Apprenticeships for the UK

Vocational Education Training (VET) can offer a first step on a debt-free pathway from “shop floor to top floor” as an alternative to a university based education or a prelude to one. To make this a reality certain changes have to be made to the present system regarding the content of the learning offering.

Advertisements

In addition it needs simplifying and a higher degree of standardisation to achieve the necessary scale, which in turn will make it more cost effective. These changes are of course primarily designed to make apprenticeships more desirable to youngsters as well as employers.

A lot of what is on offer at present can stay in place and form the basis of an upgraded Universal Apprenticeship model as an attractive and substantive first step on the ladder of a career for young people. Over time it should replace/absorb all NVQ 1-4, Intermediate, Advanced, Modern and Higher Apprenticeships. It would need high level political and business support together with a PR makeover.

Vocational should therefore mean that young persons’ differing talents – academic, artistic or practical – are recognised as equally useful. Accordingly, young people need to be offered corresponding pathways. Firstly, from school into the world of work and after a successful completion of the first step – a successfully completed apprenticeship – further career progression opportunities to fulfil their aspirations may they be in trades, crafts, technical, commercial or other occupations.

Education should mean that school leavers aged 16 to 19, by choosing an Apprenticeship are not just taught the ins and outs of a specific job in a narrow manner, but that they continue their education in general terms, too. Continuing with the ‘3 Rs’ and enhancing their social and communication skills sould be part of their further education. This will lay the necessary foundation to enable the person to move off “the shop floor” and reach “the top floor” of his chosen profession, whatever it may be.

This part must be the responsibility of vocational colleges, as it needs real teaching abilities. Of the total college based part of the apprenticeship, it should be around one third of the learning program, whilst the other two thirds are the theoretical part backing up the in-house company job specific training. College training should be largely standardised and span all sectors including trade, commercial and technical apprenticeships. This is how economies of scale and cost savings are achieved. Outsourcing this to the private sector is not ideal!

The largest part of the Apprenticeship, namely Training should be based on standardised frameworks of in-company/organisation learning. This should typically be over a period of around 2-3 years, for which the apprentice and employer enter into a training contract. Ideally the frameworks should give the apprentice as holistic an insight into their work environment as possible. This gives the employees more self-esteem, empowers them to work more autonomous with less supervision and ultimately more flexible, cost efficient and productive.

The apprenticeship training contract should be largely standardised and safeguarded by law.To complete an apprenticeship successfully there should be a recognised certification process, which has meaning and help to give the young professional a standing in society. A successfully completed apprenticeship should not be the end but the beginning of a career for those with aspirations.

The government in England has tried to standardise apprenticeships somewhat following our submission and differentiates now into intermediate (level 1 and 2), advanced (level 3) and higher apprenticeships (level 4-5). The latter, which is the basis for the SEMTA higher apprenticeship for engineering technology in our opinion goes too far in terms of an apprenticeship, but still lacks educational and commercial content. The intermediate apprenticeship hardly deserves the name. The advanced apprenticeship is the nearest to European standards. The attainment rates are shockingly low.

If London First want to promote a strong brand “apprenticeship” and sell this to employers and employees alike then it is essential that it has the same standards and meaning. In spite of the fact that the UK has decided to leave the UK, it is also important to ensure a coherent approach in line with other European countries. For instance German companies in the UK want to have similar training for their British and German apprentices for obvious reasons.

British youngsters deserve to be enabled to compete on a level playing field with their other European colleagues.

BB/April 2017 for London First Skills Commission

Do Not Blame Regulation

If the government is serious about training it has to find ways of retaining skilled people in downturns

This letter appeared in the Financial Times May 29 2015

Bob Bischof Letter in the FT May 2015

 

Germany Recruits Young Brits to Fill Future Profession Gaps

Waged training in Germany
Well supported vocational training is on offer to young recruits

The German government is running a scheme to tempt ‘A’ level qualified people aged 18 to 35 to Germany to serve an apprenticeship during a three year period all expenses paid – a new  “Auf Wiedersehen Pet” story.

British companies needing to recruit talented young people have some competition now: the government of the Federal Republic of Germany is paying to recruit young people from Britain to receive full training in up to 300 occupations.

The International Business Academy (IBA) in London, which was appointed to administer the scheme in the UK, aims to provide hundreds of young people from UK to Germany for apprenticeship placements and work in specific areas.

The scheme is recruiting people aged 18 to 35 years for both vocational training and jobs for young professionals in fields like engineering and healthcare. The latter requires ready-trained professionals.

The recruitment drive is evidence that Germany is planning for the fall in its domestic workforce in 10-20 years time when low birth rates will be felt.

Eligibility

To be eligible for vocational training courses, candidates must have ‘A’ levels or a Baccalaureate but a degree is not required. Knowledge of some basic German is needed in particular for apprentices, who need to go to college once a week under the dual training system.

Successful candidates receive a full package of benefits designed to tempt people to relocate to Germany, including 170-hours of German language lessons in England or Germany before the final placement in a German company, a minimum net salary of Euro 818 per month during training, which lasts approximately three years.

Travel costs for the interview in Germany are covered, as are relocation costs to Germany if the person takes the placement or job and two free flights home every year.

The German government has capped funding for the programme to Eu139 million. “There is no allocation to the individual nations, it is a first come, first served basis,” says Wulf Schroeter who runs the IBA in London.

Shortage of Recruits

Germany has a shortage of occupations for which there are numerous job opportunities, especially for technicians and engineers, hotel and catering jobs and doctors and healthcare professionals.

“For these occupations, trained specialists are needed. In these and in more than 300 other professions, apprenticeships can be offered,” says Mr Schroeter.

IBA is part of the FuU Group, a training institute based in Heidelberg appointed to run the UK scheme within an  EU-wide framework called Mobi-Pro EU that promotes young and unemployed professionals within Europe. “Only organisations that are recognised by the German Federal Ministry of Social Affairs may place young professionals in to German companies,” Mr Schroeter adds.

Press Coverage

In The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/10097363/Come-to-Germany-to-work-and-find-love-British-are-told.html

In the Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2335479/Germany-recruit-British-apprentices-Work-study-offer-lure-brightest-youngsters.html

More Info

Full details of the scheme and how to apply are at http://www.international-business-academy.co.uk/

Universal Apprenticeship for the UK

Vocational Education Training (VET) – to be known as the Universal Apprenticeship – could offer a (debt-free) pathway from “shop to top” as an alternative to a university based education.

To make this a reality, certain changes have to be made to the present system regarding the content of the learning offering. In addition, it needs simplifying and a higher degree of standardisation to achieve the necessary scale, which in turn will make it more cost-effective.

These changes are of course primarily designed to make apprenticeships more desirable to youngsters as well as employers. A lot of what is on offer at present should stay in place and form the basis of an upgraded, attractive first step on the ladder of a career for young people.

Eventually the Universal Apprenticeship should replace all of NVQ1-4, Modern and Advanced Apprenticeships. It would need high level political and business support, together with a PR makeover.

Vocation

Vocational should therefore mean that young persons’ differing talents – academic, artistic or practical – are recognised as equally useful in a “Big and Inclusive Society”. Accordingly, young people need to be offered corresponding pathways – firstly, from school into the world of work and after a successful completion of the first step – the Universal Apprenticeship, further career progression opportunities to fulfil their aspirations may they be in trades, crafts, technical, administrative or other occupations.

Education

Education should mean that school leavers aged 16 to 19, by choosing the Universal Apprenticeship are not just taught the ins and outs of a specific job in a narrow manner, but that they continue their education in general terms, too.

Enhancing their social and communication skills would be some of the aims of this part of their further education. This will lay the necessary foundation to enable the person to move off “the shop floor” and reach “the top floor” of his chosen profession, whatever it may be. This part must be the responsibility of vocational colleges, as it needs real teaching abilities. Of the total college based part of the apprenticeship, it should be around one third of the learning program, whilst the other two thirds are the theoretical part backing up the in-house company job specific training.

Training

The largest part of the Universal Apprenticeship, namely Training, ought to be based on standardised frameworks of in-company/organisation learning.

This would typically be over a period of around 2-3 years, for which the apprentice and employer enter into a training contract. Ideally the frameworks should give the apprentice as holistic an insight into their work environment as possible.

This gives the trainee/employees more self-esteem, empowers them to work more autonomous with less supervision and ultimately is more flexible, cost-efficient and productive.

The apprenticeship training contract should be largely standardised and safeguarded by law. To complete an apprenticeship successfully there should be a recognised and meaningful certification process, to ensure successful apprentices achieve good standing in society as young professionals.

In short, a successfully completed apprenticeship should not be the end but the beginning of a career for those with aspirations.

Apprentices in the UK: A Proposal

German Industry UK (GIUK) has been in discussion with John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning.  Conversations regarding the development of German models of vocational training to benefit the UK economy have led GIUK to develop a proposal for progressing UK Apprenticeship schemes to become more successful.

Britain has been pretty good in training its elites but has neglected the training of “foot soldiers” for decades. If one wants to turn innovations into successful products, one needs both, and if David Cameron’s “Big Society” is to have any meaning in further education then his government has to look at apprenticeships in a new structured manner.

John Hayes himself recently made an announcement regarding the government’s commitment to progressing Apprenticeship schemes in the UK, saying  “We must create a radically new model for workplace training, with apprenticeships at its heart”.

In view of John Hayes’ statement, during a meeting between GIUK and Mr Hayes on 3 February 2010, about his interest in bringing key elements of the German Dual Vocational Training System to Britain, GERMAN INDUSTRY UK has developed the following proposal.

UK Apprentice Training

GIUK is of the opinion that the present UK apprentice training system requires simplifying, restructuring and more relevant content, for companies to buy into it.

Since successive governments largely abandoned apprenticeships, a vacuum was created, which has been filled with a myriad of well-meaning but chaotic initiatives, duplicating many efforts and lacking structure and transparency.

From comparisons with continental systems we are also sure that it is possible to reduce cost drastically whilst increasing transparency and efficacy.

The Example from Germany

The German government spends around Euro 1,9 bn per annum on its Vocational Training Colleges and the certification of apprentices through local chambers of industry and commerce. German industry spends around Euro 18.5 bn p.a. net on training apprentices. Around 650,000 youngsters (or 58% of school leavers) enter into apprenticeships every year.

The completion rate is always well over 90%. In total, there are approximately 1.6 million youngsters training as apprentices in Germany, at any one time, at a cost to the state of about Euro 1,200 ( GBP 1,000) per person p.a. and about Euro 12,000 ( GBP 10,000) per person p.a. for the employers.

Proposal

Setting up of a small working group to:

  1. Pick out of the 343 apprenticeships offered for instance in Germany the ca 200 most relevant to the UK
  2. Determine the minimum training content of each of those in the work place
  3. Determine the minimum training content of each in Vocational Training Colleges
  4. Determine the length of the apprenticeship according to grade of difficulty (2-4 years)
  5. Determine the Examining and Certification bodies for apprentices
  6. Transfer Vocational College training content to Further Education Colleges or set up new ones
  7. Propose sources of funding of colleges for apprentices’ training
  8. Propose pathways for steps from skilled person – after a period of practical work – to Master Craftsman, Technician, Bachelor of Administration, access to University etc for those with aspirations

Budget

A budget needs to be agreed by the Minister for Skills.

The Way Forward

Once the basis of the above has been agreed with the government and work commences, GERMAN INDUSTRY UK will actively support the new apprenticeships and will encourage its members to take on as many young people as possible as apprentices.

*******************************

GERMAN INDUSTRY UK  – THE VOICE OF GERMAN INDUSTRY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Ymwlch Isaf, Criccieth, Gwynedd LL52 0PW · Telephone: 01766 523 113
Email: info@gi-uk.co.uk · Website: www.gi-uk.co.uk

Investment in Skills & Productivity: German-British Forum Conference

Better training as the key to economic dynamism

Bob Bischof will be co-chairing the upcoming German-British Forum Conference on Monday 22 and Tuesday 23rd November this year.

Entitled Investment in Skills & Productivity: Better training as the key to economic dynamism, the conference will address pressing macro- and micro-economic themes around how to ensure young people are being trained in the right ways to address the future needs of modern European economies.

Investment in Skills: the German-British Forum Conference
Download the Conference Programme and Registration Form PDF

Europe as a whole recognises that a high-skill, high-productivity economy provides the most effective platform to boost competitiveness and enhance well-being.

As Peter Loescher, Chief Executive of Siemens AG, put it at the Annual Dinner of the German-British Chamber of Industry and Commerce on 9 June 2010 in London;

“We have to get the message across to our youngsters in schools and universities that we need to out-innovate the innovators all over the world.”

German Industry UK (GIUK) has been at the forefront of efforts by German businesses in the UK to attempt to provide in Britain a framework similar to the German Dual Training System.

GIUK has held constructive meetings with Ministers from both the Labour government and the new Conservative-Liberal coalition administration and has now set up a working group within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to determine how this can be done for England.

The new UK government has made tackling the skills gap a significant priority in its efforts to spur economic renewal. There is considerable interest in learning lessons from Germany, where equipping the workforce with competitive skills through the vaunted apprenticeship and vocational training system, in partnership with industry, has long been a centre-piece of economic policy.

The presence of a large number of German companies in the UK has added impetus. Underlining this point, Robert Bosch, BMW, EON and Siemens are all giving support to the conference.

The gathering will highlight the role of the Technician Council, a new body set up in the UK to promote a new non-academic route to technical excellence for employees in many different fields.