Is It Time to Reboot Apprenticeships?
COVID has certainly had an impact on the education system, and we are all trying to adapt to the ‘new normal’. Apprenticeships are being spoken about quite a lot in the news, and the Government are providing lots of incentives for any business looking to hire an apprentice. It is therefore a great opportunity to retrain in a new field and increase your job prospects.
Benefits of Apprenticeships
As well as the chance to build new skills, studying an apprenticeship provides you with the security of paid employment. So you will have a regular income, whilst improving your knowledge. These new skills will allow you to progress within your career and climb up the ladder within your current role. With the fast-changing state of the world as it is, being able to adapt and retrain in order to build new skills is a great advantage.
Issues with the Current System
Unfortunately, there has been a substantial drop in the number of apprenticeships over the past few years. Part of this issue is that non-levy paying employers are capped by the number of apprenticeships they can support each month. This is due to restrictions from the Government when it comes to supporting training costs.
There is also a big push on apprenticeships when it comes to highly-qualified employees; but nothing at the lower level to target school leavers. With so little information provided about apprenticeships, young people simply aren’t given careers advice on the opportunities available to them.
How Can We Change Things?
The apprenticeship system needs a complete overhaul, starting with the Government. Here are some suggestions from FE News that would help to produce a stronger apprenticeship offer:
Remove the cap on Government-backed training for non-levy payers
A bit of a long-winded point there; but what we mean is open up the opportunity for SMEs to take on apprentices. Rather than capping the current training, it would be best if the Government opened up this opportunity to a wider range of businesses. Many SMEs can’t afford training costs, and are missing out on the potential that apprentices could bring to their business.
Leverage the Government’s role as an employer
It would be a great idea to promote apprenticeships within more public-sector businesses, such as the NHS. The Government also invests a lot in infrastructure projects so it would make sense to provide apprenticeship opportunities at this level too.
Educate school leavers
As we mentioned earlier, there has been a huge reduction in the number of school leavers undertaking apprenticeships. By taking the time to educate this generation about the benefits, we could see a real increase in the uptake. The Government should fund 16-18 year old apprentices’ training to begin with; but it is important to provide the right careers advice alongside this.
If we get this change in apprenticeships sorted there could be a huge shift towards the number of people taking up vocational training. There have been some flexibilities within Apprenticeship assessment recently, so could this be the start of an overhaul? If you would like any more information about the courses we provide, please contact Brooks and Kirk on 01205 805 155.
Steve is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
He provides Educational Consultancy to the 19+ sector as well as being an Assessor, IQA, EPA and Digital Marketing Professional. When not doing any of these he finds time, every now and then, to write blogs and articles.