New strategy to boost apprenticeships

SummitSkills has welcomed government plans to expand and strengthen apprenticeships.
In its strategy ‘World Class Apprenticeships: Unlocking Talent, Building Skills for All’, the government places significant emphasis on increasing the volume of places made available by employers, encouraging them to boost their investment in employees and skills. In turn, employers can expect even more influence on apprenticeships and training.
Keith Marshall, Chief Executive of SummitSkills, commented: “We are delighted with the government’s recent proposals, which reflect our own visions for apprenticeships and maintain the emphasis on the needs of the employer. SummitSkills is pleased that Sector Skills Councils are to remain in a central role throughout this new system.”
Major initiatives mapped out in the strategy include pilot schemes, involving wage subsidies for small firms who offer quality training, plus the implementation of a National Apprenticeship Service from April 2009.
The report highlighted the need for a ‘significant and rapid increase in the number of apprenticeships frameworks available’. Currently, among the 16 to 18-year olds, just one person in 15 is on an apprenticeship scheme. New targets have been set to increase this figure to one in five over the next 10 years.
In addition, all future vocational qualifications will be based on updated national occupational standards that are to be approved by Sector Skills Councils, who will also take responsibility for monitoring standards. Ultimately, the changes being introduced will enable Sector Skills Councils to focus on encouraging employers to increase the number of good quality apprenticeship places.
Government consultation has also revealed that employers would welcome apprentices of all ages into the workforce, leading to the removal of the 25-year old age cap for apprenticeship funding.

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