The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills at the Department for Education details why apprenticeships are a high-quality route to skilled employment
It never ceases to amaze me just how much energy and enthusiasm there is for apprenticeships – from employers, training providers and, most importantly, from the apprentices themselves.
Apprenticeships offer people of all ages and backgrounds a high-quality route to skilled employment with the option to train at every level in a range of exciting professions like aerospace engineering, cyber security, teaching, law, nursing and fashion.
We overhauled the apprenticeships system two years ago and we have made some great progress. Apprenticeships are now longer, higher-quality and with more off-the-job training. Apprenticeships also provide a proper assessment at the end, with the Levy giving employers more control to invest in the people and skills they need for the future.
We worked with employers to design the new system because it is employers and not government who are best placed to decide what skills apprentices need for their businesses. More and more businesses and employers, for example, Channel 4, Royal Mail, North West Ambulance Trust and Pizza Express are providing people with the opportunity to learn new skills and get great jobs.
It is good news that the number of people starting on their apprenticeship has increased by 10% compared to the same point last year and that over 4 million people have started an apprenticeship since May 2010. But outdated attitudes are still putting some people off apprenticeships which means they’re missing out on opportunities to get good jobs and higher salaries. We all – government, employers, careers advisors, teachers and parents – have a role to play to make sure people are aware that an apprenticeship can be a life-changing opportunity.
Our new apprenticeships campaign ‘Fire it Up’ is helping to challenge these outdated perceptions and raise awareness of the huge variety of options available for people across the country. Our real live apprentice stars are of all ages and backgrounds, from employers including the Royal Opera House, Transport for London and the NHS.
We had a record-breaking National Apprenticeships Week this year, with over 1000 events taking place across the country. We are also developing a new leader board of top apprenticeship employers– the new rankings will be independently judged and published annually and will rate the Top 100 large apprentice employers as well as the top 50 SMEs.
I am extremely proud of the progress we have made, but there is still more to do. We want to continue to refine the system so employers and apprentices can make the most of the apprentices out there. Visit our new website; it provides lots of helpful advice and you can find out about all the great apprenticeship opportunities available across the country.
The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP
Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills
Department for Education
Tel: +44 (0)370 000 2288
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