Government to create 200,000 new apprenticeships

By Harry Yorke, online education editor. The telegraph.

The public sector needs to lead the way in equipping young people for the future, Skills Minister Robert Halfon said on Wednesday as the Government announced the creation of 200,000 new apprenticeships by 2020.

Commenting on the extension of the apprenticeship programme – which saw more than half a million apprentices begin courses last year – Mr Halfon said that the new recruitment drive would help bolster services including the NHS, local government and police forces around the country.

“We are committed to breaking down barriers and creating a ladder of opportunity for people everywhere. For our public sector to be the very best in the world, we need talented and ambitious people of all ages and from every background,” he added.

“Businesses across the country have well and truly got behind apprenticeships. Now it is time to ensure the public sector reaps the benefits of apprenticeships and young people get the opportunities they deserve.

“Setting these expectations for larger employers in the public sector is essential to give people the skills they need to succeed and enable public sector employers to deliver the skilled workforce for the future.”

APPRENTICESHIPS | AT A GLANCE
  • An alternative route into higher education
  • A work-based learning programme for students to ‘earn while you learn’
  • Leads to practical experience and a nationally recognised qualification relevant to your chosen profession
  • Students are paid national minimum wage (£3.30) for anyone under 19, or 19 or over in the first year of their apprenticeship, but this excludes higher level. Some employers offer considerably more
  • Anybody aged above 16 with 5 GCSEs grade A to C can apply for an apprenticeship
  • You can apply for an apprenticeship if you have no qualifications whatsoever but you will be required to undertake key skills maths and English

Intermediate apprenticeship

  • A level two apprenticeship
  • Equivalent to five GCSEs at A to C grade

Advanced apprenticeship

  • A level three apprenticeship
  • Equivalent to two A-levels

Higher apprenticeship

  • At levels four, five, six and seven
    Equivalent to foundation to degree levels

The announcement comes on the back of the Government’s commitment to deliver three million apprenticeships by 2020, which would see 2.3 percent of the public sector workforce employed under the scheme.

The new duty, introduced under the 2016 Enterprise Act, will apply to public sector bodies with more than 250 employees and is set to be implemented in April.

Among its backers is the Civil Service, which has already pledged to hire 30,000 apprenticeships within the next three years.

However, news of the scheme’s extension is likely to be met with resistance within the education sector, with several education groups already opposed to the new apprenticeship levy – a measure being used to fund new apprenticeships.

Due to be introduced in April, businesses with a wage bill over £3m a year will be forced to contribute 0.5 percent of their wage bill to fund the scheme – with local authority-run schools warning that new measure could cause stretch their budgets to breaking point.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, is among the groups opposed to the levy.

Speaking to reporters last week, chair Richard Watts said that the new measure dealt small schools an “unfair hand”, adding that they should be exempt from paying.

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