Spending Review to clarify future of apprenticeships

The future for apprenticeships will be revealed in the Government’s spending review next week – answering calls from employers represented by Semta to clarify plans sooner rather than later.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said things would become clear during Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn spending review next Wednesday as he officially opened the Skills Show at Birmingham’s NEC yesterday saying the Government was determined to not only hit its 3 million target for apprenticeships but to ensure the quality was improved.

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The Skills Show, which is running until Saturday, will see more than 80,000 visitors through the doors to meet employers, have a go at a range of skills, from climbing walls, to building model cars. while the cream of Britain’s apprentices will be competing in a series of competitions from engineering to hairdressing, hospitality to plumbing.

Javid said: “It is great to see so many young people here either with their parents or with their school to learn about what’s on offer. It is showing them so many opportunities, so many great careers. It is fantastic British business is doing so well – we are creating jobs at a record rate but all these jobs need skills which is what the Skills Show is all about.

“Companies have been crying out for people with the right skills. We need more skilled people which is why apprenticeships are so good. It’s a real job but at the same time you are learning towards a proper, recognised qualification which can lead on to so many opportunities.”

He said it was important that the Government achieved its target of 3 million new apprenticeships over the lifetime of this Parliament but that it was not just about the numbers. The quality has to be right.

“We want all sorts of apprenticeships including those that are degree equivalent,” said Mr Javid. “In the last five years we have seen a lot more businesses of all sizes get involved from lots of different sectors.

“Some of the changes we are introducing like the Apprenticeship levy on all large businesses – once they see more of their own money go in they will take an even greater interest which is a good thing.”

More than 130 finalists are competing in the 11 engineering categories managed by Semta, which is employer-led and responsible for equipping the UK’s vital engineering, science and manufacturing technologies sectors with the skills to compete on the global stage.

Among them are a number of learners from Semta’s awarding body EAL and they will find out if they have won at a special celebration evening on Saturday, which could lead to a place in the Team UK squad for WorldSkills International in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

Semta’s CEO Ann Watson said: “We applaud the Government’s target to produce 3 million new apprenticeships during this Parliament, but industry does need to know details of the plan as soon as possible.

“Semta is totally committed to playing a pivotal role in skilling Britain – we have the knowledge, the expertise, the heritage – and most importantly the trust of employers and industry. We look forward to learning details of the apprenticeship levy and how we can work with the 146,000 employers we represent to put it into practice.”

The Skills Show is organised by Find a Future – the educational organisation that brings together WorldSkills UK Skills Competitions and will provide young people across the UK with the chance to unlock their potential and get inspired about the world of work. Through hands-on skills competitions and experiential careers events, it aims to develop their understanding of, and engagement with, further education, apprenticeships and skills.

Around 80,000 visitors will have the opportunity to try over 45 skills for themselves in the interactive “Have a Go” experiences across the show in careers ranging from hairdressing to engineering, hospitality to plumbing.

The Skills Show is free to attend and open from 19-21 November 2015. For more information, and to book your place, please visit www.theskillsshow.com

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