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Employers to “Steer” Reformed Apprenticeships


Employers are to be put in the "driving seat" of designing and developing apprenticeships, Education and Skills Secretary Charles Clarke said today.

Mr Clarke made the promise while unveiling reforms to apprenticeships that will allow under-16s and over-25s to join in the schemes.

The reforms will mean:
• Young Apprenticeships for 14-16 year olds – with up to two days a week in the workplace learning a trade.
• A Pre-Apprenticeship’ offer based on the ‘Entry to Employment’ programme for young people that have potential but are not yet ready or able to enter an apprenticeship.
• Apprenticeships at level 2 (replacing the Foundation Modern Apprenticeship).
• Advanced Apprenticeships (equal to two good A Levels or Level 3 qualification and replacing the Advanced Modern Apprenticeship).
• Opening up of apprenticeships to adults by scrapping the arbitrary 25-year-old age limit.

Mr Clarke said: “Employers need to know that they will now be in the driving seat. Working through Sector Skills Councils, they will now have more input into the design and development of apprenticeships.

"They will help develop greater ‘portability’ so that an apprentice can take a part completed apprenticeship with them if they move employer. This is exactly the sort of flexibility that employers have been crying out for - and we have responded.”

Incentives for Employers
There are currently 255,500 people studying Modern Apprenticeships in England, up from 75,800 trainees in 1997, however demand still outstrips supply.

In tandem with the reforms, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has launched a marketing campaign aimed at attracting more employers to take on apprentices.

The LSC has pledged it will give employers via the Sector Skills Councils a bigger role in the actual design, content and entry requirements of apprenticeships and create a ‘clearing house’ for school leavers to match prospective trainees to employers.

It will also consider financial incentives to encourage more small and medium sized employers to get on board and introduce an eight week probationary period for the trainee and employer.

Bryan Sanderson, chairman of the LSC said: "Apprenticeships provide businesses with the solution they need to thrive in the 21st century. I hope many employers respond to this ‘call to arms’ and join the Apprenticeships revolution. We now have a real chance to remove the skills deficit and improve productivity.”

* More in formation is available from the apprenticeships website or by telephoning 08000 150 400.


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