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Apprenticeships ten years on: what's on and what's next?

After ten years of National Apprenticeship Week what's on near you and how can apprenticeships adapt for the next ten years?

Posted by Sophie Beyer | March 06, 2017 | Higher education

This week is the tenth National Apprentice Week, which aims to celebrate the success of apprenticeships across the country and highlight the impact apprentices are having on businesses.  Apprentices and graduates have developed an online events map to track all of the week’s activity.

Apprenticeship participation now stands at a record level - 899,400 funded apprentices participated on an apprenticeship in the 2015 to 2016 academic year.

Apprenticeship programmes have evolved significantly over the last decade. With the growth of social media and online learning, how young apprentices learn their trade and consume content has changed. 

The week will also aim to raise awareness and encourage more employers to take on apprentices and individuals to choose an apprenticeship as a ladder of opportunity to a great career.  All over the country employers, schools, colleges and training organisations support the week by holding events to celebrate the past ten years and hosting activities to promote apprenticeship opportunities for the future.

There were over 1.5 million on-line apprenticeship applications in 2015 to 2016 and up to 28,000 apprenticeship vacancies are available online at any one time.  There have been 4,300 starts on new standards in occupations such as Software Developer and Aerospace Engineer.

Satisfaction seems fairly high in measures such as relevance and quality. Nearly all apprentices feel that they acquire or improve their skills as a direct result of their apprenticeship.  Apprentices are most satisfied with the relevance of their training (89%), the quality of training (87%), their assessment on the job (86%) and the quality of feedback (86%).

Elliot Gowans, VP EMEA, D2L says millennials are driving the evolution of apprenticeships through their use of social media and technology. He also argues that organisations will need to become more creative and increasingly adopt digital processes in order to attract and retain the new generations of apprentices that want to make use of their digital skills:

 “Apprenticeship programmes have evolved significantly over the last decade. With the growth of social media and online learning, how young apprentices learn their trade and consume content has changed. Indeed, millennials are driving a transformation within the education industry and apprenticeships with the use of social platforms such as Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube. In their day-to-day life they increasingly expect fast, easy access to content wherever they are, which is spilling over into the workplace. There is now a large gap between the traditional way of learning and delivering training via the digital tools that young people can identify with.

“Modern day apprenticeships are subsequently challenged with balancing the demand for faster learning and instant gratification through digital tools with the old guard of learning and using experienced leaders to impart what they know. Learning Management Systems (LMS) are becoming more and more crucial in managing this shift, enabling educators to deliver a combination of classroom and online learning so that apprentices can take advantage and learn from both types of training.

“On this note, organisations also need to recognise the role apprentices will play in the digital transformation of their business. There’s no question that over the next few decades, companies will be forced to adopt more digital processes; any that fail to do so will fall short, both in terms of productivity and talent. As they become increasingly digitised, companies will not only need to be more innovative and creative in their market offerings, but they will need to ensure that they can attract, develop and motivate strong performers. Expectations are high. Millennials entering the workforce want to use and hone their digital skills, and will assume that employers will recognise this and have tools in place that will enable them to make full use of their expertise. It’s important that businesses are exploiting technologies available that can help accommodate and advance the future generation of workers’ skills now.

“Apprentices today are facing a tough battle – once qualified they are confronted with an extremely competitive workforce that is steadily shrinking with the growth of automation, globalisation and robotics. Not only do they need to finish their apprenticeships with the digital skills future employers need, but they need to find employers that will continue to nurture these skills throughout their career.”  

All over the country employers, schools, colleges and training organisations support the week by holding events and hosting activities to promote apprenticeship opportunities.  A team of apprentices and graduates developed the online events map to track all of the week’s activity, hosted by the National Apprenticeship Service. 

 

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