The government has unveiled 40 employer-designed apprenticeships, including six digital industries standards.
Developed as part of the Trailblazers campaign, launched in October 2013, the apprenticeship scheme is made up of large and small employers and professional bodies that have collaborated on the apprenticeship standards to ensure apprentices undergo a high standard of training.
The digital industries apprentice standards include software developer, network engineer, software tester, digital marketer, cyber intrusion analyst and digital media technology practitioner. Other sectors include engineering, hospitality and the legal profession.
The standards have been launched alongside the government campaign Get In, Go Far, which was unveiled by secretary of state Vince Cable (pictured).
Cable visited Leeds to launch the Get In, Go Far campaign, calling on young people to take apprenticeships and meeting some of the apprentices who already work in the area.
“For too long there has been a divide between university and vocational education which has been damaging for both employers and young people," Cable said during a visit to the Emmerdale set at ITV studios. "Placing university degrees and apprenticeships on an equal footing will help to break down barriers and better meet the needs of business."
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Rebecca Plant, head of apprentice and graduate programmes at Capgemini, said the campaign highlights the different apprenticeships on offer and raises awareness among young people that there are alternative routes to university.
“The IT industry is a key contributor to the UK economy and we have created a new talent entry point that allows young people a richer learning experience than the traditional university route," she said.
“The higher apprenticeship programmes allow us to prepare junior talent with the knowledge and experience necessary to be the software engineers and information system specialists of the future, helping support the growing needs of the industry and increase the pool of high-end digital skills the UK needs.”
Chris Jones, chief executive of the City & Guilds Group, said it was encouraging to see the government actively promoting apprenticeships.
“It’s important that young people know that they have the option to earn as they learn. A-levels and degrees are usually hailed as the best and only route to a successful career, but we are increasingly seeing evidence that the academic path is not always the best investment. The more information young people have about their options, the better,” he said.
But he added there were concerns about whether employers, regardless of size, will have the time or money to take on apprentices. “We must make sure that these reforms lead to greater take-up of apprenticeships by both employers and young people,” said Jones.