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Tanja Kuveljic

Believe in Young People


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Strengthening the route to apprenticeships


It is less than 12 months until the introduction of the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, and there are still a great deal of unknowns. Employers are still unclear about how they can maximise the financial opportunities it may offer. The aim is to make hiring apprentices more systematic, and ultimately to help meet the Government’s target to achieve 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020. To achieve this goal the links between school and employment need to be stronger.

Hiring young people can be resource intensive with inductions, training and investment needed from the start. Very few models have come close to solving this problem. I believe there needs to be a long term approach to careers guidance and work experience – the two critical things that make starting work a smoother process.

Many would point to the Government’s traineeship programme which was launched in 2014 as a way for providing young people with a structured programme to increase their employability. The programme encourages young people to complete three month placements with employers to gain the experience necessary to gain an apprenticeship.

However the traineeship programme has been found to be ineffective and more importantly, only starts at 16. A mere 22% of the young people who complete a Government traineeship programme becomes an apprentice. Put simply, the programme does not represent value for money for the Government or participating employers. On this basis it may seem that work experience makes little impact on a young person’s employability.

However, I am privileged to work for the charity Believe in Young People (BiYP), which provides a different approach to work experience. BiYP brings together educators and employers to develop and prepare young people for future employment through an integrated curriculum training programme. Not only this, but students receive support from years 7 to 13. We are working hard to strengthen the relationship between schools and employers and introduce support to young people much earlier on.

The programme provides personalised employer-led workshops, careers talks, mentoring and structured work-experience placements alongside their other school subjects. As a result young people leave school with the much needed skills and behaviours to enter the world of work.

So how is this training structured? Our unique digital platform uses online learning, skills testing and feedback to measure the progress of a student alongside their studies at school. We provide tailored support to hone their skills where necessary, and point them in the direction of suitable career options. The opportunity to apply, develop and reinforce these skills is provided through a structured work experience placement with one of our employer partners, after which skills testing is repeated. Using this information, a young person’s skills can be honed to where necessary – helping the young person, school and future employers.

BiYP’s approach is starkly different to incumbent models – building bridges between education and employment, providing opportunity for practical application and using data to measure progress.  It is due to this process that some employers are building a pipeline of talent and achieving up to 80% recruitment cost savings.

So when employers make decisions about how to spend their apprenticeship levy funds, they will have an opportunity to get more for their money than anticipated. By strengthening the links between education and employment and the facilitation of a structured programme, employers will be able to hire more and better qualified apprentices. 


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