Busy Bees Training, part of the UK’s largest childcare provider, Busy Bees Childcare group, has responded to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) latest statistical first release.
The figures revealed apprenticeship programmes were on the rise as a record number of people (872,000) were employed on government-funded apprenticeships during the 2014-15 academic year, and overall apprentice starts was up by more than 50,000 on the previous year.
Commenting on the findings, Fay Gibbin, Training Manager, said: “It’s great to see apprenticeships being more widely recognised as a credible route to further education and we have seen more support for apprenticeships in the last year. This year at Busy Bees Training, we have seen an increase of 53.6 per cent on last year’s up take of our apprenticeship programmes, so our experience is in line with the Department for Business’ findings. We hope to see this figure rise year on year.”
The report also confirmed that a lower proportion of apprentices were under 19 compared to the number of adult learners, which account for 42 per cent of apprentices in 2014-2015 compared to just 36 per cent the year before.
These figures suggest the Government’s plans to use apprenticeship programmes to recruit school leavers and target youth unemployment have fallen short of expectations.
Going against these figures, Busy Bees Training currently has 26 per cent more under 19’s enrolled on their apprenticeship programme, compared to their adult learners. The training academy engages school leavers through work experience and traineeship programmes, careers fairs, social media, free support and advice, and materials for schools. Fay suggests ways in which the government can help support schools in keeping school leavers informed of their options:
“The disappointing figures on the lack of 16-18 year olds enrolling onto apprenticeships is unsurprising. A recent survey we carried out at Busy Bees Training found that 44 per cent of school leavers felt there wasn’t any information available to them about apprenticeships, with 36 per cent saying there was no guidance available from their school or college at all.
“The Government should provide free, up-to-date information on apprenticeship courses to schools, and consider putting incentive schemes in place to ensure that students who can achieve their career goals through an apprenticeship programme, rather than a costly, unnecessary degree course, are informed on the options available to them. Parents also need to be advised on the best course of action for their child’s future. Free government refresher courses should be made available to those responsible for offering careers advice to school leaver’s and their families, ensuring that there is a well-informed, expert careers adviser on hand in every secondary school throughout the UK.”
The BIS report also recognises that higher apprenticeships are on the rise, noting a strong growth on qualifications designed to deliver “high value skills British business need.”
The findings also revealed that Traineeship enrolments have doubled in the last year, however just 32 per cent of these progressed onto a job, apprenticeship or further training.
Busy Bees Training offer their own 20 week traineeship, which has seen 41 per cent enter into employment following the programme, with the remaining majority moving onto an apprenticeship.
Gibbin explains how Traineeships can help the UK workforce and says trainees should be supported in their roles: “Traineeship schemes offer young people who don’t have the appropriate skills or experience that employers are looking for the chance to gain practical skills through a work experience placement while gaining a recognised qualifcation.
“The aim of the scheme is to provide the foundations needed to go into employment and/or gain entry onto a recognised training programme. Not only will this impact on the success of the young people on the traineeship, but also the business, the wider industry and the economy.