Plant & Works Engineering
Brexit Britain must boost skills
Published:  07 July, 2016

Britain’s young apprentices have called upon the new Government to put skills and qualifications at the very top of the agenda in Brexit Britain – and created a ‘five point plan’ to help them do just that.

The Industry Apprentice Council (IAC) report to be handed to Nadhim Zahawi MP, David Cameron’s adviser on apprentices and joint Chairman of the Apprenticeship Delivery Board, delivered a damning verdict on careers advice.

They are also calling for professional qualification as standard to ensure apprenticeships get the recognition they deserve and quality is maintained.

The results of the Industry Apprentice Council’s biggest ever survey shows an alarming lack of information regarding the opportunities that apprenticeships offer.

Al Parkes, chief operating officer of the Semta Group which founded and funds the IAC said: “Home grown skills have never been more important to this country –especially in a post Brexit Britain.

“Our young apprentices have spoken – and should be heard. They are the very people who can speak with authority and conviction having experienced the process at first hand.

“The new government must put skills at the very top of their agenda if the country is to thrive outside the EU.”

The Industry Apprentice Council, recognised as the true voice of apprentices, founded by awarding organisation EAL part of the Semta Group, launched the Five Point Plan and the survey results, at the IET, Savoy Place, London.

The document to be handed to Mr. Nadhim Zahawi MP says:

• Careers advice is still in crisis – dropped back to 2014 satisfaction levels

• 50 % of respondents found out about their apprenticeship through their own initiative – just 15 % found out from a teacher or careers adviser

• Only 24 % were actively encouraged to take up an apprenticeship by educators

• 84 % had not heard of the planned apprenticeship levy

• 70 % are unaware of the government’s 3m apprentice target

• 75 & want a professional accreditation as standard

The five point plan to boost apprenticeships formulated by apprentices themselves, will seek to; ensure the quality of apprenticeships is protected through qualifications as the quantity increases; ask employers to make apprentices more aware of career options; reform careers advice; ensure employers offer progression routes to apprentices capable of pursuing them, and set up an NUS-style body to represent apprentices’ interests.

In his foreword featured in the report Nadhim Zahawi MP, said: “It’s crucial that apprentices themselves have a voice and their experiences are listened to.

“Building apprentices’ views in, will ensure that quality does not suffer and that apprenticeship programmes remain relevant – not just equipping people with the skills employers need, but giving people what they need to grow and get on in life.

“That’s why I’m delighted to have been asked to formally launch the 2016 Industry Apprentice Council survey research report, and why it’s so important that the IAC keeps on doing the great work it has been to date. “

Endorsing the report Semta Group CEO, Ann Watson, said:

“Without apprentices, employers across the advanced manufacturing and engineering (AME) sector Semta represents, simply would not be able to meet their skills needs.

“With the economy needing 182,000 people with engineering skills every year to 2022, apprenticeships offer a tried and tested way for employers to equip new recruits with the right skills.

“That’s why 26% of AME employees have gone through an apprenticeship, compared with just 10% for the whole economy.”