Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has said that employers are realising the advantages of apprenticeships in their workplace. Big companies like Lloyds Banking Group and Marks & Spencer are already taking on apprentices under the new government apprenticeship programmes.

Mr Hinds wants both parents and schools to encourage apprenticeships beside the usual academic route for further education, especially when the young people are making decisions about their future.

The Government launched the new ‘Fire it Up’ campaign on Thursday, 17th January. The scheme is aiming to promote apprenticeships, not only for young people, but parents and employers. It will also confront the largest school trusts who have not issued information about how providers of vocational education can talk to the pupils in their school. It will also raise awareness of the variety of apprenticeships available for people of all ages and backgrounds.

The Prime Minister said in prime minister’s questions on Wednesday that it is vital for young people to see that there are different routes into their career – and that an apprenticeship can be an important one for some of them. The Government is also contacting local authorities to remind them to have everything they need to show the pupils the full range of information about all the different career routes they can take.

Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, said:

“We are seeing the apprenticeship system in this country come of age, with leading employers waking up to the benefits apprenticeships can bring.

“The sad truth is that outdated and snobby attitudes are still putting people off apprenticeships which means they’re missing out on great jobs and higher salaries – many of them in the sorts of firms graduates look to land jobs with after university.

“It’s vital that we challenge people’s thinking about apprenticeships which is why the Government’s new ‘Fire It Up’ campaign will aim to shift deeply-held views and drive more people towards an apprenticeship.

“At the same time, we need to make sure that young people have access to information about all of the opportunities that are out there, so we are taking action to make sure all schools invite a wide range of providers in to help young people choose the right career path for them.”

The new apprenticeship programme is offering high-quality training and many career options. The new ‘standards’ were created in collaboration with leading companies to ensure the standard of the programme is high. The range of apprenticeships available is wide; from aerospace engineering and teaching, to fashion and law. The apprentices also have the opportunity to study up to degree level and will receive around 700 hours of training, 140 more than a year before.

TV and social media adverts, as well as a new website, were created specifically for the campaign to provide more information and guidance, as well as giving access to all the available apprenticeships across the country.

Back in January 2017, the Government backed the ‘Baker Clause’ to help young people understand the career options available to them; either doing an apprenticeship or following an academic route. It requires schools to invite in a wide range of education and training providers, to help young people make the best decisions for their future.

Anne Milton, Apprenticeship and Skills Minister, is currently contacting the 10 biggest multi-academy trusts which are not following the clause, to remind them of their legal duty. If there is any proof that they don’t follow the clause, the Government will take action.

The Careers & Enterprise Company is working with schools to raise awareness of technical options and apprenticeships, as well as giving young people a chance to encounter the real world of work.

The advantages of apprenticeships in workplaces have been highlighted in a recent analysis, and include:

  • 71% of apprentices said that their chances of earning higher wages in the future have grown and 80% said that the possibility of them completing higher levels of training has also increased
  • 90% of apprentices who completed their course, secured a paid position or went on to further learning, and 88% carried on with their current employment
  • Employers noticed that productivity was improved by 78%, as well as product or service quality by 74%. They also noted that 68% of apprentices brought new ideas to the business and 83% would recommend an apprenticeship to other firms
  • 64% of young people consider choosing an apprenticeship as an option after leaving school instead of going down the academic route, according to a recent study by Sutton Trust. This represents a 9% rise since 2014
  • The survey also provides an insight into earning potential, with 23% of men on an apprenticeship, earning more than those who only left school with GCSEs, and around 16% more than those who only completed a level 2 vocational qualification. Women earn around 15% more after completing an apprenticeship and 4% more than those who left with a level 2 vocational qualification

Damian Hinds said that the figures show the benefits of apprenticeships for both young people and businesses.

Alim Jalloh, a Channel 4 apprentice and campaign star said:

“Young people like me are thinking about their options. University is a good idea, but it is not for everyone. Ultimately it wasn’t for me because I didn’t feel it was preparing me for the job I really wanted. My apprenticeship was an amazing combination of world-class, on-the-job learning, hyper-relevant qualifications, with a clear potential career ahead of me. All while earning a salary!”

The Government has started to change how technical and vocational education works in the country. It involves getting employers to provide the high-quality training and a wide range of apprenticeships, as well as introducing gold standard ‘T Levels’ from 2020 – the technical equivalent to A Levels.

Last December the secretary shared his 10-year ambition to put more people into a skilled job with better wages, and to be on the same educational level as the best in the world. This includes:

  • Higher Technical Qualifications – these level 4 and 5 qualifications, like Diplomas of Higher Education and Foundation Degrees, are an alternative to a degree level, and will sit between A Levels and a degree. It will help people get into skilled careers
  • Changing the pupil destination measure – this new information will show pupils a separate measure of how many people go on to university, higher technical apprenticeships or Higher Technical Qualifications
  • Matching skills to a job – new guidance and support for Skills Advisory Panels, including cooperation between public and private sector employers, local authorities, schools and universities – to assess what skills are needed in their local area

Original story by: gov.uk

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