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What’s been happening in National Apprenticeship Week?

by on March 13, 2015

This week has been national apprenticeship week in the UK and you can even ‘test your knowledge’ about apprenticeships on the Government website (go on, you know you want to).  This website also promised us statistics and outlined the themes of the week as:

  • getting more small businesses to take on apprentices
  • promoting the range and breadth of apprenticeships on offer, including those at Higher level and within blue chip companies
  • celebrating apprenticeships and the level of success that learners can achieve.

Looking across the news coverage of the week a key concern was that not enough young people are taking up apprenticeships, here highlighted by the BBC.  This report also highlighted concerns with the quality of provision since most offered are a the lower end (GCSE equivalent) though business continue to report high levels of satisfaction.

The CIPD reported a more optimistic picture by measuring the number of employers offering apprenticeships (rather than the number of people taking them up) as reported in a survey of 868 HR professionals.  They suggested that “The number of employers that report offering apprenticeships has risen dramatically to almost half (47%), compared to less than a third (31%) at the end of 2013. However, SMEs are less than half as likely to offer apprenticeships, with only 26% reporting that they do compared to 62% of larger organisations”.  Interestingly the CIPD makes an unproblematic link between apprentices and young people – which may not reflect the age range of apprenticeship opportunities.

The Recruiter summarized that an additional 285 organisations had pledge to set up apprenticeships via the NAW website during the week.  We will wait and see if these materialise in 2015.

It was interesting to see that despite extensive coverage in regional and local press, NAW did not seem to feature heavily in national press coverage.  An intriguing exception was the Daily Telegraph’s Apprentice Rich List – who knew Eric Clapton did an apprenticeship making stained glass!

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