Tuesday, March 11, 2014

News: Rotherham firms are apprenticeships trailblazers

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A number of Rotherham engineering firms are working together as trailblazers as the Government looks to employers to drive up the quality of apprenticeships in England.

A review into apprenticeships in 2012 saw Doug Richard recommend a more employer-focused approach with future apprenticeships based on standards designed by employers to meet their needs, the needs of their sector and the economy more widely.

Eight groups of trailblazers took on the challenge with 29 more announced last week covering sectors ranging from aviation to law.

The "Emerging Technologies" group is working together to develop the standard for a High Value Manufacturing Technician. The group includes The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, Tata Steel, Newburgh Engineering and AESSEAL.

In a speech as part of National Apprenticeship Week, Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise, explained: "Trailblazers are quite literally rewriting the rulebook. Condensing hundreds of pages of complex, messy frameworks to a two-side description of the skills, knowledge and attitude employees need to demonstrate in a particular industry. And how they should be assessed, whether through written tests, practical observations or interviews.

"Shorter, clearer, better standards written by employers for employers against which they can easily measure themselves.

"Expressed in language they can understand, drawing on international expertise to match the world's best."

It is expected that the first apprenticeships under the new standards will begin to be delivered during the 2014/15 academic year. Numbers will start small as employers test delivery of the new standards, then grow rapidly as the reforms become established.

Following the Richard Review, the Government announced plans to issue funding for apprenticeship training and assessment direct to employers. It is currently consulting on a new funding model and seeking feedback on issues relating to it and two different payment mechanism options.

Hancock added: "There can surely be no better way of ensuring education is responsive than putting money into the hands of employers. They can then decide which training best meets their needs and buy it - providing a boost for the best and encouraging others to raise their game."

Images: AMRC Training

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