Budget Boost to Apprenticeship Standard

George Osborne MP

George Osborne MP: “£85 million in both 2014-15 and 2015-16 for over 100,000 grants to employers.”

A proposed new electrotechnical apprenticeship standard led by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which has recently received Government approval, is to benefit from a £85 million cash injection in both 2014-15 and 2015-16 for over 100,000 Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) placements.

George Osborne MP announced in Wednesday’s budget plans to deliver “the best schools, skills and apprenticeships for young people so the next generation can succeed in the global race.”

The government will also provide £20 million over two years to support apprenticeships up to postgraduate level. The standard has been developed in close consultation with over 300 employers, the majority of which were small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock MP recently identified ‘Trailblazers’ across eight sectors that include BAE, the National Grid, Cisco, Jaguar Land Rover, the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Nestle, the Royal Society of Chemistry and Santander.

Hancock said: “We want to see Apprenticeships become the new norm for all ambitious young people, and employers who are dedicated to growing their own talent and increasing the skills base of the nation.

“We are ending the maze-like systems that were often a mystery to the customers: the very businesses whose buy-in was so critical to their success.”

Input from these employers has been crucial in making sure the standard is workable at grass roots level and can ultimately boost numbers of apprentices and training quality, providing learners with the right level of competence according to Michelle Richmond, IET Director of Membership and Professional Development.

She said: “The Trailblazer standard has been developed by a group of employers, who have directly helped to develop the future direction of apprenticeships.

“SMEs dominate the industry, and the group that developed the standard reflected this. While they are not household names, in the main, the employers on the group are recognised in the industry for their commitment to the development of their staff and their commitment to apprenticeships.

“The vision behind the new Trailblazer standard is to increase the standard of apprentices in this sector as well as clearly signposting progression routes onto professional qualifications such as Engineering Technician and Chartered Engineer.”

David Watts, Head of Electrical Training at PASS added: “The hard part is encouraging people to realise from the beginning that the path they want should really last four or five years, starting with the initial training and then onto a degree including a masters degree.

“With a range of electrical training courses from City and Guilds, Logic Part P and our own PASS accreditations, electrician and electrical installer can bring their skills up to scratch in no time.”

For further information visit PASS Ltd’s specialist electrical training web page.