Careers Column 2: The changing landscape of apprenticeships
Throughout the summer our expert Advice Team is running a special Careers Column in the Gloucester Citizen, Gloucestershire Echo and Forest Citizen, offering advice to young people and their parents on the important factors to consider when making decisions about their education and future careers.
If you didn't catch it in the paper, don't worry - we will be posting the articles here on the GC news page every Wednesday.
Read the full article below or click on the image to see it as it appears in the newspaper.
The changing landscape of apprenticeships
By Tracy Toyne - Advice and Guidance Coordinator
The apprenticeship landscape is shifting and many people’s perceptions are now out of date!
Gone are the days of entry-level, trade-based schemes. Apprenticeships have been transformed in a bid to drive highly sought after workforce skills for school leavers, as well as adults looking to build on their qualifications.
The fact is, apprentices can now gain qualifications ranging from those equivalent to five GCSE passes up to degree level. Unsurprisingly, increasing numbers of employers are realising this too. They’re experiencing the benefits of being able to recruit a new breed of keen, ready-to-learn talent; looking for work-based skills and real experience.
Some of the exciting new standards in development:
- Financial Services Professional Apprenticeship
- Transport Planning Technician
- Software Developer
- Digital Marketing Apprenticeship
What’s driving this change?
The Government introduction of an Apprenticeship Levy, effectively a new tax on employers that took effect in April 2017. The Levy is designed to create a new fund that will pay for the training of three million apprentices in the UK by 2020. It affects all UK organisations with a wage bill of £3m or more.
Moving from frameworks to standards
Not all of the apprenticeships will provide a qualification (although at GC we will be working towards a formal qualification for all our learners). All apprenticeships defined by these new standards are rigorous, challenging and require the apprentice to undertake a minimum of one year’s training.
Some of the changes that are taking place in apprenticeships right now include:
Choice Of Industry - There are already a wide range of careers and industries available via the apprenticeship route – including some that were previously pretty much closed to anyone without a degree. This number looks set to keep rising as the Apprenticeship Levy tempts many companies who have never offered apprenticeships to start doing so.
Age – a lot of school or college leavers are embarking on their careers via an apprenticeship. Some companies, like Barclays, are also offering apprenticeships to adults wishing to retrain or learn new skills, whatever their age.
Gender - Apprenticeships long associated with males doing trades like construction or plumbing, now offer apprenticeships attracting and recruiting women. British Gas have been proactive about this for a number of years.
Pay ‘Earn while you learn’ is a common phrase associated with apprenticeships, and it is true. Yes, the apprentice minimum wage is lower than the regular national minimum wage, but this is offset by the fact that you are not paying for your tuition, as with university. Plus, many of the best apprenticeships offer far higher wages than this minimum, so the notion of apprentices just being cheap labour for business is no longer true.
These are just some of the changes that have hit apprenticeships in recent times, and there looks to be many more on the way as more companies start offering apprenticeships and schools do more to promote them as a very real option for young people.
Gloucestershire College works with around 650 of Gloucestershire’s top businesses to offer apprenticeships across 17 industries. GC advertises current apprenticeship vacancies online and holds an annual Apprenticeship Information Evening, as well as having an Apprenticeship Zone at its Open Evenings. Find out more at: www.gloscol.ac.uk/apprenticeships