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Apprenticeship reforms are driving tech sector skills success

Apprenticeships and skills minister Anne Milton says apprenticeships are a great way to make sure the tech industry has the skills it needs

An apprentice is a way to help businesses improve their skills base, attract diverse talent and encourage new ways of working.

Last April, the government introduced the apprenticeship levy so employers could plug skills gaps, recruit new talent and improve the abilities of their current and future staff through work-based learning.

Under the levy, large employers – those with a pay bill of more than £3m – will pay 0.5% of their total wage bill to invest in training staff.

Smaller employers do not pay the levy, and the government pays for 90% of the costs of apprenticeship training and assessment. The employer only needs to find 10% of the cost. The changes we have introduced to the apprenticeship system mean that employers can invest in quality training for their apprentices.

Apprenticeships are a great way for people to get a career in the tech industry – and the chance to earn while they learn. There are now more opportunities than ever before to do apprenticeships in a huge range of technology occupations all the way up to degree level. It gives people a clear route into long-term employment and choice if they do not want to take a purely academic route.

It is really encouraging to see employers using apprenticeships to grow their business, offering jobs with real prospects that enable people to gain the essential skills they need for their career. IBM now offers its widest-ever range of apprenticeships, while PwC is one example of a firm that has announced a new technology degree apprenticeship to train the next generation of tech talent.

We want employers and their apprentices to know that they are getting high-quality training. The Institute for Apprenticeships will make sure technology apprenticeships are of a high standard and that quality is maintained across the board, with new apprenticeship standards in development to ensure diverse routes into the sector. We are working closely with employers who lead the developments of these standards to make sure we get the right training for the tech industry. 

We recognise that the last year has been a period of significant change, and it will take time for employers to adjust. But we must not lose sight of why we introduced these reforms in the first place – to put quality at the heart of the apprenticeship programme and put control into the hands of employers.

To help this, we are boosting investment in apprenticeships to £2.45bn by 2019/20 and to reach three million apprenticeship starts in England by 2020.

Since May 2015, more than 1.2 million people have started an apprenticeship, which will provide each of them with the opportunity to gain the skills they need to get on in life.

This is a fantastic achievement, but only the start as we want to make sure all technology employers and businesses have the skilled workforce they need. 

Anne Milton is the minister of state for apprenticeships and skills at the Department for Education ............................................................................................. ..............................................................................................................................................

 

 

This was last published in March 2018

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