‘skillionaires’ will inspire others to succeed without a degree
A vocational rich list has named the chairman of JCB as the country’s wealthiest ex-apprentice, with a fortune of £2.15 billion.
Sir Anthony Bamford, whose career began with a two-year apprenticeship at Massey Ferguson before he took over the construction equipment company, topped the list of “skillionaires” – Britain’s wealthiest people who have taken apprenticeships or other vocational qualifications.
The rich list was compiled by Philip Beresford, the creator of the annual Sunday Times Rich List, for City & Guilds and WorldSkills 2011, the international skills competition being held in London for the first time in October.
While Sir Anthony’s father founded the company which he now chairs, second place on the list goes to a self-made man: Laurence Graff, the “king of diamonds”.
After leaving school in the East End of London at 14 and becoming an apprentice to a Hatton Garden jeweller, Mr Graff has built a fortune valued at £2 billion.
Last November he broke the record for the world’s most expensive piece of jewellery with the purchase of a £28.8 million pink diamond.
His diamond business is worth £1.7 billion, with the rest of his wealth consisting of homes in Gstaad, London, Cap Ferrat and New York City, a 150-foot yacht, a Stellenbosch vineyard and a £125 million art collection.
Others named in the list include City & Guilds-qualified celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in 33rd place with £106 million, Dragons’ Den star and businesswoman Deborah Meaden with £40 million in joint 63rd place with fashion designer Karen Millen, and Stella McCartney (£15 million).
At 36 years old, Mr Oliver is the youngest of the top 100 vocational millionaires. A fortune of £10 million is required to make it on to the list, with fellow chef Gary Rhodes, another former City & Guilds student, bringing up the rear.
Former engineering apprentices make up 24 of the top 100, while the most represented industries were high tech companies, property and construction, and the leisure industry.
City & Guilds said they hoped the publication of the list would highlight the success of people who did not attend university and inspire young people to achieve.
Chris Jones, director general of City & Guilds, said: “Our latest vocational rich list proves you don’t need a degree to succeed. The list not only celebrates the success of Britain’s leading businessmen and women, but also serves as an inspiration to others to discover their talent and unlock their potential through vocational education and skills training. Many of the contestants at this year’s WorldSkills London event have done just that and I have no doubt that one day we will see some of their names on the list.”
Also on the list in 49th place was Britain’s wealthiest plumber, Charlie Mullins, who founded and runs Pimlico Plumbers and whose wealth is estimated at £55 million. He left school at 15 with no qualifications before taking up an apprenticeship.
“That was a mistake – I should have left at 14,” he said, describing his apprenticeship as the best thing he had ever done. Now his company employs 180 people and has a turnover of £15 million a year.
He said: “Not everyone wants to be a leader or to run a business. But knowing a trade means you can have a job on a stable basis for life, and run your own business if you like. We need tradesmen more than ever, not just pushing towards everybody going to university.”
The top 10 vocational achievers
1. Sir Anthony Bamford. £2.15 billion. Chairman of JCB. Former apprentice with Massey Ferguson.
2. Laurence Graff. £2 billion. Chairman of Graff Diamonds. Former apprentice with Hatton Garden jeweller.
3. John Caudwell. £1.5 billion. Founder of Phones4U. Former Michelin apprentice.
4. Sir James Dyson. £1.45 billion. Chairman of Dyson. Qualified in industrial design at the Royal College of Art.
5. Sir Terry Matthews. £1.4 billion. Founder of over 80 telecommunications companies. Former Post Office research department apprentice.
6. Jim McColl. £570 million. Chairman and chief executive of Clyde Blowers engineering company. Former apprentice engineer.
7. Trevor Hemmings. £550 million. Leisure tycoon who owned Blackpool Tower and Pontins. Former apprentice bricklayer.
8. Sir David McMurtry. £450 million. Chairman and chief executive of precision engineering company Renishaw. Former apprentice with Rolls- Royce.
9. Sir Arnold Clark. £430 million. Chairman and chief executive of Arnold Clark Motors. Former apprentice shoe designer.
10. Steve Morgan. £400 million. Chairman of Redrow builders. Studied an Ordinary National Diploma in civil engineering at Liverpool Polytechnic.
Connect Teenagers to the World of Work
What’s the single best idea to jumpstart job creation?
According to research from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, between now and 2018, the fastest-growing occupations will be “mid-skill” jobs–like dental hygienist, construction manager, police officer, paralegal, and electrician–that require an associate’s degree or occupational certificate, but not a four-year college education.
Such individuals, if they are lucky enough to find work, often become mired in low-wage, service sector jobs with few employee benefits and unstable hours. There are other options, but we need public schools to do their part in guiding students toward them. This means eschewing nice-sounding “college for all” rhetoric and instead embracing curricular reforms that introduce teenagers to all of the many opportunities available to them in the world of work.
In California, Linked Learning schools require students to enroll in college-prep academic classes, but also to complete several internships or apprenticeships in fields such as biotechnology, media, and engineering. Rhode Island’s MET schools connect low-income teenagers to local businesses and community groups for on-the-job learning. And outside Albany, every student at Tech Valley High School completes a professional externship of their choice during the month of January, in fields ranging from baking to video game design to train conducting.
This isn’t the nefarious “tracking” of yesteryear, but rather an effort to introduce young people to the ways in which their education can serve them on the job market. Students are less likely to drop-out and more likely to enjoy school when they see their classes as relevant to their future. High-quality vocational training opens doors for kids who haven’t been reached by a more traditional curriculum, and prepares more Americans for the real jobs the economy is producing.
There’s a sharp increase in people signing up to learn a trade, and a lot of the new recruits are women
Louise Tickle The Guardian, Tuesday 7 June 2011
Remember the joke, “how many women does it take to change a lightbulb?” Well, forget the old punchline. The new answer appears to be “just one, and she’ll charge you a £40 callout fee”.
Colleges are reporting a sudden upsurge in students signing up to learn how to be an electrician, decorator, mechanic or builder, and much of the increase seems to be down to female students. Far more women are now choosing to train in these trades, rejecting the more traditionally “female” roles of hairdresser, childminder, care worker or beautician.
“Welding and fabrication is absolutely booming,” says Andy Dawson, assistant director of manufacturing and technology at Preston College. All his welding courses are full and he’s recently had to put on two more – also running at capacity.
Overall applications for Preston College’s mechanical engineering and electrical engineering courses are up 50% on 2010. Bournemouth and Poole college has 17% more enrolled on painting and decorating courses this year compared with last, and Harlow College is this year processing more than double the number of applications for painting and decorating it received for entry in September 2010.
Ask students why they’re choosing to train for these jobs and the answer, Harlow principal Colin Hindmarsh, says, is that “these students are thinking about their future and doing something about it”.
“The labour market for the under-24s looks grim. We’re finding that our students are becoming more entrepreneurial, they want to be in charge of their own destiny and these sorts of vocational courses allow them to set up their own businesses. They can be self-employed and self-reliant.
“In the current climate, without getting a high-level qualification in a trade like welding, they don’t think they will get a job,” says Dawson.
The rapid rise in the cost of a degree may well be playing a part, says Michael Grange at Derby College. “With universities charging higher fees, we seem to be attracting the better students; certainly the ones who apply have better qualifications and are more focused.”
“We’ve had a significant increase in the number of women on this kind of course,” says Hindmarsh, “most noticeably in painting and decorating. At level 2, two thirds of our students are female.”
At Bournemouth and Poole College, head of construction Mark Loose says the number of women doing painting and decorating is up by 30%. At Preston college, Dawson says that whereas a few years ago six or seven girls might have done welding and fabrication and motor vehicle courses, this year it’s 40 to 50. Newcastle college has taken on its first female scaffolding apprentice, and hopes more will apply.
For Kerry Isom, 22, just finishing her second year as a painting and decorating apprentice at Bournemouth and Poole College, the motivation comes from the creativity she can bring to her work, and job satisfaction. Currently employed by her local council and doing one day at week at college, Isom’s work is, says her tutor, “exceptional”, and won her the Johnstone’s Young Painter of the Year award last October.
“I wasn’t sure about the job prospects at first,” she says. “But I like the fact you’re not behind a desk, and you can see what you’ve done. Painting’s quite relaxing!”
Isom wants to travel and knows she’s got a skill that will make her good money around the world.
Ruth Brough, 49, is currently studying to be a plumber and renewables installer with New Career Skills. Changing careers and looking to “make the most of the rest of my working life” she hopes she has discovered a market niche where she can work in the practical way she enjoys, and help people to live the greener lifestyle she believes in.
Plumbers and electricians are now having to get to grips with green technologies and more stringent health and safety regulations, says the chief executive of New Career Skills, Steven Wines — an evolution that may be attracting more women as the perception of traditional trades changes from blue collar to “green collar”.
Wines also notes that female plumbers or electricians have an interesting market advantage: hiring a woman for work in the home can be reassuring for older people, or women living alone, which, he says, “creates a niche for a female tradesperson”.
But are there jobs to be had in sectors that have always employed men and may be reluctant to take on a woman, no matter how well qualified? According to Tony Joyce, head of construction at Tresham College, “the opportunities need more advertising from the construction industry.”
The informal way in which recruitment often happens in vocational trades still prevents women getting jobs in significant numbers, says Linda Clarke, professor of European industrial relations at Westminster University. “If you go into colleges, there’s a far higher proportion of women training than you’ll find actually working in the labour market,” she says. “And I don’t see that’s changing very much.”
However at Newcastle College, Colin Stott, director of the National Construction Academy, says that in his experience, companies are more interested in the someone’s competencies than their gender. “Many [women] have had success as finalists in national competitions and the majority have found employment following completion of their course,” he says.
Dawson confirms this: “Particularly in motor vehicle, females are as good if not better. And their work ethic is often very good. They seem to be more rational about doing the tasks and, particularly in the 16-18 age range, a bit more mature. They’re more methodical and are very keen.”
Says Loose: “They have proved to be more competent decorators than the boys — often their drawing skills are better, their attention to detail, and they’re much calmer. Girls tend to get to a higher level. They who have done particularly well in the last three years.”
The pay for some trades is far cry from the relatively low earnings of childminders, care workers and beauty therapists. Welders involved in the construction of the BBC’s new Manchester home would, says Dawson, be “earning between £30,000 and £50,000”. And plasterers, says Grange, can pull in £650 a week.
Stott points out that these days he’s also able to recruit female tutors, which, in turn, transforms the career expectations of all students, male and female.
North East Apprenticeship Company
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Apprenticeships surge may lead to funding rate fall
News | Published in FE Focus on 29 July, 2011 | By: Joseph Lee
Senior mandarin warns that Government will look to ‘financial controls’ to ease cost of boom in places
Apprenticeship funding rates may have to fall to pay for the rapid growth of places, the head of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) has said.
Simon Waugh said that recruiting 50,000 places more than planned was not going to create financial problems for the programme or be “a runaway train” because the Government could introduce financial controls, including changes to rates.
He said: “We will always look at rates. In the current environment, I don’t think there is anyone out there who doesn’t realise that there is constant pressure on cost. We are constantly discussing with SFA (the Skills Funding Agency) and BIS (the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) about value for money.”
The decision would rest with the SFA, which recently pulled back from a proposal to cut funding rates by 10 per cent in August, on top of a 4.3 per cent cut this academic year, after objections from providers.
But the Association of Employment and Learning Providers said that a cut would make it hard for apprenticeship providers to maintain recruitment and quality of provision. A spokesman said: “The imposition of significant cuts in funding rates would make the task of expanding apprenticeships for young people much more difficult.”
While he said the NAS did not want a “stop-start situation”, Mr Waugh said a sudden spike in apprenticeship starts one year could be offset by a reduction in the next.
But he said so far, the extra growth had been paid for in a faster reduction of Train to Gain provision, and by colleges meeting demand by reducing recruitment to other courses.
He denied that growth put quality at risk, but conceded: “Can I say to you that every single apprenticeship is of the quality that we would require it to be? The answer quite clearly is no. But wherever in our view that delivery model is not to the very highest standard, we will investigate it.”
Mr Waugh defended the quality of programmes that have seen large growth, such as customer service in the retail industry, where employers such as Morrison’s added as many as 12,000 apprentices in a year.
“I think there is this old-fashioned snobbery around apprenticeships having to be high-end manufacturing – the BAEs, the Bentleys, the Rolls- Royces,” he said.
And he defended the growth in the number of older apprentices. “It’s miniscule. It’s a percentage of a percentage of a percentage,” he said. “I think we’ve got about 2,000 over-60s, but when you’ve got people working later in life, made redundant, and you have to completely reskill – why would a 60-year-old not need to do that as much as a 16-year-old?”
He said the number of 16 to 18-year-old apprentices would rise by a percentage in the “mid-teens”.
Original headline: Apprenticeships surge may lead to fall in funding rates
North East Apprenticeship Company
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Published: July 29, 2011
by PETER GRUNER
ONE of Islington’s biggest employers warned the Prime Minister this week that Britain is fast becoming the “unskilled man of Europe” because young people are being “fobbed off” with temporary work instead of proper training.
Kevin McLoughlin, whose award-winning Essex Road company K&M McLoughlin Decorating Limited won a multi-million-pound contract to paint the Olympic Stadium, spoke out following a conference hosted by David Cameron.
He said: “Too many employers are offering work placements, which might provide a temporary fix but don’t teach a trade, instead of proper long-term apprenticeships. If this continues trained craftspeople will become a thing of the past. Already Britain is rapidly becoming the unskilled man of Europe.” Mr McLoughlin, who expressed his concerns in a letter to the PM, added: “The proof of their failure is reflected in the one million 30-year-olds and under who are currently unemployed.
“Unless companies can guarantee a genuine apprenticeship you will never reduce the level of youth unemployment. It doesn’t have to be this way. I believe apprenticeships can be really cost-effective and result in a highly trained and motivated workforce.”
Mr McLoughlin employs 140 people, of which 40 per cent came through his firm’s own apprenticeship scheme.
His letter to Mr Cameron received a reply from John Hayes MP, Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning. He wrote: “Improving the quality of apprenticeships is a priority for this government.”
Born and brought up on the Priory Green estate in King’s Cross, Mr Mcloughlin, 53, left school with no qualifications.
He told the Tribune: “At least I was able to do an apprenticeship. Today there are very few schemes. Companies can’t afford to employ young trainees. Everything is sub contracted.”
Simon Boyle’s Beyond Food Foundation has launched a search for candidates to fill its new Kitchen Apprenticeship Scheme.
The venture, spearheaded by Boyle in conjunction with De Vere Venues and PWC, is looking to provide 28 candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to train at the Brigade, a new restaurant in PWC’s London offices in Tooley Street.
The recruitment process will begin with 500 candidates who will be whittled down to a final 28 through a six-week educational and practical induction scheme; “Fresh Life”.
The final 28 will then take part in the six-month apprenticeship scheme, which combines work in the Brigade restaurant and part-time training at Southwark College.
Boyle said: “It is absolutely vital that Brigade is a successful profit-making enterprise. It must be sustainable if we are to continue helping people get a chance to start a career within the hospitality and catering industry. We’re accountable for their training and development and this is a perfect example of how the third, private and public sectors can work together to make a real difference to people’s lives.”
The Brigade is part of PWC’s office block “The Fire Station”. Split over two floors, each with its own kitchen, the site includes an 87-cover bistro and a 65-cover bar on the ground floor. Run by De Vere Venues, the first floor features five private-dining rooms and a 45-cover cook school and private dining room.
The scheme begins in September. To apply for a place contact the Beyond Food Foundation Charity, Job Centre Plus or other linked groups including St Mungo’s, South London YMCA, St Giles Trust, Salvation Army, Connections at St Martin’s,Thames Reach and the Foyer Federation.
Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove will be presenting at an Apprenticeship Seminar in the South West next week. Spaces are limited but still available so book while you can.
The FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) event sponsored by the South West Apprenticeship Company, Gloucestershire College, the National Apprenticeship Service and Gloucestershire Chamber of Commerce will be held on 15th July at the New County Hotel, Gloucester. It’s a fantastic opportunity to find out how Apprenticeships can benefit your business, which routes are best for you and learn vital information about a new low risk option available to organisations in the South West.
Tickets can be booked by calling 01285 740550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the South West Apprenticeship Company go to www.theswac.org.uk or call 0800 334 5767
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has had a spectacular success in his campaign to incease the number of apprenticsehips. Working in partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), the Mayor’s campaign has seen a total of 28,120 people finding places on schemes with companies across a wide range of the capital’s business sectors.
Its success means that London’s share of apprenticeship starts has leapt from just five per cent to more than 8.5 per cent nationally in a year – the largest growth of anywhere in the country.
The Mayor and his ‘Apprenticeship Ambassador’ and former BBC ‘Apprentice’ winner Tim Campbell launched a major campaign in November last year to create 20,000 apprenticeships by September 2011. Boris Johnson lobbied and personally wrote to some of the capital’s biggest employers, urging them to play their part in helping Londoners into work.
The Mayor has led by example, creating around 2,000 apprenticeships in the past two years within the GLA Group and its contractors, through his responsible procurement programme.
A raft of big businesses responded to the Mayor’s call and committed to creating apprenticeships, including Accenture, Microsoft, HSBC, Norton Rose and Channel 4. A further crop of well-known companies, including Sky, Visa Europe, Reed Group, Capgemini, Veolia and the National Theatre all revealed details of new schemes.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
“I am extremely grateful to everyone who has helped us rise to this important challenge. In difficult times it is vital that we do all we can to create jobs and opportunities for the next generation and that we invest in measures that will help us to recover more quickly and convincingly. Whether it’s in banking, financial services, technology, media or the arts, we’ve sought to ensure that these young people are poised to take advantage of any opportunities that arise for them in the future, so that London is well poised to lead the rest of the UK out of recession.”
John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning said:
“Apprenticeships are back where they belong at the heart of our education and training system. The Government is building the biggest and best apprenticeships programme our country has ever seen because we want to rebuild a sense of purposeful pride in our young people, and give businesses the high level skills they need to drive growth and prosperity. On my watch, we’ll support 250,000 more places than under the previous Government’s plans.”
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A bilateral agreement has been reached between governments in the UK and China regarding vocational education.
Under the plans, the two administrations intend to work together in order to enhance workplace skills, the British Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has revealed.
Thought to a groundbreaking pact, the memorandum of understanding was signed by John Hayes, the UK education, skills and lifelong learning minister, as he carried out an official visit to Beijing.
It will be in effect for three years and Mr Hayes predicted it will drive forward collaborations between China and Britain, strengthening the relationship between the two nations.
“I am particularly pleased with the Chinese interest in our apprenticeship model,” he added. “Apprenticeships are at the heart of the British government’s approach to vocational education.”
In June, a trade agreement was signed by China’s premier Wen Jiabao and UK prime minister David Cameron during a official visit by the former to Britain, with areas such as civil engineering, research and development and food covered by the £1.4 billion commitment.
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