Research to shed light on apprenticeships

The number of Greater Merseyside employers opening their doors to apprenticeships has continued to rise and Government figures set to be
released next month are expected to conclude it is at an all time high in Liverpool.

Despite the growth, many potential apprentices remain confused about the increasingly popular career move.

Now new research is being conducted to debunk many myths which still surround apprenticeships, with the aim of giving numbers a further boost.

The research is a direct response to the OFSTED report released last week, the main findings of which expressed concerns about the information young people receive whilst still at school and the number of 16 to 18 year olds starting in an apprenticeship. OFSTED Chief Sir Michael Wilshaw says:

‘The fact that only 5% of our youngsters go into an apprenticeship at 16 is little short of a disaster.  Too many of our schools are failing to prepare young people for the world of work. Even where they do, the careers advice on offer isn’t encouraging enough youngsters into vocational routes that would serve them best.’

Learning provider organisations broker deals to get aspiring apprentices paid jobs alongside their NVQ training. They report:

• Many 16 year olds think that staying on at school is the only option
• Parents don’t understand what an apprenticeship is or how they work
• Lack of understanding about the qualifications apprentices work towards

Despite apprenticeships growing as a route to employment for all ages of the workforce, around half of those making an initial enquiry have little or no understand of what an apprenticeship is.

Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation represents 70 training providers across Liverpool and the region. Now the body is conducting James Glendenning CEO Greater Merseyside Learning Providers AssociationThe research will support ambitious Government targets which aim to deliver record numbers of apprentices over the next five years.

GMLPF CEO James Glendenning (left) said the upward trend across Greater Merseyside was encouraging but requires tangible support to place it on a sustainable footing.

“Our research has been formulated following feedback from our members and will identify the perceived obstacles to starting an apprenticeship,” said Mr Glendenning.

“This research will also inform our approach to addressing the imbalances in apprenticeship take up across our region. For example while business administration remains a buoyant sector; across the entire North West only 40 apprenticeships were taken up in science related areas for the year ending April 2014.

“The fact that recent research by One Poll showed two thirds of parents are worried that their children won’t find a job when they finish education demonstrates there is real confusion over what is on offer out there,” he added.

An apprenticeship is a paid job, providing valuable work experience. At the same time the participant works towards an NVQ, BTEC or other qualification. This can be either on day release to college or with an independent learning provider, such as a GMLPF member. 

Alternatively an assessor will attend the place of work to monitor the occupational standards and examine the candidate’s portfolio of evidence. The qualifications, for which the awarding bodies include City & Guilds, will only be attained by the apprentice when the required standards are met.

An apprenticeship requires enrolment on a government approved training programme. Those who don’t sign up via this route are entitled to the national minimum wage for their age.

Apprentices deliver high returns to the economy, with more than £26 being returned for every £1 of government investment in the scheme. Many businesses qualify for up to £1,500 of government funding towards the cost of hiring an apprentice.

Pictured above: Sarah Noonan who started as an apprentice hairdresser and now runs her own business.