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The new measures announced by Government to ensure that more young people benefit from an apprenticeship couldn’t have come at a better time as unemployment levels for 16-24 year olds hits a record high, says Terry Watts, CEO of Proskills.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced new measures (detailed below) to ensure more young people benefit from an apprenticeship, and to help employers gain the skilled workers they need to grow. Dr Cable said that the Government would slash the red tape that can deter hard pressed firms from taking on apprentices and provide a financial incentive to help the smallest firms recruit their first young apprentices.

The Government’s previous Apprenticeship push, intended to ameliorate youth unemployment, instead saw a near 900% increase in the number of apprenticeships begun by those aged 60 and over with only an increase of 18% for apprenticeships begun by 18-year-olds.

This move as part of the Governments plans for growth is far more in line with what is needed by employers. There are too many restrictions or guidelines that deter smaller companies from taking on a young inexperienced employee but the promise by Cable to cut the unnecessary red tape I hope will be in the right in places and encourage firms to consider new apprentices.

Working through employers more directly, rather than through providers, is something that we have been recommending to Government. The latest plan does assume that the barrier to SME recruitment of Apprenticeships is a financial one, yet while this is a consideration employers tell us that it is not the only one. Proskills is in discussions with UKCES and the National Apprenticeship Service to establish ways of driving up Apprenticeship numbers in its sector and will be promoting this offer.

The fact that older workers need not retire

at any particular age has both reduced the urgency for employers to look at the next generation of workers, and in many cases companies have closed down opportunities to take on Apprentices which is also something that needs to be considered by Government.

Youth unemployment is soaring because they are not getting the chances they need to get on the career ladder. Many cannot afford the fees for the university route and those that do apply are finding there are far too many applicants per job role. It seems the youth today cannot win. They are either over qualified or don’t have great grades, they don’t have enough experience or too much in the wrong area. They don’t have enough experience or too much in the wrong area.

We need companies to step forward and

play an active role in shaping their future workforces. By taking on a young apprentice

you will be training them in the skills you need to grow your business. The next generation have new ideas, a new energy and a willingness to learn. Everyone must start somewhere; they just need a chance.


• An incentive of £1,500 to be paid to small businesses taking on their first young apprentice aged 16 to 24. This will support up to 20,000 new apprenticeships in 2012/13.

• Health and safety requirements will be streamlined so that there are no additional demands on employers that already meet national standards.

• The processes will be simplified to make it quicker and easier for employers to take on an apprentice.

• There will be a renewed focus on targeting the programme where apprenticeships deliver greatest value.

• Apprenticeship providers will be required to offer training in English and Maths up to the standard of a good GCSE (level 2) for all apprenticeships.

For more information on apprenticeships in the Process and Manufacturing sector contact Proskills on 01235 833844.

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Following the announcement of the Government initiative to offer employers the chance to bid for a share of a £250 million fund enabling them to invest in the training they actually need, Proskills is keen to remind businesses – especially SMES in the manufacturing sector - that help is available in accessing the funds.

Proskills says it is pivotal that the

Government works with SME’s and is pleased that they understand that there is more to industry than the large companies, especially as in the past, Government has seen the manufacturing sector as being made up of large companies and their supply chains. Proskills says that, as the process and manufacturing industries are neither of

these, what is needed is for companies to work together as one voice, which they can through their Sector Skills Council.

The Government expects to issue a

formal prospectus on the £250 million fund jointly with UKCES early in 2012 so that projects can begin later in the year. The competitive fund will test different approaches, come up with new ways of engaging employees and potential employees, other firms and their supply chains to develop new ways of investing in skills, and working with the further education and skills sector.

The fund will be open to collaborative proposals from businesses of all sizes and

38 « Clearview NMS « January 2012 «

from all sectors of the economy and bids will need to demonstrate how public investment will leverage private investment, support Apprenticeships and show a commitment to raising skills levels in their sector or supply chain. Proskills will be involved in the process and will also be working with employers to help them bid into this fund. They said, “As the SSC for your industry we are here to help you do this and businesses do not need to do this alone.”

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