Changing public perceptions on apprenticeships

Posted on 28 Apr 2017 and read 700 times
Changing public perceptions on apprenticeshipsThe UK must boost links between schools and industry, if it is to deliver sufficient people with the right skills as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, according to a new report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The Apprenticeships in the education and skills landscape of England report says the Industrial Strategy needs to take a sectoral and regional approach, including engagement between local employers and education providers, to ensure that industries have the skilled people they need entering the workforce.

The report calls for: the public
perception of apprenticeships to be changed; professional engineering institutions to develop new standards for all levels of vocational qualification; and more funding for teachers’ continuing professional development.

Dr Colin Brown, director of engineering at the IMechE (www.imeche.org) and lead author of the report, said: “The Government has taken welcome steps to revitalise UK apprenticeships, but in order to deliver skills in ‘shortage areas’ such as engineering, more work is needed to change perceptions.

“Apprenticeships need to be seen as equally valuable routes to employment — not, as is still too often the case, as alternatives for people who are less academically gifted.

“Key ways of shifting perceptions include encouraging better links between schools and local industry, and encouraging teachers to complete placements in local companies through schemes like STEM Insight.

In order to give prospective engineering apprentices and employers assurance of the quality of available training, professional engineering institutions such as the IMechE should also offer standards for all vocational qualification levels in conjunction with the Institute for Apprenticeships.

“The Government’s Industrial Strategy gives us a much-needed chance to invigorate the UK’s industry and economy,
but none of this will be possible without the right skills in place to deliver these plans. As the UK gets ready to leave the EU, ensuring that the UK is ready to develop its own home-grown skills has never been more important.”

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