Fancy Starting a debate?? Vocational education not good enough, says Wolf report

From the BBC website 3/3/2011

Hundreds of thousands of young people are doing vocational courses which do not lead to university or a job, a report says.

A review commissioned by ministers recommends a radical shake-up of vocational education in England.

It says all pupils should study a core of academic subjects until they are 16.

And it calls for changes to the school league tables so some vocational qualifications are not counted.

At the moment, some qualifications count for the equivalent of four GCSEs.

The report says this, coupled with the funding arrangements, provide “perverse incentives” for students to be steered in to notching up strings of qualifications which may not help them in to work or higher education.

And this is at a time when young people are facing a very difficult labour market, it says.

The review has been carried out by Professor Alison Wolf, an expert in education and skills.

We’ve got more than half our 15-16 year olds failing to get get good maths and good English at GCSE the first time round and two years later it’s no better”

Professor Alison Wolf Author of review

Her report says: “The staple offer for between a quarter and a third of the post-16 cohort is a diet of low-level vocational qualifications, most of which have little to no labour market value.

“Among 16 to 19 year olds, the review estimates that at least 350,000 get little to no benefit from the post-16 education system.”

Her report says the current funding system encourages colleges to put students through a lot of qualifications – but not to continue to improve their core skills in English and maths if these are lacking.

It calls for changes to the system of funding and regulation, longer-term work placements for older pupils and greater involvement of business and industry.

At the same time, schools should no longer have a duty to provide work-related learning, including work experience, to all pupils over 14.

 

Michaela Fleming, catering student

Prof Wolf says funding for pupils aged between 16 and 19 should be per student – not per qualification – as it is at the moment.

She believes children should study mainly academic subjects until they are 16 and that if they do not get a good GCSE in English and maths by that age, they should be made to continue with those subjects.

“We’ve got more than half our 15-16 year olds failing to get good maths and good English at GCSE the first time round and two years later it’s no better,” Prof Wolf told the BBC.

Until 16, she says, pupils should spend 80% of their time on core subjects.

‘Little hope’

Education Secretary Michael Gove said the government would reform the system: “The system that we have inherited is very damaging. It is unfair for children and it is harming the economy.

“Millions of children have been misled into pursuing courses which offer little hope.”

He said high-quality vocational courses were “immensely valuable”, giving access to “great education and great jobs”, and should be available to all children.

“We will reform league tables, the funding system, and regulation to give children honest information and access to the right courses,” he said.

“Britain desperately needs good practical technical vocational education”

The Wolf report calls for more high-quality apprenticeships for young people aged from 16 to 18.

Employers should be part-subsidised to offer such apprenticeships, Prof Wolf believes, if they offer wider training.

The report also says it should be made easier for teachers from further education colleges to teach in schools and that colleges should be allowed to take pupils from the age of 14.

We welcome the moves to improve collaboration between schools, FE and employers”

The government is already planning to open new University Technical Colleges, where pupils could go from the age of 14 to do work-based training and core academic lessons in English and maths.

Vocational qualifications taken in schools and colleges include Btecs, City and Guilds and OCR Nationals, and cover subjects ranging from IT and construction skills, to dance, hospitality and catering.

Value

The bodies which provide them say they are keen to work with the government to implement the findings of the review.

A spokeswoman for Pearson, which provides the Btec qualification, said: “We were clear in our submission to Professor Wolf that we believe that any qualifications a young person takes must help them to progress in their lives.

“Research indicates that the value of our qualifications, like the Btec, is very strong in this respect.

“We welcome the moves to improve collaboration between schools, FE and employers to enable more learners to experience this.”

OCR said it wholeheartedly supported the findings of the Wolf review. A spokeswoman said: “The recommendations safeguard the interests of young people with measures that can support real progression, raise the quality of vocational provision and, crucially, secure core achievements in English and maths”.

Martin Doel, the chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said the difficulties facing young people in today’s labour market were not a reflection of the quality of vocational education per se, but were related to the state of the economy and “the challenges colleges and others face in picking up the pieces where pupils leave school with few or no qualifications”.

He said: “We welcome Professor Wolf’s recommendation that colleges can play a leading role in vocational education for students from the age of 14 and the recognition that lecturers in colleges have much expertise to offer young people.”

The National Union of Teachers says it is pleased the report recognises that it is essential pupils are not “herded into one type of education or another at far too young an age”.

NEAC rides out in support of 500 in 100 Campaign

50 apprentices in 50 days

There’s no reining back the North East Apprenticeship Company’s (NEAC) support for the Journal’s campaign to find 500 new apprentices by the end of April.

NEAC is looking to find horse loving youngsters for a County Durham equestrian centre as secures its 50 apprentice to mark 50 days since the start of the campaign.

Holmside Equestrian Centre, in Burnhope, is searching for two young people with a love of all things equine to take up training places and work towards achieving an NVQ Level 2 in Horse Care.

The successful applicants will work full-time at the yard and attend college on a day-release basis.

Owner Peter Quigley says they will need to be prepared for hard work, adding: “This isn’t a job for the faint hearted. It’s cold and involves working outside in all weathers. They’ve got to really want this for a career.

“We are working with NEAC to find young people who have a passion for horses and a strong work ethic. The candidates need to be hardy characters.

“They will be mucking out, turning out and bringing in livery horses from grazing, assisting the farrier, dentist or vet and learning all aspects of care and grooming.

“But there will be a great return for their efforts. As well as a good wage, they will get two years training, a solid grounding from us in all aspects of caring for horses.

“They will be given the means to progress in the industry. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the right person.”

The British Horse Society approved centre is run by Peter and his 30-year-old daughter Danielle from a farm located near Craghead and Chester le Street.

The centre provides a full range of services for horses and riders from livery and grooming to riding lessons, tack cleaning and laundry services.

The apprentices will also be expected to learn and maintain high levels of customer service already offered at Holmside.

NEAC aims to create over 1000 new apprentice jobs in the North East over the next few years. Almost 150 companies have signed up with the NEAC since it was launched and more than 400 potential apprentices have registered for placements.

As well as handling the recruitment and selection of young people for apprentice placements NEAC provides an HR function for its candidates and delivers their training through locally-based providers.

Managing director Paul Champion is backing the Journal’s campaign and wants to secure the fiftieth apprentice – and the right people for this interesting position – as soon as possible.

“We are pleased to being working with Holmside as this opportunity reflects the interesting and diverse range of apprenticeships open to young people these days.

“We now have more apprentices than ever signed up. It means we have an even bigger talent pool to draw on to find employers the right apprentice with the right skills for their workforce.

“We can also support employers across a range of sectors with administrative services which make it easy and beneficial for companies to use apprentices.”

More about NEAC at www.neapprenticeship.co.uk or email info@neapprenticeship.co.uk Tel: 0191 490 2453.

In the Recruitment Sector? Fancy a chat?

Hi,  I’m looking for some ‘mainstream’ recruitment agencies to contact me to have a chat about some ideas that I have with regard to apprenticeships within employers.  I want to chat to agencies around the UK but would be very interested in agencies in and around the North East.

I feel there is some good work that could be done by NEAC in partnership with other agencies, using creative ways of working, and I would like the opportunity to have a chat about how we can invest in the future skills of the workforce ‘together’ by investing in young people.

If you want to find out more, e-mail me at paul.champion@neapprenticeship.co.uk, or call me on 0191 4902453.

Maybe we can create something great through a very small investment of our time?

NEAC hits the green button with new apprenticeship initiative

The North East Apprenticeship Company (NEAC) is launching an initiative to recruit new apprentices for ‘green’ training places.

The programme kicks-off during National Apprenticeship Week 2011 (next week Monday 7th to Friday 11th Feb) and is aimed at finding potential young apprentices for future employment specifically in the environmental sector.

Planned job roles and targeted sectors will include environment officer, carbon management and eco tourism as well as recycling, waste disposal and pollution control.

The move comes as the environmental sector is expanding due to increasing concern about climate change and pollution and will see NEAC working towards becoming the first organistaion of its type to achieve an environment award from the Environmental Academy.

The Swalwell-based Academy is a national training and consultancy company which provides businesses with support on environmental, quality and health and safety issues.

It was established to help industry, commerce and the education sector to meet growing demands of new legislation in these areas, offering consultancy services for people working in the environmental sector or looking to CPD with professional tuition.

The first new NEAC apprenticeship to be launched, in partnership with the Environmental Academy, will be for apprentice environmental management administrators with green apprentices starting work very soon.

Training will be delivered in partnership with WBL Providers and Colleges and those who participate will, as part of their apprenticeship, help employers find new ways of reducing their carbon footprint – as well as assisting them in working towards achieving internationally recognised quality standards like ISO 14001.

Apprentices will learn how to undertake, for instance, green audits for their employers as part of the skills training they receive. This will enable them to identify areas where improvements can be made, boosting their employers’ environmental credentials and helping them reduce carbon emissions and recycle more.

As part of the move, NEAC will be offering a free consultation service to help employers improve their carbon footprint

NEAC aims to create over 1000 new apprentice jobs in the North East over the next few years. Almost 150 companies have signed up with the NEAC since it was launched and more than 400 potential apprentices have registered for placements.

As well as handling the recruitment and selection of young people for apprentice placements NEAC provides an HR function for its candidates and delivers their training through locally-based providers.

NEAC managing director, Paul Champion, said: “The green job market is growing due to increasing concern about climate change and pollution, and as a result tighter regulations are affecting more businesses than ever before.

“We have partnered with the Environmental Academy to support Green Apprenticeships and encourage business growth through environmental training and awareness.

”With this partnership we will screen and select the right ‘green’ apprentices to undergo government funded training to ensure they have the skills that will benefit each individual company.”

Rita Callendar, managing director of the Gateshead-based Environmental Academy said: “We are very pleased to be working with NEAC on this innovative new programme.

“For a company hiring a green apprentice the benefits are great. This is an opportunity for the business to show a first step taken towards showing environmental management expertise or to enhance their existing arrangements.

“The green apprentice, while working and training will also help the company achieve an Enviro Award. And the apprentice gets the opportunity to qualify in a role that will fit a growing job market in Green careers.”

Apprenticeship Week 2011 aims to highlight the talents and skills of apprentices and celebrate the value of apprenticeships. More about NEAC at www.neapprenticeship.co.uk or email info@neapprenticeship.co.uk blog: http://www.apprenticeshipblog.com Tel: 0191 490 2453.

At TUC Apprenticeship Conference in London. Looks interesting

The New Apprenticeship Agenda: The Union Role
9th February 2011, Congress Centre, London

9:30​Registration Opens

10:00​Coffee Available

10:30​Conference Start – Introduction from Frances O’Grady, Deputy General Secretary, TUC

10:40​Simon Waugh, Executive Chair, National Apprenticeship Service

11:00​John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning

11:20​Questions

11:30​Presentation of Unionlearn Quality Award to Stephenson College, Coalville, Leicestershire

11:45​Voice of Apprentices – apprentices will talk about their experience in interview with Robin Ross:
• Anna Barnes – Apprentice at GMB Southern
• Lynne Dickinson – Apprentice at Gento and member of UNITE
• John Patterson – Apprentice at Redcar & Cleveland Council and member of UNISON
• Scott Walker – Apprentice at City of Lincoln Council and member of UCATT


12:15​Launch of Manufacturing Skills Alliance Guide on Apprenticeships – Terry Watts, CEO of ProSkills

12:25​Delivering the future Engineering workforce: The role of Apprenticeships and addressing inequality – Stephen Lilley, Apprenticeship Executive, SEMTA

12:35​World Skills London 2011: The role of apprenticeships – Michael Osbaldeston, Partnership Director for WorldSkills London 2011

12:45​Closing comments and the way forward

13:00​Close and Lunch

Apprenticeship Week is so Cool!

Apprenticeship Week is an excellent week to be able to promote our talented young people and excellent employers.

Why not take a look at

Apprentice sparkles in new role!

Deer sparkles as new jewellery apprentice

A Norton teenager has beaten off stiff competition to win a gem of an apprenticeship with up and coming jewellery company Rock ‘n Rose – thanks to the North East Apprenticeship Company (NEAC).

Megan Deer, 16, started her apprenticeship in customer service this week after being chosen from a list of 36 candidates.

The online jewellers – which supplies celebrities and X Factor stars with bespoke fashion accessories and has been featured in glossy magazines – was started in 2007 by sisters Jess and Emily Lathan from Stockton.

All the items sold are handmade and handcrafted by the two-strong team and the business has grown at such a rate they decided they needed an apprentice to train up as part of their team.

Now the sought after retailer, which boasts celebrity clients such as Pixie Lott, is set to expand further into specialised bridal accessories after moving its operation to new premises at the Durham Tees Valley Business Centre on Orde Wingate Way last August.

Jess said: “We had grown the business rapidly working from home and realised that when we moved we’d need an extra pair of hands to meet demand.

“We approached the North East Apprenticeship Company via Business Link to find someone who we could bring on board to learn a trade while helping us with customer demand.

“We found the process of working with the NEAC great. They sifted through dozens of applications before sending us a short list from which we interviewed two.

“We chose Megan because she is meticulous, enthusiastic and hopes to pursue a career in the jewellery business. We hope she will stay with the business.

“One of the things I worried about was delegating to a new member of staff and hoping they were going meet the standards we set as a company. But Megan is a perfectionist; I think she will work out great for us.”

Megan added: “I decided not to go to college as I think I wasn’t interested in studying all day long every week.

“So, I applied for the apprenticeship online – it was really easy to do. Then I got the interview and I’m really thrilled they picked me as I really wanted the apprenticeship.

“I love it because I’m very much a ‘hands on’ person. I am already learning new people skills and hope to maybe one day study jewellery design and retailing.”

Almost 50 North East companies have already signed up with NEAC since it was launched and 450 potential apprentices have also registered for placements.

The company has a regional brief to expand apprenticeship positions, tackling the skills gap to create more than 1000 new apprentice jobs in the next two years, particularly among small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Managing director Paul Champion said: “We are seeing a lot of interest from young entrepreneurs like Jess and Emily who want to take on young people to learn a trade and pass on specialist skills.

“The North East Apprenticeship Company can not only recruit young people for placements but support employers across a range of sectors with advice and administrative services which make it quick, easy and beneficial to use apprentices.”

Whickham apprentice travelling up the ladder to career success

A Whickham teenager has taken the first step on his travels to career success after landing an apprenticeship with a holiday wear retailer at Newcastle Airport thanks to the North East Apprenticeship Company (NEAC).

Eighteen-year-old Joe Wilson has been placed by NEAC as the new management trainee at Traveller – a retail outlet which sells clothes and accessories to holiday makers.

Joe left Gatehead’s Emmanuel College part way through A Levels in Business Studies and ICT after deciding academic qualifications didn’t suit him.

After hearing about the North East Apprenticeship Company (NEAC) from a friend he applied to find a training place.

He said: “I didn’t like school, I just wasn’t interested. I completed my first year of sixth form then started to look around for something else. I rang NEAC and they started looking for a placement for me.

“I really enjoy my new role. It’s totally different to school – I get treated like an adult. I‘m not sure yet what I want to do in the future but I think it will be something in retail.

“I’m glad that I have had the opportunity to become an apprentice because it will give me the skills and experience needed for a successful future working in the service sector.”

Joe is on placement for at least 12 months and is working towards an NVQ Level 3 in Management.

His boss and Traveller company director Giles Mortimer said: “After just six weeks with us Joe is already making his mark and attending management meetings.

“He was a bit shy at first but we chatted to him and had a laugh. We liked the fact that at a young age he already had experience of working while he was at school.

“We didn’t just want anybody; we wanted somebody with something about them and had some initiative.

“We knew we had to have someone who could take on more responsibility due to the fact that the e-commerce side of our business is taking off and our new website is due for launch very soon.”

Giles was also pleased that the NEAC helped with the expense of employing someone at the airport – which requires special training in fire and security risks.

“They helped overcome problems and have recommended the right sort of person as an apprentice for our business. We think that by working up the ranks Joe will turn into a better employee in the long run.”

Giles and business partner Ian Chapman set up Traveller 12 years ago and have been based at the airport for five of them. Joe is the latest member of staff – the ninth – and despite the recession the retailer is expanding into online sales with the launch of http://www.holidaywardrobe.com.

Giles added: “It has been a difficult year. We were closed during the volcano ash cloud problems but we just kept on working and sales are as strong as ever. We are looking forward to the website launch and are pleased to have Joe on board to help.”

More than 30 North East companies have already signed up with NEAC since it was launched and 450 potential apprentices have also registered for placements.

The company has a regional brief to expand apprenticeship positions, tackling the skills gap to create more than 1000 new apprentice jobs in the next two years, particularly among small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Managing director Paul Champion said: “We are seeing a lot of interest from employers like Giles who want to give young people the chance of a career and to pass on their expertise and experience to future generations.

“The North East Apprenticeship Company can not only recruit young people for placements but support employers across a range of sectors with advice and administrative services which make it quick, easy and beneficial to use apprentices.”

Tim Lamb and NEAC,bringing business into schools programme.

 

 

 

 

 

Apprenticeship experts go back to school

 

Experts from a company which finds apprentices for regional companies have gone back to school to teach the latest generation of students the skills required to succeed in business.

The North East Apprenticeship Company’s (NEAC) Judith Jackson and Tim Lamb visited St Joseph’s RC Comprehensive School, Hebburn today (Monday 7th Feb) to mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2011 (7 – 11 February).

The event aims to highlight the talents and skills of apprentices and celebrate the value of apprenticeships.

Tim – who is the general manager of the Metrocentre and NEAC’s first ambassador – promoted the benefits of apprenticeships, sharing his positive experiences and how they have shaped his own career.

They explained how an apprenticeship can provide that important first step on the ladder to career success.

Possessing a positive attitude, being confident and well organised, as well as being good with people, were just some of the tips given to the students, many of who were thinking about how they could improve their chances of getting a job when they leave school later this year.

Tim explained how his career had began when he became an apprentice in the parts department at Mill Garages when he was 16-years-old. This paved the way for a successful career in customer service based industries culminating in becoming general manager of Eldon Square before taking up his current job at the MetroCentre.

“As a former apprentice myself, there’s no better way to learn a trade and gain some valuable skills than through an apprenticeship. It certainly helped me to get where I am today.

It’s also interesting is to see the sheer variety of apprenticeships now available to young people keen to get on in life.

“From business admin and bricklaying through to the more unusual like falconry and designing computer games and websites, there’s a whole new world of opportunity for open to ambitious and go ahead school leavers.”

School Students said: “Tim and Judith’s advice was very helpful because I had been thinking about what I was going to do when I leave school this summer.

“I definitely think that an apprenticeship might be a possibility as not only gain I gain some skills an employer wants but also continue to student for a useful qualification.”

NEAC, which has a regional brief to expand apprenticeship positions, aims to tackle the skills gap by creating more than 1,000 new apprentice jobs by 2012, particularly among small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

More than 150 companies have already signed up with the NEAC since it was launched and more than 400 potential apprentices have registered for placements.

Visit www.neapprenticeship.co.uk or email info@neapprenticeship.co.uk Tel: 0191 490 2453.

You’re Hired. First day at work for Catherine McKinnell MP’s New NEAC Apprentice

Labour MP for Newcastle North, Catherine McKinnell, has today welcomed her new apprentice, 16-year old
Charlene Curry, to her first day at work in National Apprenticeship Week.

Catherine’s Apprenticeships and Skills Bill aims to dramatically increase the numbers of apprenticeships in the UK using the tool of public procurement. The Bill receives its second reading in Parliament this Friday (11th February), but Catherine is leading from the front by hiring an apprentice in her constituency office in Westerhope, Newcastle.

Charlene Curry, from Newbiggin Hall in Newcastle, will complete a Business Administration qualification whilst gaining work experience in the office of her local Member of Parliament. The new apprentice, who has been placed by the North East Apprenticeship Company, will be involved in a variety of tasks to help ensure the smooth running of the office, including answering the telephone, opening post, ordering stationery, filing and dealing with enquiries from constituents.

Catherine McKinnell said:

“It was a real pleasure to welcome Charlene to work this morning on the first day of National Apprenticeship Week. I believe she will be a huge asset to my constituency office whilst offering her the opportunity to gain a qualification while she works.

“I am passionate about the importance of apprenticeships for both employers and employees, and for the country as a whole. They provide a structured career path, whilst also helping to develop the skills we need if our economy is to compete nationally and internationally. That is why I introduced my Apprenticeships and Skills Bill into Parliament, for which support continues to grow – with backing received from Ed Miliband, Lord Sugar, the TUC, the Federation of Small Businesses, the North East Chamber of Commerce, Unison, Unite, the GMB, UCATT, NUS, the Association of Colleges, the Federation of Master Builders and the Electrical Contractors’ Association.”

Charlene has just completed an NVQ in customer service working on an NHS contract and in her interview really impressed Catherine with her insightful responses and friendly manner.

On her first day at work Charlene Curry, Catherine McKinnell’s new apprentice, said:

“I am really looking forward to working in the office of my local Member of Parliament. I was interested in completing an apprenticeship so I could get work experience while I gain a qualification and this is a great opportunity. In my spare time I volunteer for Skimstone – a local charity working with young people – and I look forward to helping Catherine with her work in the local community.”