Government plans to improve quality of apprentices

Published:  14 January, 2013

Government has announced plans for a new Traineeship programme to prepare young people for jobs in the industry and to ensure they meet a minimum standard.

The Traineeships, which could be in place by September 2013, were announced last week by Skills Minister Matthew Hancock.

The programme will focus on work preparation and experience, as well as ensuring those aged 16 to 24 taking the programme have English and maths GCSE grade C or equivalent or better.

Ann Watson, managing director at EAL, believes anything that gives young people a better chance when it comes to entering further education or a job is a positive step forward and will help ensure apprentices have the work place skills demanded by employers.

She explained: "English and maths are absolutely critical to industry employers, who have repeatedly said young people also lack opportunities to develop their inter-personal skills, gain interview practice or real-life work experience. While apprenticeships go a long way to ensuring young people develop these skills, there have previously been calls for pre-Apprenticeship programmes to ensure learners have a basic level of work-readiness before entering the workplace.

"In particular, a government-backed Traineeship may provide those not in education, employment or training with the skills required to get onto the employment ladder, and this can only be a good thing.

"As government and industry strives to ensure that all apprenticeships are seen as equivalent to higher education, it is increasingly important that prospective apprentices meet a minimum standard. Industry apprenticeships are already providing young people with a stepping stone into highly skilled careers in engineering, manufacturing, building services and a variety of other sectors, and places are highly sought after.

"If prospective apprentices initially go through a pre-Apprenticeship style Traineeship, this will only help to push standards up further, providing businesses with the highly skilled, experienced and qualified workforce that will help them to thrive, giving the economy a much needed boost."