Special Review: Apprenticeships
Buoyant apprenticeship market all set for future boomApprenticeships are enjoying a moment in the spotlight. By slashing the benefits cap and removing Housing Benefit for 18-21 year olds, David Cameron is hoping to fund three million new apprenticeships if elected.
As interest in apprenticeships continues to grow, the North West remains the strongest recruiting region. Of the 440,000 apprentice starts nationally last year, 72,000 of these were in the North West."Indeed, by looking at figures for Blackburn and Darwen, where our HQ is based, there were double the number of apprenticeship vacancies advertised on the National Apprenticeship Service website as there were at this point last year, a sign that employers support apprenticeships," says Steve Gray, CEO of Training 2000.
Sandra Martland, business development manager at Blackburn College, adds: "Our apprentice applications for the coming year are already increased, with renewed interest in the construction trades as well as service sectors and higher level apprenticeships."A key challenge currently facing businesses is the widely publicised national skills shortage. This problem has multiplied over recent years and is now affecting almost every industry, with businesses struggling to recruit employees with the skills they require.
"We have an important role to play in supporting businesses as they tackle a growing skills shortage," says Mike Phelan, director of skills and business development at Blackpool and The Fylde College. Closer relationships between employers and colleges are required to train the next generation of employees and to assist with developing existing staff.""Delivering high quality apprenticeships that meet both employer and individual learner needs is something we are highly passionate about," adds Ann Turner, chief executive and principal at Myerscough College.
"Our apprenticeship training is focussed on delivering key benefits for employers and learners alike."Jamie Hughes, director of business development at Lancaster and Morecambe College, comments: "Employers are getting the message. Free funding, age grants and a beneficial apprenticeship wage structure have all contributed to providers in all areas having a multitude of vacancies ripe for the best of our young talent.
Damian Crawshaw, team manager at North Lancashire Training Group, says: "According recent CIPD research, 40 per cent of apprenticeship vacancies receive just five or fewer applications and only 15 per cent of parents say that they have received enough information on apprenticeship schemes."With £434m of investment coming through the Preston and Lancashire City Deal, an explosion in the jobs market is just around the corner. With 20,000 new positions expected to be created over the next 10 years, competition amongst employers to recruit and develop the best workforce is set to be strong.
"Many employers are looking at meeting their projected skills needs through engaging with the apprenticeship programme to not only grow their own but also to provide ongoing training for existing staff," says Ann Beetham, apprenticeship manager at Preston’s College.Adrian Roscoe, business centre manager at Runshaw College, adds: "With the recovery gathering pace, investing in training is now more important than ever. An ageing workforce coupled with increasing demand for niche skills, particularly in STEM industries, has seen many firms turn to apprenticeships to help fill this void.
"Apprenticeships are on the rise in East Lancashire. Traditional industries are picking up and construction apprenticeships are starting to boom again," says Tamsin Deasey, director of business and partnerships at Accrington and Rossendale College."However, apprentices are no longer solely linked to traditional trades; there has been an increase in demand for new apprenticeship pathways such as digital and marketing.
The feature also includes advice and information for those at the delivery end of the process (highlighted below).To read the full report, buy the March/April edition.
"Accrington & Rossendale College enjoys a reputation as one of the best Colleges in the local area. We have courses available from entry level right through to degrees, with support for businesses and the general community."
"Blackburn College has built an excellent reputation for delivering high quality apprenticeships across a variety of sectors. We pride ourselves on our excellent success rates and the work we do with learners in industry"Visit the website
"B&FC business training, Illuminate Training Solutions, is a dedicated training division delivering workplace training, bespoke courses, apprenticeships, advanced apprenticeships and traineeships, with all the benefits of an 'Outstanding' college.
"Offering a full apprenticeship recruitment service, industry experienced trainers and an evolving insight on the demands of modern industry LMC is the provider of choice for the local business community"Visit the website
"Myerscough College is one of the UK's largest land-based and sports colleges, offering a wide range of apprenticeships, traineeships and short courses across 20 exciting subject areas."
"NLTG have provided a wide range of apprenticeships for over 45 years. As the largest independent training provider in Lancashire, they currently work with over 1,300 employers and 2,500 apprentices."
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"Runshaw delivers over 20 different apprenticeship frameworks with outstanding success, offering vocational areas from accounting to beauty therapy, childcare to engineering. Work with us and share in our success."Visit the website
"Training 2000 is a large Group Training Association offering business solutions, commercial courses and apprenticeships across multiple industry sectors. Over 83 per cent of their learners progress onto a job or further training."