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Education Eye: It has never been a better time to be an apprentice

Bev Flanagan

Bev Flanagan

  • by Bev Flanagan, principal of Bucks University Technical College in Aylesbury
 

Apprenticeships are growing in popularity among both employers and young people according to figures released recently by the National Apprenticeship Service:

More than 7,180 Apprenticeship vacancies, a 24% increase, posted online between August and October 2013 with online applications rising 43% (to 461,530)

In light of these new figures, the Government is urging employers to create more apprenticeship positions in order to meet the growing demand.

Interestingly however in Bucks, training providers say young people are not choosing that option so readily. This suggests more careers guidance is needed to ensure young people really know how worthwhile an apprenticeship is.

Apprenticeships are an option for our young people that shouldn’t be ignored.

They can have a job with training leading to Level 2 or 3 qualifications, and now a higher education qualification, so having the benefits of both worlds: employment and qualifications, recognised in a more general context.

But, our employers want apprentices that are deemed to be employable and ready for work.

It is therefore fundamental as education providers that we ensure our young people have good employability skills.

New higher level apprenticeships in place from 2013, offer university level qualifications, sometimes including a full honours degree or certainly including an HND or foundation degree which can be topped up to honours.

Whilst apprenticeships are often associated with trade professions, some companies like Cisco, one of Bucks UTC’s partners, take higher level apprenticeships into their organisation.

This makes a fantastic opportunity for a career with a global company. The same can be said for companies in the construction industry, who sometimes take their apprentices at a higher level and at age 18.

At Bucks UTC we hope that our young people will progress into apprenticeships with our employer sponsors and through the higher level apprenticeships that our partner Bucks New University promote.

 

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