England to see new “high quality” apprenticeships

Apprentices to be graded on ability to make process clear for hiring employers, David Cameron announces

Apprentices will be graded based on quality to ensure “high level” apprenticeships throughout England, David Cameron has announced.

Cameron promised the "best apprenticeships in the world" with the tougher apprenticeship schemes being offered by 60 firms from next year. BCS, Mini owners BMW, BAE Systems, Microsoft and Barclays Bank have already signed up to be “trailblazers” for the new apprenticeship scheme.

The move is in response to the Richard Review, which took place last year, calling for the quality of apprenticeships to be made clearer. The new apprenticeships have been designed to make them easier and more straightforward for employers. Those who take an apprenticeship will be graded as a pass, merit or distinction to provide a clearer level of their achievement.

As part of the apprenticeship, the training will have to last at least one year with 20% of the time spent away from where the apprentice is predominately based.

Starting from the end of 2014, apprenticeships will be built around several sectors including aerospace, automotive, digital industries, electro-technical, energy, financial services, food and drink, and life and industrial sciences.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The reforms we’re announcing today will put employers in the driving seat and ensure that we deliver rigorous training that supports you and our economy for years to come.”

Skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock said: “Our aim is that the new apprenticeships will focus squarely on rigorous training for learners and simplicity of use for employers. This will mean that our apprenticeship system will respond to the needs of the modern economy.”

“Trailblazer” BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT has signed up to the scheme.

Richard Lester, BCS programme director says: “We’re delighted to have been invited to join the organisations leading the digital industries initiative.

“As a professional body, we believe it is important that apprenticeships are developed to recognised standards and are relevant to employer needs while at the same time providing a route for young people into the IT profession.”

“Being involved in the Trailblazers will give employers and professional bodies the opportunity to develop the new apprenticeship standards for occupations in their sector. These will become the industry standard for any apprenticeship in that occupation,” added Hancock.

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