Transforming the prestige of Apprenticeships: Youth Voice

For every speaking event in my role as an Ambassador for Youth Employment UK, I’m presented with a brief. Pretty standard – but this one was different.

The words ‘Apprenticeship’ and ‘Prestige’ were mentioned together. “Transforming the prestige of apprenticeships: promoting apprenticeships as an alternative career path”, to be precise.

The Public Policy Exchange hosted a symposium on the policy and potential of Apprenticeships, and despite public policy on employment and Apprenticeships changing almost every day – it was a fantastic opportunity to chat with employers and providers at this event.

Chairing the event was the wonderful Jean Duprez, whom I have most definitely brushed past on many occasions but have now got to know Jean’s fantastic career and insight.

I picked up on some interesting facts throughout the day:

  • Starting this month, a levy paying employer can transfer up to 10% of their last levy bill to another employer to use. This is also believed to be extended to allow it to be transferred to more than one employer, whereas it the moment it is limited.
  • Many issues are causing the like-for-like drop in Apprenticeships start, not because of the levy, but the reduction of training providers and employers not being stimulated to take up training with little to no funding available.
  • The Erasmus+ programme is open to Apprentices – but many are unaware.
  • The 20% off-the-job rule is an incredibly passionate topic for many people, with continued disagreements even from delegates of the same company.
  • The same could be said for the provision of Level 2 apprenticeships, with not enough early careers being encouraged into higher level 3, 4 and now degree level training.

Part of my talk focused on the lack of workplace skills that are taught in schools. No one has ever told me how to answer a phone correctly or host a meeting with a client – these are essential skills that employers expect, yet education at both secondary and higher level is not providing it.

There are lots of resources available for young people to access, but it’s crucial these are embedded within schools – and even employers – such as Youth Employment UK’s Young Professional Membership. Young Professional Membership aims to boost the skills that employers are looking for, demonstrating commitment and initiative, and gaining an understanding of the world of work.

We also discussed how young people and careers advisors don’t know how to find high-quality apprenticeships. But kite marks such as the Talent Match Mark demonstrate an employer who understands young people have to start somewhere, as well as providing ongoing opportunities for employing young people.

Lastly, I don’t need to repeat most of my “constructive moans” that I often explore in my talks because you can take a read of my other articles for Youth Employment UK. Are traditional careers advisors extinct? And my recent attendance at the AAC conferencein Birmingham makes for great reads.

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