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Are Apprenticeships fit to ‘build for the future’?

02/02/2022 News
Are Apprenticeships fit to ‘build for the future’?

Alex Miles, MD of West and North Yorkshire Learning Providers, talks to the Yorkshire Post about how apprenticeships are fit to build for the future.

2022 marks the 15th year of celebrating apprenticeships as part of National Apprenticeship Week from the 7-13 February in England. This year’s theme is ‘Build for the future’. As Managing Director of West and North Yorkshire Learning Providers, I’ve been reflecting on whether apprenticeships are truly fit for building the future.

There is a growing concern about reduced numbers of young people accessing apprenticeships presently. Certainly, there have been fewer younger people starting apprenticeships than in past years and there are far more vacancies currently than people applying for them in Yorkshire. So, is this the beginning of the end for apprenticeships, made worse by COVID-19?

We’ve all had to adapt as the pandemic put a stop to many ways of working and apprenticeships have had to change too. Apprenticeship training providers now offer a wide range of support & training using a blended approach to teaching & learning. As the world moves into this phase of hybrid working, apprenticeship delivery has moved with the times by offering a mix of online and live training and in doing so, makes apprenticeships a genuine choice for learners and businesses where it might not have been the case 18 months ago.

There is no doubt that the future is green. With last year’s focus on climate change at COP26 and beyond, everyone is talking about what will businesses need to get to net zero and what skills will we need to realise these massive ambitions for change. Apprenticeship programmes can be a great tool in driving not only the environmental agenda, but also feed into the levelling up agenda where we seek to enhance social mobility and opportunities for all.

As a Further Education and Training sector, we are starting to put the building blocks in place to ensure we ‘walk the talk’. At the end of 2021, we launched a ‘Green & Sustainable AMIBITION’ to support apprenticeship training providers, employers & apprentices in the region to start thinking about how we can enhance & tackle this sustainable agenda through our curriculums and in our institutions. Ultimately, we must develop the skills & knowledge required for the people and businesses in our region to step up and make the most of ‘green’ opportunities.

 

Apprenticeships offer a wide range of benefits to both employers & apprentices. For individuals, they provide real life work and development opportunities that set them up for the future. For businesses, they develop a talent pipeline.  Now there is new support available for businesses to benefit from apprenticeships.

Commissioned by the York & North Yorkshire LEP and launched in Autumn 2021, a new Apprenticeship Hub was established to provide businesses with a one-stop shop portfolio of support. The £1.83 million programme, part- funded through the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020, is delivered between Calderdale College, North Yorkshire County Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Supporting businesses in York, North Yorkshire and East Riding, it aims to develop an increasingly   skilled regional workforce, improving productivity and economic growth. It is also actively looking to increase the uptake of apprentices. With a team of advisers on hand to provide free support, the Hub can advise on how to recruit an apprentice, choosing the right apprenticeship standard, finding the right provider, accessing available levy funds and incentives, and setting up and using the apprenticeship digital account.

The Hub can also provide free support and training for leadership and management teams, as well as pre-apprenticeship and wraparound support for apprentices. It offers a range of bespoke training courses and accredited qualifications on subjects such as mentoring, coaching, recruitment, health & safety, risk assessment, personal development, employability, digital skills and functional skills.

A new Apprenticeship Provider Directory will be launched early Feb 2022 to showcase the providers delivering apprenticeships across the region and be useful to both SMEs and aspiring apprentices. On the 10th February at York Racecourse, the Apprenticeship Hub will be hosting an exhibition event. From 11am until 7pm, it welcomes businesses and potential apprentices to come along to find out more about opportunities.  The event will host up to 80 businesses communicating their apprenticeship opportunities, as well as intermediaries who can provide advice and guidance on how to navigate the apprenticeship landscape.

So, can apprenticeships help build the future? Absolutely. They are & will continue to be an important, pivotal part of our economic recovery. I invite anyone to come and talk to me or the York & North Yorkshire LEP or Growth Hub about how apprenticeships can make a positive difference.

 

To attend the Apprenticeship Hub’s exhibition event, go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/build-the-future-apprenticeship-fair-the-apprenticeship-hub-tickets-248817729527

 

To download an employer Apprenticeship Toolkit updated by the YNY LEP and Growth Hub for National Apprenticeship Week 2022, please go to Employer's Apprenticeship Toolkit - https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/resources/free-download-apprenticeship-toolkit/

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