Hayes aims for half a million apprentices News | Published in FE Focus on 1 July, 2011 | By: Stephen Exley

He wants to reach goal before next election – beating Gordon Brown’s 2020 target

The number of apprentices in England could hit the 500,000 mark before the next general election, skills minister John Hayes has claimed.

After it was announced last week that the Government had created 103,000 new adult apprenticeships in 2010/11 – double its 50,000 target – the minister told FE Focus that he hoped to continue expanding the programme.

Mr Hayes said he was keen to see Government FE policy “defined” by the apprenticeship programme, by increasing opportunities for workers with both low-level and high-level skills.

He insisted there was a genuine opportunity to create 500,000 apprenticeships – the target set by Gordon Brown, then chancellor of the exchequer, in 2007 – but said this could be delivered before the next general election, at least five years earlier than Labour’s 2020 aim.

“It was (Brown’s) biggest ambition, a long-term aim; something he dreamt of, rather than expected to achieve,” Mr Hayes said.

“If we maintain this momentum, if we can keep it going, I think we can achieve that in the lifetime of this Government, on my watch.”

Provisional figures published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) show that 257,000 adult apprenticeships were delivered in 2010/11 – well above its 203,000 target.

A BIS spokesman confirmed that the figures included learners who had previously been on the Train to Gain scheme, which officially closes at the end of this month.

Mr Hayes said: “The numbers I wasn’t aware of, but I knew … it was going well.”

He praised colleges for picking up the Government’s targets “extremely quickly”.

“They were always well equipped to do that, but they have never had the opportunity before.

“I always felt there was a latent demand, which is now manifest, with the sharp change in numbers.

“National Apprenticeship Week was bigger than it’s ever been before; it has had more coverage than it ever got before.

“I have worked hard to change the status of apprenticeships and raise the profile of apprenticeships,” he added.

Mr Hayes said he would make further announcements about developing level 5 advanced apprenticeships “to sit comfortably alongside higher education”, as well as the “access to apprenticeships” scheme as a “vehicle for re- engagement” for learners without the necessary entry qualifications.

The minister added that his ambition was to make apprenticeships an “option of choice”, with the same profile as traditional academic qualifications such as A-levels, GCSEs and degrees.

The Government is also looking to increase the number of apprenticeships in fields which have not proved popular, such as advanced manufacturing, creative industries and information systems technology.

Lynne Sedgmore, executive director of the 157 Group of large FE colleges, said: “The significant growth in apprenticeships is testament to the success of colleges and employers working together to help young people and adults gain the skills that are in demand and prepare them for the jobs that will help boost our economy. These figures offer real cause for celebration.”

Cameron pledges £25m to fund 10,000 new apprenticeships…

The Prime Minister has pledged £25million to create 10,000 apprenticeships, as fears grow that more will have to be done to kick-start the economy.

Mr Cameron yesterday admitted families are suffering ‘difficult times’ as he announced the effort to help young people get better quality training.

Ministers are expecting grim growth figures on Tuesday, which are predicted to show the economy slowing again.

David Cameron with an experimental car built by apprentices at Jaguar Land Rover's research and development and corporate headquarters in GaydonDavid Cameron with an experimental car built by apprentices at Jaguar Land Rover’s research and development and corporate headquarters in Gaydon

When Mr Cameron returns from his summer holiday, he will attempt to show that he is doing more to boost growth.

The money announced yesterday will increase the number of apprenticeships in hi-tech industries such as advanced manufacturing, information technology and engineering.

Small and medium-sized companies will be able to bid for the money to hire apprentices.

Candidates will get a basic qualification and then continue to train until they have a higher level apprenticeship that is the equivalent of a degree.

Mr Cameron made the announcement as he visited the Jaguar Land Rover plant in the West Midlands.

The Prime Minister talks with apprentices on Friday. When he returns from his summer holiday, he will attempt to show that he is doing more to boost growthThe Prime Minister talks with apprentices on Friday. When he returns from his summer holiday, he will attempt to show that he is doing more to boost growth

He said: ‘I am determined that this Government should be the most  pro-business there has been, with one purpose and one goal – creating jobs and growth.

‘It is therefore crucial that we build up the skills in this country that our businesses need and that will fuel long-term growth.

‘That is why, despite some  difficult decisions on spending, we are increasing the number of apprenticeships to record levels.

‘We are investing in apprenticeships because we know they work.

‘They are good for people who want to get ahead, good for business and good for the country.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2017853/David-Cameron-pledges-25m-fund-10-000-new-apprenticeships.html#ixzz1SxHSaMHs

Age-old problem for apprenticeships By Colin Cottell

A roundtable event held by the Employers Forum on Age highlighted the problems surrounding apprenticeships. Colin Cottell reports

Last week was a good week for apprenticeships, following the launch of the Co-operative Group’s new Apprentice Academy that is expected to create 2,000 jobs over the next three years.

But the landscape for apprenticeship programmes remains shrouded in challenges such as age-related funding, take-up by both genders and the status of vocational education when compared to university degree programmes, for even the UK’s largest employers. Those issues were among the key concerns of employers including BT, George, IBM and Pearson who participated last week in an Employers Forum on Age (EFA) roundtable, chaired by Recruiter editor DeeDee Doke.

The involvement of such household name firms with apprenticeships, and a 16% rise in apprenticeship starts in 2009/10, suggests they are on the up. However, Kevin Bowsher, equality and inclusion manager at the Olympic Delivery Authority, told the group the numbers of apprenticeships would receive a further boost if targets for different sectors were set, possibly by the government. He said this works with the ODA, where contractors are contractually obliged to provide a certain number of apprenticeships.

Many layers of bureaucracy and red tape go hand-in-hand with setting up an apprenticeship scheme, said Jenny Taylor, IBM’s UK graduate and student programme manager. “You have to get accreditation and funding, and there are so many different parties to get involved with,” she said. IBM launched its first ever apprenticeship scheme last November.

However, Jessie Buscombe, employer services director at the National Apprenticeship Service, suggested that smalland medium-sized companies found the process more straightforward than large ones. She said that more SMEs than large companies actually offer apprenticeships, although they typically take on fewer than large organisations. She added: “The market failure is with the large employers.”

Sian Hughes, employment and skills manager women’s project at the ODA, said that reduced funding for apprentices over a certain age (see Key Facts) was a particular problem when it came to attracting women into construction because women tend to enter the industry later than men. “Contractors want to take on women in the industry but without the funding they can’t”, when they come in at entry level with no experience, Hughes said. Contractors must focus their own budget spend on experienced help, she explained.

Contractors want to take on women in the industry but without the funding they can’t, when they come in at entry level with no experience

However, for large employers such as George at Asda, which already dedicates a significant spend to apprenticeships, the availability of government funding was not a deciding factor in determining how many apprentices were taken on. Joanne Ratcliffe, head of people at George at Asda, said: “If there were more funding for older apprentices, it wouldn’t mean that we took on more apprentices. We have customers to serve, and can only take on a certain number [of apprentices overall], and if we took on more that would dilute the quality” of training and mentoring the apprentices would receive.

Ratcliffe said that a key challenge was getting ’buy-in’ from parents. IBM’s Taylor, agreed this was a particular problem for technology companies when the apprentices were young women. “They go home excited and their mother says ’you don’t want to do that’,” she said.

Abu Bundu-Kumara, diversity manager at Pearson, said that because of cost, apprentice salaries were a particular concern of SMEs. In London particularly, they find it difficult to compete with large employers who pay more then the current £2.50 an hour National Minimum Wage.

“We pay a higher salary because we want the best people. We are all in competition with one another,” said Dennis Gissing, BT’s head of diversity practice.

Brad Coales, deputy head of London Workforce Development, suggested that SMEs could reduce the cost of apprentices by sharing them with other companies, by using apprentice training agencies. These operate like recruitment agencies, where the apprentices are employed by the agency and not the SMEs.

Shazia Fletcher from the apprenticeship unit at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) told the forum that the government was aware of the issues raised in the forum, and was working to address them. However, she said the bigger picture was engaging with employers who were not involved with apprenticeships at all.

Apprenticeships undoubtedly have a lot going for them, for both employers and those attracted to gaining skills while earning a wage. That said, they have some way to go before they are the finished article.

The next EFA-Recruiter roundtable, set for 6 July, will focus on access to work and young people who fall in the NEET category (Not in Education, Employment or Training), the homeless and other disadvantaged people.


  • More than 190 types of apprenticeships
  • Nearly 90,000 employers in England offer apprentices
  • A minimum of 16 hours per week paid employment
  • National Minimum Wage for apprentices £2.50 an hour
  • Average salary £170 a week
  • Age 16 upwards no upper age limit
  • 2009/10 apprenticeship starters: 279,700 16% up on 2008/09

The National Apprentice Service covers the cost of training as follows:

Age 16-18 up to 100%

Age 19-24 up to 50%

Age 25+ contribution for specified places

Source: The National Apprenticeship Service

The World Cafe

Just took part in an activity around sustainability through the vehicle of The World Cafe. Very interesting process so just thought I would share it with you all.

The World Café is based on the understanding that conversation is the core process that drives personal, business, and organizational life.

Using seven design principles and a simple method, the World Café is a powerful social technology for engaging people in conversations that matter, offering an effective antidote to the fast-paced fragmentation and lack of connection in today’s world.

The World Café is more than a method, a process, or technique – it’s a way of thinking and being together sourced in a philosophy of conversational leadership.


Paul Champion
North East Apprenticeship Company


Tel: 0191 4902453
Mobile: 07540 704920
Fax: 0191 5800218

Twitter: NEACltd

Location:Bournville Ln,Birmingham,United Kingdom

Lost Generation or NOT….

This is a very interesting video on YouTube… It is not all that is seems so please watch it all the way through.

I am hoping that media such as this can help bring about long term change in the minds of those that don’t understand or appreciate the value of the young people we have all around us…

If the video doesn’t appear then please just paste this link to you web browser.

http://www.youtube.com/watch v=RHMOwrSQK3Q&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Paul Champion
North East Apprenticeship Company


Tel: 0191 4902453
Mobile: 07540 704920
Fax: 0191 5800218

Twitter: NEACltd

Location:Birmingham,United Kingdom

Apprenticeships Benefits all round….

Benefits all round

A study carried out by the University of Warwick in 2008 charted the progress of apprentices placed with 60 employers. It concluded that apprentices were 20% to 30% more productive than colleagues who had not completed an apprenticeship.

“If you can train people internally and give them opportunities to develop, they can become more motivated and productive, and there may be better staff retention,” says Waugh. “More and more employers are recognising that training people through an apprenticeship is the most competitive and efficient way to grow stronger.”

Meanwhile, for apprentices, the benefits are also plentiful. According to the NAS, 90% of them end up being offered a permanent staff role.

Another study, carried out by Sheffield University, found that if someone started their career through a “level two” NVQ apprenticeship (roughly equivalent to five good GCSEs) they could earn £70,000 more during their professional lifetime than someone who had not been an apprentice.

And, for those for whom university isn’t an option, financially or academically, an apprenticeship offers a route into a job. “An apprenticeship marries the vocational with the academic,” explains Waugh. “There may be school-leavers who are very bright but are keener to start working, and earning.

“There are real advantages to be gained in terms of employability – your earning power is greater, you are much more likely to get into management, and your experience makes you much more attractive to an ­employer.”

‘It has built up my CV’

Georgina Stephens is working as an apprentice in human resources for Clinton Cards and is completing a level three NVQ in business and administration (the equivalent of an A-level). At 20, she has already had her first promotion, to the position of human resources officer – a step up that she puts down to the skills and qualifications her apprenticeship is giving her.

“I already had a Saturday job at Clintons, then I went full-time when I decided I wasn’t going to university,” she says. “I’ve learned so much already. It’s been hands-on experience rather than theoretical, and it has taught me how to hone skills like interacting with people. It has built up my CV and shows I have real professional skills.”

Stephens says she has no regrets about opting to work instead of studying for a degree. “I feel it’s a lot better to be able to provide for myself and learn while getting paid, instead of learning while going into debt.”

Annette Middlebrook, human resources director at Clintons, says the apprenticeship scheme is important to the company because “it upskills people and provides consistency”. She believes on-the-job learning is one of the best ways to learn. “Giving staff the chance to gain a recognised qualification really gives people confidence.”

Young Workers Are ‘Stressed’

At NEAC we believe and are committed to ensuring that all of our apprentices get the support they need to feel that they are a valued member of staff both within NEAC, but also within the host employers that we use.

The report below shows how vital ensuring as providers and support agencies for apprentices that we have robust methods of making our young people feel safe in order that they can flourish in the workplace. NEAC ensures that we use clear criteria to make sure that we are only working with employers who are committed to developing young people with a long term vision for sustainable jobs and continued learning.

To this end, we have over the past year turned away employers that just want cheap labour. We all have the responsibility to route this out..

A growing number of younger workers are complaining of stress, accusing their bosses are using the tough economic climate to justify increasing their workload.

A report by market research agency GfK NOP Engage suggests they are feeling the pressure more than their older colleagues.
Two fifths of those aged between 18 and 29 felt stressed at work, compared with 1 in 4 aged over 60.

Four in 10 of the younger age group said their managers were using the recession to justify putting work on them, according to the survey.
It is suggested they are paying a “heavy price” with their health and wellbeing, as a result.

According to an international study for the report, the UK ranked 17 out of 29 countries for engagement of their young workers with their employer, behind countries including Macedonia, Turkey, Mexico, France and the United States.

Sukhi Ghataore, director at GfK NOP Engage, said: “Businesses that view young staff as cheap and expendable may well come to count the cost.
“During tough times, engaged employees and a united workforce are a necessity, not a luxury.”

“Let’s make sure we make the workplace a better place for our young people, our workforce of the future”

Paul Champion CEO NEAC

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Paul Champion
North East Apprenticeship Company


Tel: 0191 4902453
Mobile: 07540 704920
Fax: 0191 5800218

Twitter: NEACltd

New Apprenticeship Group on LinkedIn

If you are interested in Apprenticeships, and want to join in some lively debate, share good practice and advice, then join Apprenticeships Up North on LinkedIn by following the link below.


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Twitter: @NEACltd