The ‘world’s best career route’ at risk from poor policy and government changes

Despite successive governments having created what apprentices say could be ‘the best career route in the world’ for under-25s, apprentices say this is now at risk.
New research shows 98 per cent of engineering apprentices are happy in their jobs – citing good pay and no debt, fulfilling work, qualifications and career progression.  But this extraordinarily successful career route is at risk from government changes to the apprenticeship system and is being held back by poor careers advice at school.
The research was carried out with 1200 apprentices, through the Industry Apprentice Council – made up of apprentices from the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector and supported by national engineering skills body Semta.
Ann Watson, chief executive of the Semta Group, said: “As we finalise new standards for apprenticeships it is important that ministers listen to apprentices and prevent the collapse of an extremely successful system. We are already facing an uphill battle with poor careers advice in schools. We need to make apprenticeships more attractive not less to our young people and employers, particularly the SMEs, at a time when we need all the engineers we can get and the skills gap is growing – we need nearly two million more engineers and technical staff by 2025.”
92 per cent of the apprentices surveyed oppose the removal of mandatory qualifications by the Department for Education with warnings that this risks creating a two tier system. Those studying the new T-Levels will achieve a recognised formal qualification while apprentices may not – as qualifications are not mandatory in the new apprenticeship standards.
John Coombes, IAC member and toolmaker at Ford Motor Company Ltd, said: “Governments have created what must be the world’s best career route for young people – where else would we get 98% saying they are happy with their career choice? But more than 90 per cent of apprentices oppose the removal of mandated qualifications, and there is a lot of unease about the focus on the End Point Assessment as the primary measure of an apprentice’s achievement.”
Careers advice was highly criticised by the apprentices.  Only 22 per cent received good or very good advice from schools, with 5 per cent receiving no advice and nearly 40 per cent saying their advice was bad or very bad.
The research also highlighted a significant gender bias in careers advice, with 85 per cent of female apprentices saying their school or college had put higher education as the number one option for school leavers, compared to just 77 per cent for male apprentices.  Similarly fewer young women were given information about apprenticeships compared to young men – 35 per cent against 41 per cent.
Philippa Dressler-Pearson, IAC member and advanced technical engineering apprentice at Southco Manufacturing Ltd, Worcester, said: "There's a massive skills shortage of engineers and technical staff in the UK but you don't hear anything about this in schools. Teachers don't have enough information about apprenticeships, why they are important and what they offer."
The apprentices have made a number of recommendations for government and schools. They say no school should be awarded outstanding by OFSTED unless they deliver quality careers advice on apprenticeships and that this advice should be a statutory requirement in all schools. They also want formal qualifications included in apprenticeship standards wherever employers recommend them.
The Industry Apprentice Council, set up by Semta, is the UK’s industry voice for apprentices and recognised by government – members are regularly invited to address MPs, peers and leaders in education and industry.

IAC research findings

  • Full results from the IAC survey are available on request
  • 98% of 1198 respondents said they were pleased their choice to take up an apprenticeship
  • The important elements that influenced their careers choice were
o    Earning while learning (82%)
o    Career prospects (76%)
o    Having a formal qualification (73%)
o    Practical learning (64%)
o    Avoiding debt (57%)
  • The number of respondents saying that schools recommended apprenticeships as an option to pupils fell from 42% in 2016 to 40% in 2017
  • More respondents ranked the careers information, advice and guidance at their school or college to be poor, up from 22% in 2016 to 23% in 2017. 15% ranked their advice very poor, up from 14% in 2016
  • 88% of respondents do not agree that all apprentices should be assessed through End Point Assessment.
  • Only 8% of respondents say that formal qualifications should not be required as part of an apprenticeship
About Semta: Semta works for and on behalf of employers, creating skilled engineers for the future.
It ensures engineering and manufacturing employers have the skills they need by influencing government policy; helping fill the skills gap; and advising employers on recruiting, training and assessing apprentices.
Semta is a charitable body with three trading divisions; EAL for assessments, Semta Apprenticeship Service for managing and delivering apprenticeships, and Semta International, taking the UK skills quality brand around the world.  Profits are reinvested in skills development for the future in areas such as research, policy advice, skills awards and helping employers anticipate engineering skills trends.
Semta strongly promotes the value of diversity and equality in engineering, particularly in apprenticeships. It launched the apprenticeship toolkit in June 2017 to help employers and training organisations recruit, retain and promote more female apprentices.  Its annual Semta Skills Awards includes recognition for the best female apprentice.
About The Industry Apprentice Council (IAC): The IAC is the UK's industry voice for apprentices and the wider further education sector.  Founded and supported by Semta Group, the IAC is made up of young apprentices predominantly from the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector throughout the UK.
It is recognised by government as an important part of the apprenticeship debate, with members regularly invited to address MPs, peers and leaders in both industry and education.
All members of the IAC are passionate and have their own stories as to why they followed the apprenticeship path. They regularly share them at careers fairs, in schools and through the media to inspire the next generation to consider apprenticeships

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 9 hours 41 minutes ago

1.6million households worried about payments over winter as mortgage holiday scheme closes; JRF warns that without… https://t.co/i7vpXQxP8c
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page